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Leonid Bershidsky

Your Clothes Could Be Made in the USA Again

Apparel from Asia takes too long to reach Western markets and automation is making manufacturing at home cost-effective.

Higher costs.

Higher costs.

Photographer: AFP/Getty Images

Europeans and Americans have grown used to buying clothes made in Asian countries. But apparel-industry sourcing executives are sure that’s changing: By the middle of the next decade, much more of our clothes will be made closer to home.

China and Bangladesh are the two biggest suppliers of apparel to Europe. In the U.S., China and Vietnam are the top two import sources. But almost a quarter of apparel-sourcing executives who participated in a study by McKinsey and Germany’s RWTH Aachen University said they expect more than half of the clothes they source to come from “nearshoring” in 2025. This means much of the production for Western countries will move out of Asia to these markets or to neighboring countries.