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#firstworldproblems…sorry we mean #firstworldproduction



On a recent shopping expedition I was seriously surprised to discover that Supre produces some of their garments locally. For the benefit of the 2OPINIONATED readers who don’t live in Australia SUPRE is a youth chain store. It’s a bottom-tier retailer and to give you some background on the brand… bear in mind that this T only retails for $12.95. I suppose I was even more surprised to discover that a ‘bring jobs back home’ campaign would resonate with younger consumers.

Ever since consumers started to care what conditions workers actually had to endure to produce a T that retails for $12.95 there has been a trend back towards First World production. Savvy retailers realised that there was a consumer who was prepared to pay a premium price for a product produced in ethical and/or regulated environments  but I have to say that I would have presumed two factors in relation to this trend

  1. Firstly, that given the price-point of these garments and our proximity to Asia that Supre collections would be made exclusively off-shore
  2. and secondly that the appeal of local production would generally resonate with a much older, more well-heeled consumer

So go figure!!! ! Upon further research I was able to discover that the brand has a long history of combining both local and off-shore production.

Zara was one of the first major chains to realise that there were profits to be made from producing locally. The brands early competitive advantage came from being able to deliver catwalk trends into stores more quickly, more often and in smaller quantities than their main rivals. In doing this Zara not only made better margins but they encouraged their customers to both visit their stores and purchase more frequently. It’s clear that Zara wouldn’t have been able to have achieved this feat if their production had been located in China.

But locating production in the brands country of origin is about more than merely maximizing profits. It’s about nurturing local designers, local artisans and local talent. It’s about ensuring the ongoing survival of your local fashion and retail industries.

The clip below profiles a New York based initiative MADE IN MIDTOWN. New York’s garment district is world-famous, has a rich history and the fashion industry still employs 5% of the city’s workforce. To preserve the heritage of the city New York is incentivising labels to move their production back to the States and encouraging young designers to base themselves in New York.

So whatever our age, or our own country of origin perhaps we should all think actively about not only shopping locally but buying local. 

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