Top Country to Manufacture Clothing // The 12 largest Exporters of Clothing, Garments, and Apparel

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If you are looking to manufacture clothing and apparel, one of the first big decisions you need to make is which country is the best for your clothing line. The clothing industry is a global industry with manufacturers and factories spread across the globe. China is the biggest producer of clothing; however, its rivals are not that far behind. Many countries offer advantages over China in regards to cost, human rights, or quality.
tailoring, tailor, costume. largest Exporters of Clothing

Table of Contents

Clothing is a fundamental need, and the clothing, garments, textiles, and apparel manufacturing industry will always exist to fulfill that need. As with other sectors, the textile industry participates in trading operations, for this is how trade between two countries is thriving. Textile exports have a big part in nations’ rising economic development by exporting textile significantly from one location to another.

Global economic growth in the textile industry is powered by the world’s largest textile manufacturing countries and by the top textile exporters in 2020, primarily due to their increased output and sales of materials like cotton, yarn, and fiber as other manufactured goods or apparel. 

Though China remains the world’s largest textile major exporters, other big textile markets, including the EU, India, and the US, have also displayed a remarkable average growth rate in the last few years. In the previous decades, new export markets have been found to conquer the export markets of textiles and are now the world’s largest textile exporters.

The global apparel industry is projected to expand concerning the rapid fashion demand globally, ensuring that the world’s largest textile production countries and major textile exporters are already full of possibilities to prosper more in the immediate future. 

The leading garment exporters are now exporting cotton and clothing in cotton, wool, ready-made apparel, and packaged clothing, promoting their parent countries’ garment economies. This article lays out a list of the top garment manufacturing countries in the world.

List of the top Clothing Manufacturing Countries

Many other developed countries have also expanded tremendously in their apparel factories as their textile or clothing sector expenditure grows. Countries like Pakistan, Indonesia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, and a host of South American countries have also seen substantial development in their textile production in recent years.

Following are some of the countries best-known for their manufacturing industries:

001 // China Clothing Manufacturing

View our full guide on China’s clothing manufacturing industry here!

Currently, China is listed as the second-biggest economy in the world after the United States. China also has significant contributions to world textile exports, adding $18425 million in 2015, $15775 million in 2016, and $14412 million in 2017, creating its largest textile exporter. The Chinese textile industry is the largest producer and exporter globally, with an export value of USD 266.41 billion. 

The production value of China’s garment industry contributes to more than half of the global economy. With its consistent increase in the last twenty years, the Chinese manufacturing industry has been one of the critical pillars of the nation’s infrastructure. Clothes, garment products, apparel yarns, and textile items are among China’s main export products.

The big factors influencing the sector are low-cost manufacturing, the efficiency of raw materials, industry structure, state-of-the-art high-tech equipment, mark creation, and work processes for domestic and foreign customers.

China has been considered the most extensive apparel producer globally for many years, although this could change shortly. Concerning material supplies, for instance, China is one of the top three cotton suppliers in the world. However, the production of Chinese cloth has declined over the years.

Since 2010, the apparel industry in China has had an average growth rate of 4 percent but has declined to-7 percent in 2015 and 2016. While China is a big competitor, the current opportunities cause other countries to grow. Rising incomes would push importers to prefer less developed countries that will deliver cheaper costs.

002 // Italy Clothing Manufacturing

The Italian garment industry is the global pioneer in clothing technology and design. Italy encompasses the full selection of fabrics, with cotton, linen, silk, and wool. The Italian clothing industry is highly export-oriented, with an export volume of USD 36.57 billion. Industry demonstrates a more solid manufacturing system with creative technology.

 Material advancement Italy relies solely on the technological output of fabrics and yarns to expand its scope. Italy is developing a wide variety of E-textiles with emerging technology to bring advantages to the wearer.

003 // United States Clothing Manufacturing

The United States is a leader in the textile industry and the world’s largest economy. It exported textiles worth $22.1 Billion in 2015, where it grew its textile exports by 20.71 percent in 2017. The United States is a major producer and exporter of garment raw materials, textiles, yarns, clothing, home furnishings, and other textile goods.

