Fashion supply chain: Learn different aspects and elements 

When we shop, we start a series of events in motion, sometimes without even realising it. Have you ever given any thought to who sewed the garments and textiles you wear? What kind of existence do they lead? If companies keep their supply chains open, consumers may learn more about the impact their wholesale fabrics purchases have had on the lives of workers and communities throughout the world. Yet, supply networks are notorious for being convoluted and lacking in openness (yet). 

The complexity of today’s clothing supply chains makes it hard for manufacturers to track down the original suppliers of their raw materials and finished components. From the textile sourcing sector to the retail clothing, all completes the fashion supply chain. 

What is clothing supply chain 

It takes a lot of people to make anything in the textile, apparel, and footwear sector. Tens of millions of people throughout the globe are employed by the garment business, which is a major part of the fashion industry.

Yet, what really constitutes a supply chain for garments? The term “fashion supply chain” is applicable to describe the process of tracking the production of an item of clothing. Its stage starts with the procurement of raw materials to end with the delivery of the finished product to the customer. This is a long procedure. And it is unusual for raw materials to be farmed, processed, sewed, and marketed in the same region.

There are millions of people and vast quantities of water, chemicals, crops, and oil involved in the worldwide apparel supply chain. This is the means through which your garments get transport to your closet. There has been a significant drive in the past 20 years towards high velocity, high throughput, and low cost in consumption. Fast fashion, as we all know, can have devastating effects on ecosystems, human health, and animal welfare. In addition, tragedies like the one at the Rana Plaza plant in Bangladesh have occurred because of the rise of consumption at the expense of a secure, honest supply chain.


Fabrics, silhouettes, trimmings, and finishes are all decided upon during the design phase. Most garments are available in stores today are have short life since they are based on fleeting fashion fads. This phenomenon, dubbed “quick fashion,” is largely to blame for the excessive amounts of garments that wind up in landfills each year. It is estimating that every second, enough unwanted clothing to fill a garbage truck should get settle away. This amounts to 92 million tonnes of textile waste annually. As a culture, we have become used to quickly abandoning trends in favour of new ones.

Unlike “quick fashion,” which doesn’t give much thought to the garment manufacturing process, “slow fashion” takes its time with each step. While designing with environmental impact in mind, the designer takes into account not just the materials used, but also the manufacturing process and the end user’s lifestyle.

In response to the rising pace of fast fashion, many established labels are shifting focus to designs that will last longer and use less resources. More and more record labels are using the Cradle to Cradle ethos in their product development. Products, according to the Cradle to Cradle theory of sustainable design, must get create with one of two cycles in mind:

Loops may get close in either the biological cycle, where products are returned to nature without damage, or the industrial cycle, where non-biodegradable materials are recycled.

Material production 

Growing or making the raw textile material, spinning it into a fibre, weaving it into a fabric, dyeing and finishing it—all of these steps are included in the manufacture of textiles.

High levels of greenhouse gas emissions as well as the contamination of air and freshwater supplies are directly attributable to the textile industry. This is making it a significant source of environmental pollution.

The yearly water use of the textile industry get estimates at 378 billion litres. Also, with each kilo of textiles requiring up to 200 litres of water for processing, dying, and finishing.

Yet many of the chemicals usable to transform raw materials into textiles end up in freshwater systems. This possibly tainting supplies that are later usable for human and animal sustenance.

It may take hundreds of litres of water to cultivate the cotton required to create just one t-shirt. The chemicals in cotton production pollute the water and soil, resulting in a dramatic decline in plant and animal life. Several farmers suffer from poisoning from pesticides, sometimes fatally.

Unfortunately, forced labour is also common in the textile industry, particularly during the cotton-picking, spinning, and weaving processes. And it is in news already that children in Uzbekistan regularly engage in exploitative labour by picking cotton for little to no pay. Fortunately, things are looking better, and certifications exist to ensure that cotton production meets stricter criteria. A good place to start would be to look for cotton that has been certified as meeting the Fair Trade or Global Organic Textile Standards.

Cloth production 

Cutting, stitching, and finishing are all steps in the process of making a garment. Since the 1980s, most manufacturing has moved to Asian and other developing countries in search of cheaper labour. Millions of employees in developing nations welcomed the advent of major clothing labels with high hopes for economic independence. On the other hand, it has resulted in sweatshops and factories with substandard working conditions.

Over 21 million individuals throughout the globe are victims of forced labour in the garment and textile sector. Further, with 11.4 million of them being women and girls, according to the International Labor Organization. Since most people working in the garment industry are women, it is crucial that their rights are under protection.

Unfortunately, violations are prevalent.

Several clothing industries are full of by discrimination and sexual harassment against women. However, maternity leave is not mandatory. And it is not uncommon for women recruited on fixed-term contracts. This happens to have their contracts terminated after they return from maternity leave. It is very difficult for women to continue working after they have children. Also, the main cause behind is many industries do not provide proper nursing facilities or child care. This amounts to discrimination against women. Equal or similar jobs performed by women are also valued less financially.

Distribution and retail 

Once garments get manufacture, they must get send all over the world to stores and customers. The rising pollution is a direct result of the increased clothing and textile traffic. The distribution process inevitably results in the release of carbon dioxide. But, there are things brands and businesses can do to lessen their influence.

The process of transporting goods internationally is very intricate. Whether we purchase an article of clothes online or at a mall, it has already made its way across the globe and had an effect on the environment along the way.

Access to consumers 

The consumer phase of the clothing supply chain includes use, laundry, and eventual disposal of the item.

The environmental effect of a garment includes not only the growth, processing, and production of the fabric, but also the act of washing the garment. In 2017, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) published research claiming that the washing of synthetic fabrics like polyester accounted for 35% of all microplastics found in the ocean.

Although textiles being thought of as practically 100% reusable or recyclable. The recovery rates for recycling remain very low across the board. The Ellen McArthur Foundation estimates that annually, over $500 billion in value gets waste . This is owing to the improper use of garments and the absence of recycling. The harsh truth is only a certain percentage of modern clothing gets recovered. Further, some of it gets into recovery while the remaining gets into incineration. Fabrics have a significant contribution to the environmental effect of landfills. Many effects like release of methane and the contamination of groundwater.

Bottom line 

Clothing supply chain is nothing but a combination of different elements at different levels. It starts from textile sourcing to provide it to consumers. To handle and manage such a complex chain of supply, we need to understand every element of this. If you are also part of this chain then you must know which element works and in which way. To source wholesale fabric for your designer collection you can approach fabriclore for it. Also, to make this chain more organised and simple, we are working on a tech driven system. With this system private labels, global fashion designers and boutique holders could find what they are actually looking for.  Also, our customization option could modify fabric as per your imagination and creativity. With our team of textile experts, you can choose the best surface and patterns for your fabric collection.

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