Clothing industry or Garment Industry summarizes the types of trade and industry along the production and life chain of clothing and garments, starting with the textile industry (producers of cotton, wool, fur, and synthetic fibre) via fashion industry to fashion retailers up to trade with second-hand clothes and textile recycling. The producing sectors build upon a wealth of clothing technology some of which, like the loom, the cotton gin, and the sewing machine heralded industrialization not only of the previous textile manufacturing practices. The garment industry is a major contributor to the economies of many countries. The industry for Ready Made Garments has been criticized by labour advocates for the use of sweatshops, piece work and child labour.
Working conditions in low-cost countries have received critical media coverage, especially in the aftermath of large scale disasters like the 2013 Savar.
India’s textiles sector is one of the oldest industries in Indian economy dating back several centuries. Even today, textiles sector is one of the largest contributors to India’s exports with approximately 11 per cent of total exports. The textiles industry is also labour intensive and is one of the largest employers. The textile industry has two broad segments. First, the unorganised sector consists of handloom, handicrafts and sericulture, which are operated on a small scale and through traditional tools and methods. The second is the organised sector consisting of spinning, apparel and garments segment which apply modern machinery and techniques such as economies of scale.
The Textile Industry employs about 40 million workers and 60 million indirectly. India's overall textile exports during FY 2015-16 stood at US$ 40 billion.
The Indian textiles industry is extremely varied, with the hand-spun and hand-woven textiles sectors at one end of the spectrum, while the capital intensive sophisticated mills sector at the other end of the spectrum. The decentralised power looms/ hosiery and knitting sector form the largest component of the textiles sector. The close linkage of the textile industry to agriculture (for raw materials such as cotton) and the ancient culture and traditions of the country in terms of textiles make the Indian textiles sector unique in comparison to the industries of other countries. The Indian textile industry has the capacity to produce a wide variety of products suitable to different market segments, both within India and across the world.
Leather is one of the most widely traded commodities globally. The growth in demand for leather is driven by the fashion industry, especially footwear. Apart from this, furniture and interior design industries, as well as the automotive industry also demand leather. The leather industry has a place of prominence in the Indian economy due to substantial export earnings and growth. The Indian leather industry accounts for around 12.9 per cent of the world’s leather production of hides/skins. The country ranks second in terms of footwear and leather garments production in the world.
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