The United States is the 8th largest exporter of textiles with an export volume of USD 27.14 billion. US textiles’ power lies in non-woven, specialist, industrial fabrics, medical textile products, and protective garments. The US is also scientifically very advanced in the clothing and apparel field, allowing companies to spend in the US textile industry.

004 // Vietnam Clothing Manufacturing

You can view the full guide on Vietnam’s clothing and apparel manufacturing industry at our partners website

The textiles industry in Vietnam is enormous, estimated at $37.93 billion annually. Manufacturing companies in this country have concentrated on more advanced manufacturing and modernization of their activities. 

Focusing on advanced manufacturing allows Vietnam to remain competitive and provides them a rare chance to corner those parts of the global economy. Like many other economies, labor rates are attractively low.

Even with more than half the size of the employees in Bangladesh, they can comfortably equal the other nation’s performance. What makes Vietnam stand out is that the manufacturers there rely on being intensely efficient in a few main fields, ensuring that the goods are outstanding in terms of cost. Garment retailers may use some of the more than 6,000 factories there to help broaden their production process.

005 // Germany Clothing Manufacturing

The garment and clothing industry in Germany has a long tradition of production, invention, and versatility. It may sound surprising that Germany is at the top in export value in the fashion industry. 

Germany has an export volume of almost $40 billion worth of clothing a year. Germany is one of the major exporters of knitted garments, human-made fiber, synthetic yarn, and equipment, with an export volume of $38.99 billion. 

This comparison often acts as a perfect indicator of the real scale of China’s market share. Germany is one of the leading exporters of knitted fabric and also human-made textile and synthetic yarn.

Germany is recognized for its revolutionary computers. Germany is growing as one of the main competitors since it has experienced considerable changes in the last ten years. Their suppliers have aimed to keep prices as low as possible and achieve large volumes, but that approach has shifted. 

Germany’s emphasis has been more on manufacturing high-quality goods than attempting to cope with the low prices that China can deliver and that keep them separate as the second-largest textile world’s largest exporter.

006 // Bangladesh Clothing Manufacturing

You can view our guide on Bangladesh’s clothing and garment manfucatuing industry here!

Bangladesh has only gradually established itself as a leading country in the manufacture of clothing. As of the most recent estimates, there are nearly 6,000 separate garment factories in the world. 

Bangladesh was ranked second in terms of total export in 2018. Many foreign multinational companies use manufacturing in Bangladesh, and it is one of the cheapest in the global economy; EUR 30 a month relative to EUR 150 or 200 in China.

The export volume still stands at $38.73 billion a year, which is also very close to Germany. What holds this country apart as the top exporter of textiles is the enormity of its population. The latest data show that as many as four million people function in textile production in Bangladesh! 

Moreover, labor prices are relatively low, making it an appealing choice to search for suppliers that can deliver in high quantities and aim to retain integrity in their supply chain.

007 // India Clothing Manufacturing

You can read our full guide on clothing and apparel manufacturing in India here!

India is another nation that comes to the fore when it comes to the production of clothes. Textile exports added $37.11 billion to the government last year. The garment and clothing industry in India is one of the major manufacturers and exporters in the country. India is the 5th largest country with an export turnover of $37.11 billion.

Indian cloth manufacturing industry has primarily been divided into two segments: first, the unorganized part comprises handicrafts, handicrafts, and sericulture, which work on a small scale using traditional tools and techniques. The second is the coordinated one that applies new machines and methods, such as economy of scale.

India is just such a significant player because of the handmade goods that are still being manufactured there; nevertheless, they always provide more advanced manufacturing prospects.

Production costs in India are marginally higher than in the other top five countries, making it less appealing as an offshore alternative. India uses intensive technologies to manufacture textile goods – spinning, weaving, refining, and garments.

008 // Turkey Clothing Manufacturing

Turkey’s garment and clothing industry play an essential part in the international trade in textiles with the capacity to meet high expectations and a wide variety of goods. Turkish export earnings of the industry have changed from low value-added materials to high value-added finished products and trendy goods.

The export value of the textile sector in Turkey has hit USD 27.56 billion. Turkey is thriving in the clothing and apparel industry with stunning design skills, high-tech solutions, agile and scalable manufacturing capacity, and respect for quality, well-being, and the atmosphere.

