the Insiders


Showing posts by Arthur Friedman- Senior Editor, Markets
For more than 20 years, I've been reporting on the demise of the U.S. apparel and textile manufacturing industry.
Betsy and Walter Cronkite in 1992.
Betsy and Walter Cronkite in 1992.
Photo: WWD Archives

Sometimes a once-in-a-lifetime experience can leave a lasting impression. When journalistic icon Walter Cronkite died last week, the first thing that came into my mind was a brief encounter WWD had with him in 1992.

csr_source.jpgAs someone who has spent much of my career figuring out or writing about how to make clothes, it was encouraging to see the stiff-upper-lip attitude from a theater full of more than 130 manufacturing executives at the WWD Sourcing & Supply Chain Forum.

Certainly the speakers were brutally honest about how difficult it is out there. It's tough to find a stable place to manufacture their merchandise, given the political instability around the world. It's hard to negotiate the right price, given the volatility of labor conditions in places like China and Pakistan and the global economic turmoil that affects currency rates, shipping costs and credit availability. It's also risky to employ factories in countries such as Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, where poverty and climatic conditions threaten production on a regular basis.

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