Although politics do not play a large part in the clothing industry, there are the issues of labor laws and the use of sweatshops. There are always new cases of companies that have been reported for having overworked young people working in sweatshops producing their clothing and shoes. Entering into the clothing industry, a company needs to understand these laws, standards, and values as well as try to create a positive public image. Economic Growth
As we know, the economy of the United States took a bit of a nosedive in September 2001, but more recently things are beginning to take a turn for the better. In the latter part of 2004, personal income along with personal savings increased. In November 2004 the total income of individuals increased $30.4 billion dollars. In the past six months there has been an increase in sales in the clothing industry. The purchase of clothing and shoes in the month of May escalated $2 billion and increased $1.7 billion in June. Today’s culture shows children having more money both from their own odd jobs such as baby-sitting or delivering newspapers and their allowances from parents. This extra income and spending power has influenced much of the clothing market. Sociocultural Trends
Society and culture have an effect on what consumers’ value and what is considered “popular”. When it comes to the clothing industry, there are many factors that are important including fashion trends and purchasing power. Fashion trends are constantly changing, which forces retailers of clothing to keep up with the curve. Clothing companies need to know which items are going to be popular and how many of each item to have in stock. Part of keeping up with trends is keeping up to date on colors and designs that are appealing to the audience. According to Apparel News, it is now the teens that are setting new fashion trends. Some of the new lines that they have coming include bohemian embroidery, baby-doll tops, and camouflage prints. A number one cultural trend that we did not face ten years ago is the number of mothers that are working outside of the home. This has in return affected how major purchase decisions are made. With mom and dad both working, it is often the teens that are becoming more independent and making purchasing
decisions on their own. There are currently 2.7 million teens who have money from odd jobs and allowances, and they choose to spend $14 billion annually on clothing,
Technology is affecting everything about our society including the clothing business. The number one aspect is the Internet. Having on-line access has changed the way that consumers find information and the way that they shop. During this past holiday 82 percent of consumers surveyed said that they would be doing holiday shopping on-line. The Internet gives retailers a way to show new fashion trends and give consumers access to their products. As technology continues to improve it will make it easier and faster for consumers to research products online and purchase with confidence. Web Advertising is another key element that can be affected by technology. Clothing companies are able to inform consumers about their products, advertise specials, etc. This allows buyers to become acquainted with products before purchasing in the store or on-line.