009 // Cambodia Clothing Manufacturing

Cambodia’s textile industry is the largest part of its market industry, responsible for 80 percent of all exports. Exports rose to $4.61 billion in 2012, up 8 percent from 2011. During the first half of 2013, the Cambodian clothing industry announced $1.56 billion worth of exports. The sector hires 335,400 employees, of whom 91% are female.

The industry works primarily in the final step of garment manufacturing, which is to transform yarns and fabrics into garments since the country lacks a deep textile manufacturing foundation.

010 // Spain Clothing Manufacturing

Textile machine production is among the major industrial sectors in Spain. From weaving, spinning and dyeing, and printing, they produce all sorts of equipment. Spain is the 10th largest exporter with a volume of USD 20.20 billion. The textile trade and development of Spain have also made it a prime region for fashion and continues pushing on to hit new heights in the garment and fashion industry.

011 // Pakistan Clothing Manufacturing

You can view our post on Pakistan’s clothing and garment manufacturing here!

The apparel and clothing industry contributes to 70% of Pakistan’s exports, but the workers’ employment conditions are disgraceful. Small industrial workshops usually do not sign job contracts, do not make a reasonable wage, and often employ teenagers. 

largest Exporters of Clothing

With 547 labor regulators in Pakistan monitoring the country’s 300,000 factories, the garment industry is out of reach. Nor are staff covered by trade unions, which are forbidden in industrial export regions.

The Evolution of the Global Clothing Industry

There are various signs that the cloth manufacturing industry developed during the Paleolithic period. A distinctive garment impression has been discovered in Pavlov. Numerous Neolithic textiles have been found in excavation locations in El-Fayum, Egypt, and Switzerland. 

The excavation site at El-Fayum dates back to about 5000 BC. In Roman times, leather linen and wool adorned the people, while silk was an expensive luxury. Silk was shipped to Rome on the Silk Road. The utilization of linseed fiber to produce clothing in the northern parts of Europe traces back to the Neolithic era.

People began to introduce cotton into Northern Europe towards the end of the Middle Ages. Cotton cultivation started in the Americas and Asia’s colder areas at the end of the 16th century.

The critical steps in fabric manufacturing are fiber production and then converting the wool and the cloth. The material is then marketed to textile factories. The method of preparation of the thread varies depending on the form of yarn used. 

Wool has to be cleaned and carded, while lining needs cleaning and dressing. The weaving and spinning method is very close between thread and flex.

The spinning method was developed from the twisting of fiber by the hands to a spinning wheel and a drop spindle. Quite a few spindles and spindle parts have been exhumed at numerous archaeological sites and are regarded as the first pieces of equipment in the clothing industry. The Spinning Wheel was developed in the Islamic world in the eleventh century.

Final Thoughts on the global clothing industry

These top countries are global drivers of the clothing and apparel industry. They are Significant players and are introducing innovation to the fashion and garment industry. The development of material looks good because of high domestic consumption as well as exports.

Apparel manufacturing may seem like a complicated industry to tackle. The method of choosing a producer may seem difficult when you first hit this threshold in your enterprise’s growth. Ensuring a manufacturer is a significant move, but it provides many advantages for designers and developers seeking to enter this space. 

Instead of tampering with your in-house manufacturing tools, you should take a manufacturer to allow you to concentrate on the larger picture of your company, such as creating a brand and promoting marketing.

Having a producer in charge of your production would give you access to more capacity and greater artistic independence. There are threats, of course, but the rewards of taking this next move will yield massive dividends down the line.  You’ve got the foundation and tools to take the company forward.

3 thoughts on “Top Country to Manufacture Clothing // The 12 largest Exporters of Clothing, Garments, and Apparel”

  1. Zara s factories can quickly increase and decrease production rates, so there is less inventory in the supply chain and less need to finance that inventory with working capital. They do only 50 60 percent of their manufacturing in advance versus the 80 90 percent done by competitors. Zara does not need to place big bets on yearly fashion trends. They can make many smaller bets on short term trends that are easier to call correctly.

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Jim Kennemer

Jim Kennemer

Jim Kennemer is the Founder of Cosmo Sourcing and Sourcinghub.io. He has helped 100’s of clients source more than $100 Million USD worth of products from both China and Vietnam. Products that he has sourced have ended up in almost every major retailer for clients from over 30 countries.
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