Apparel and Accessories, NEC

SIC 2389

Industry report:

This industry consists of establishments primarily engaged in manufacturing suspenders, gaffers, handkerchiefs, and other apparel not elsewhere classified, such as academic caps and gowns, vestments, and theatrical costumes. Also included are establishments primarily engaged in manufacturing clothing by cutting and joining (for example by adhesives) materials such as paper and nonwoven textiles.

The apparel and accessories industry comprises a wide variety of products. Ecclesiastical vestments and other clothing make up a signification portion of sales in this category, as do academic caps and gowns, costumes, and theatrical clothing. Other industry segments include garter belts and garters; hose supporters; arm bands; suspenders; men's, boys', women's, and children's handkerchiefs; and burial garments.

In 2009, 2,333 companies employed 17,637 workers in the manufacturing apparel and accessories (not elsewhere classified) category. The majority, 87 percent, employed fewer than 20 people in the late 2000s, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Although California employed only 12 percent of workers, it accounted for almost 42 percent of the nation's $1.7 billion in sales. New York had the largest number of workers, followed by Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Florida. In a very distant second place after California, New York had $278 million in revenues. Florida accounted for $166 million of sales.

Like most other segments of the apparel industry, the accessories sector struggled with sluggish sales as the U.S. economic slide that took place at the turn of the twenty-first century continued throughout the century's first decade. Along with a weak economy, U.S. accessories manufacturers also faced a growing onslaught of inexpensive imports, partially the result of China's entrance into the World Trade Organization in December 2001, as well as the passage of the Uruguay Round agreement, which called for the cessation of textile quotas in 2005.

Labor and occupations are specialized within this category. Historically, more than half the workers have been sewing machine operators; fewer than five percent have been garment inspectors, testers, and graders; and roughly three percent have supervised precision blue-collar workers. Other occupations include pressing machine operators, shipping and receiving clerks, hand packers and packagers, helpers, laborers, and materials movers.

Although this category spans a large array of products, a few companies can be identified as leaders in the industry. Founded in 1974, Memphis, Tennessee-based Varsity Brands Inc. had annual sales of about $160 million in the 2000s, mainly from manufacturing uniforms for cheerleaders, dance teams, and booster clubs. Paris Accessories Inc. of New York, New York, which manufactured accessories such as hats, belts, handkerchiefs, and bandanas, had sales of roughly $50 million. E.R. Moore Co. of Chicago, Illinois, had estimated sales of $39 million, mainly from manufacturing choir, judicial, and graduation robes, caps, gowns, and accessories. Formerly one of the largest firms whose primary business was in this classification was Los Angeles, California-based Simon Worldwide Inc. With a main focus in promotional screen and fabric screen printing, Simon Worldwide had annual sales of $757 million and 1,300 employees in the late 1990s; however, the company shut down in the mid-2000s after a marketing scandal in which one of its employees embezzled money during a promotional campaign for McDonald's.

Historically, about 80 percent of goods manufactured within this industry have been made for personal consumption, 12 percent have been used in apparel made from purchased materials, and 1.5 percent have been exported. The United States usually imports nearly twice as many products in this category as it exports, and the percentage of imports has been growing. Others buying fractional amounts of the output of this industry include, in descending order, the federal government; pleating and stitching operations; knit outerwear mills; hospitals; laundry, dry cleaning, and shoe repair operations; government agencies that buy items for hospitals and health organizations; portrait and photographic studios; and government agencies that buy items for public assistance and relief.

© COPYRIGHT 2018 The Gale Group, Inc. This material is published under license from the publisher through the Gale Group, Farmington Hills, Michigan. All inquiries regarding rights should be directed to the Gale Group. For permission to reuse this article, contact the Copyright Clearance Center.

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