Importance of Learning Import and Export in the Fashion Industry

The fashion industry is one that is heavily dependent on international trade because of the need to source materials and, in some cases, specialised labour.

International trade activity within the fashion industry

International trade is not industry specific, in fact, it is something that applies to pretty much all sectors of the economy. While it is largely evident in the trade of certain commodities and basic goods, it also extends to the fashion industry. Considering the various components of producing clothing, shoes and textiles, it is no wonder that the outsourcing of certain elements and the importing and exporting of goods and material is pretty much the norm. With that in mind, fashion companies and brands do not operate in isolation, as they often source some raw materials and labour from other countries.

Due to the fashion industry being fast-paced, ever-evolving and trends-based, not all countries adopt the latest trends at the same time. This is why some of the leading fashion brands draw inspiration from industry leaders and greats, in order to stay in the loop and introduce the latest trends to the local market. Therefore, importing and exporting play a very crucial role in that process. Some trends may require materials that are only available in certain parts of the world, for example, but that should not deter local fashion brands from pursuing them. Fortunately, they have the option of importing some materials. Similarly, some countries may not have capacity or the necessary abilities to deliver certain designs or processes, which leads to the outsourcing of some elements to other countries in order to meet customers’ demands and, in some cases, this may prove to be cheaper than employing domestic labour. As noted, some of the key benefits of international trade in the fashion industry can be summed up as cost reduction, supply chain management, flexibility and access to a greater variety of materials and merchandise.

Regularly upskilling and educating yourself

Because of the abovementioned factors, those in the fashion industry need to consistently stay in the loop and educate themselves on the trade guidelines and the overall landscape of the industry in the countries in which they operate. Given the current global conditions, many entities and governments are making use of digital means to spread messages, Therefore, it is recommended to sit in on webinars or sign up to receive newsletters or press releases from industry regulators, the government and authoritative voices in the fashion industry. More often than not, they will share industry tips, provide updates on any changes to trade legislation, and also act as a platform to connect with like-minded industry peers and provide an opportunity to virtually meet and engage with them.

The fashion industry is a multi-trillion-dollar global industry, and it is understandable that some may consider investing in it. However, the apparel and fashion industry was amongst the hardest hit by the conditions of 2020, which is why it is currently preferred to explore trading stocks from established fashion brands, as they are likely to withstand the instability better than newcomers. Furthermore, certain tax rules apply in every trade endeavour. Because these differ in each country, it is of utmost importance to educate yourself on the tax rates, exchange rates, interest rates and governing guidelines that apply where you operate. Such information can be accessed on official and authoritative websites and government pages.


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