The Apparel Industry Is Complicated. Fashion Logistics Doesn't Need To Be.

The Planet Money blog and podcast made a not-so-unusual decision for a public radio program a couple years ago — they decided to raise money by selling t-shirts. But they weren't going to just go out and order a bunch of shirts from a typical apparel company that specializes in that sort of thing. Instead, Planet Money wanted to manufacture the shirts themselves from scratch and guide the shirts through the apparel supply chain process from end to end — from cotton bale to factory to store — in order to be able to more fully understand the ins and outs of the apparel industry. It seemed like a smart, straightforward experiment in participatory journalism.

Here's how they explained it
"Almost every single t-shirt out there -- from the cheesiest vacation tank top to the fanciest boutique designer tee -- is the result of a complicated global odyssey. We will take you on that odyssey and document the route our t-shirt took to your back. We'll meet the people who grow the cotton, spin the yarn, and cut and sew the fabric. We'll ride on the cargo ships that bring our t-shirt from factories in Bangladesh and Colombia to ports in the US. And we'll examine the crazy tangle of international regulations which govern the t-shirt trade the whole way."

The inspiration came from an amazing book, The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy, by an economist named Pietra Rivoli.

So Planet Money's crew of reporters set out and started with what they thought would be a logical first step: buying a bale of cotton. But the group quickly found out that just about every step of the apparel industry is more complicated than you might imagine. Most manufacturers, for example, wouldn't accept such a small quantity of cotton, others wouldn't handle certain types of cotton, and there were international economic issues as well (hint: U.S. taxpayers are paying Brazilian cotton growers nearly $150 million a year).

And that was just step one. As it turns out — and as most of our clients already fully understand — international apparel supply chains can get pretty complicated.


Thanks to generous and patient support from a handful of major apparel companies, the Planet Money team is proceeding apace with the project, and it's turned into a pretty interesting look at the challenges, pitfalls and possibilities of fashion logisticsBut apparel supply chain management doesn't need to be as challenging as it has been for them.

The Apparel Logistics Group's fashion 3PL can simplify the increasingly-complex apparel industry, accelerate your company's speed-to-market, and help you navigate common hurdles and unexpected pitfalls. Contact us to learn more.
Posted: 5/15/2013 10:47:31 AM by Global Administrator | with 0 comments

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