The case for Indian manufactured garments

Lately, we have seen many brands, especially the bigger ones, outsourcing their clothing production to China / Bangladesh / Vietnam. 

Nothing pains us more than seeing "Made in China" or "Made in Bangladesh" labels on clothes in Indian mall stores or leading online websites. 

We're not anti-globalization and understand "Comparative Advantage in Trade," which explains concepts like, for example, why it could be better for the USA to get toys and clothes manufactured in China even if they have better designers and fashion talent than China. 

Unfortunately, India is not the USA. 


India is still a low-income country ( $2183 GDP per capita compared to China's 12,361 ) and has the problem of disguised employment. There is no comparative advantage in importing garments from China, Bangladesh, or Vietnam. We are, unfortunately, not in a position where our workforce is mass-employed in more advanced industries offering high wages. 


Clothing offers the opportunity for mass employment. Take, for example, the fact that Reliance India Limited, with $110 billion in assets, employs 2,50,000 people. In contrast, Shahi Exports, presumably India's biggest garment exporter, employs 1,06,000 workers in its factories with just $185 million in assets. For the same investment, Shahi Export creates 252x more jobs !! Smaller companies create even more jobs per dollar investment. 

A company importing 50,000 shirts a month from Bangladesh will require 2-3 people to manage the import operations, whereas manufacturing these units will need 220-230 tailors working six days a week!!  


We sincerely hope that the time comes when it makes sense to import garments from these countries than manufacture here when we employ most of the workforce in specialized manufacturing or service industries. But till that time, we cannot afford to outsource these much-needed jobs to other countries. 


While the government is doing its bit to create more jobs in the sector, we urge our fellow Indians to be mindful of the "Country of Origin" while purchasing clothes. 


We at Indophilia make customized womenswear from Indian natural fabrics in our workshop with pride, care, and love! 

Indophilia Factory
Some photos from our Noida Sector 63 workshop!

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