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Developments in Apparel Technology
published in Issue 130, July-August 2007
Apparel makers are faced with the challenges of designing fashionable styles, producing multiple styles in short runs, managing stock levels, improving delivery speeds, achieving flexibility and versatility, and ensuring that clothes fit well and are of good quality. They also have to produce clothing cost-effectively for a market which is supplied largely from countries with very low wage rates. Given that clothing production is labour intensive, many developments have been geared towards labour-saving automation so that producers in developed countries are more able to compete with low cost countries.
Automation is more appropriate for producers in developed countries than in developing countries where most of the clothing industry is now based. However, it is appropriate in some developing countries where there are growing shortages of skilled labour. In addition, developments are helping companies to achieve higher and consistent quality levels in order to meet the increasingly stringent demands being placed on them by buyers. A growing number of developments is being aimed at the requirements of the industries in specific countries, notably China.
Technological developments are also helping companies to differentiate their product offerings and to operate more efficient supply chains. In doing so, these developments are enabling producers to meet pressures from retailers for quicker delivery times and more efficient management of stock levels.
This report examines developments in four areas of apparel technology: developments in apparel manufacturing technology; developments in garment decoration; three-dimensional clothing design and visualisation technology; and radio frequency identification (RFID). Developments in garment decoration include machines for embroidery, lasers for cutting applications, direct-to-garment digital printing, methods of attaching sequins, and embossing. RFID enables manufacturers and retailers to track the location and progress of a product anywhere in the supply chain. Also an RFID-tagged piece of clothing can be held in front of a "magicmirror" in a retail store to display various types of personalised information.
Table of Contents
Developments in Apparel Technology
Introduction: Challenges and Characteristics of the International Apparel Market
Developments in Apparel Manufacturing Technology
Developments in Garment Decoration
Three-Dimensional Clothing Design and Visualisation Technology
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) in Clothing Retailing
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