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The steady increase in customer requests for personalized fashion and furniture pieces is placing constant strain on the business models for these manufacturers.  Jon Wheat, Creative Director for Design in Rhythm (DiR) recently commented on the issue. 

"My clients, boutique hotel chains and the designers I work with at high-end luxury homes, all want something unique.  They can't get it from the major brands, so they are turning to businesses like mine.  But I couldn't keep up until I made the switch to digital."

Fashion trends change faster than the seasons and in order for fashion and apparel companies to thrive, they need to be able to deliver products to market quickly and at the right time. For brands, retailers and manufacturers to deliver in the on-demand world, they need to have the latest technologies at their fingertips. 

According to Mintel, 81% of consumers who buy clothes that fit right are much more likely to buy from that brand again. However, with $642.6 billion worth of merchandise returned annually, it’s clear that the fashion and apparel industry is having a difficult time perfecting fit. What has built the brands with staying power like Ralph Lauren for example, is their ability to design great products, using great fabric, and always having a consistent fit.

Sustainability has been a hot topic in the news the past couple of years. There has been a strong sense of urgency to start living a cleaner and eco-friendlier lifestyle, with hopes to slow the possible irreversible effects on the environment and leave the future a better place.

Consumers are beginning to take preventative measures, with help from companies who have begun to raise awareness, to limit the amount of waste they are putting into the environment. One big area of focus is textile use. Consumers are taking a stand when it comes to participating in sustainable fashion. In 2015, The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 10.5 million tons of textiles wound up in landfills.

U.S. manufacturing is rapidly changing, and the apparel industry is no exception. Technological innovations and an evolving marketplace are key factors that contribute to the industries largest shifts. However, the most significant factor that changed the face of manufacturing is foreign outsourcing. This change drastically reduced the number of goods bearing the “Made-in-the-USA” label.
 
In this article, we examine the current state of the American apparel industry, as well as its roots and predictions for the future of manufacturing.

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