Fashion Production, Distribution and Consumption





Fashion Production, Distribution and Consumption

Fashion involves cultivating raw materials, manufacturing raw materials, and distributing finished products. As such, textile manufacturing is an essential aspect of fashion as it involves converting raw materials into fabrics. Over the years, different innovators have used different types of raw materials to create fabrics; however, cotton is one of the most widely used and preferred raw materials to date. In America, cotton production has its roots tied to slavery. Cotton plantations that were common during the 18th century heavily relied on enslaved people for cheap labor. As the textile industry in the world expanded, the demand for cotton equally grew, and it increased the slave trade. After the abolition of the slave trade, the cotton economy in America continued to thrive, making America one of the leading global fashion and textile manufacturers. To date, America retains its top position in the fashion and textile industry, thereby influencing fashion production, distribution, and consumption worldwide.

Cotton is an important raw material in the fashion and textile industry. All fabrics used in making garments have a percentage of cotton, making cotton one of the most widely used materials in making clothing. Given its importance in the textile and fashion industry, cotton has and continues to be an important commodity in the market. The importance of cotton in garment making can be traced to the 17th and 18th centuries, when this material became the preferred raw material for clothing. In addition, the creation of the cotton gin in the late 18th century further enabled the use of cotton in the textile and fashion industry. As the importance and demand for cotton clothing grew globally, the prevalence of cotton plantations in America equally grew, resulting in increased slavery. The increased reliance on slaves for cheap labor in cotton plantations resulted in an expansive textile industry and cotton economy that involved the slaves, the plantation owners, the banks, and textile shipping merchants. Therefore, the rise of the cotton trade resulted in an expansion of the textile industry as more people preferred to use cotton materials in their clothing. Also, the increased use of cotton in textiles increased fashion and textile production, distribution, and consumption in the Americas and Europe.

The civil war and the reconstruction period are other factors that influenced fashion production, distribution, and consumption. The civil war in America began in 1862 and lasted until 1865. One of the issues highlighted during this war was slavery, the status of slaves, and the inequality in America. Soon after the civil war, America went through a period of reconstruction. This new era saw several attempts made to redress the inequalities faced by slaves. This period lasted between 1965 and was abandoned by 1877. Other than addressing the issue of inequality, America also faced the challenge of reintegrating different states and determining the status of black people in America. During the reconstruction era, slavery had just been abolished, and it granted black people new legal status in America. In the cotton plantations, newly freed slaves continued to work for their previous owners, a factor that helped quell the fears that the cotton economy would crumble as the slave trade ran concurrently with this economy. In addition to the newly freed slaves, other parties that joined the cotton market to provide labor included people from India, China, and the British Caribbean. The retention of former slaves and the introduction of new laborers enabled the cotton economy to expand further, positively impacting the fashion industry. Therefore, an increase in labor allowed for an increase in cotton production, which enabled the expansion of the fashion and textile industry.

After the civil war, the increased production of cotton also saw America propelled into the second-largest producer of textiles in the world. This figure indicated that apart from exporting cotton, the American population consumed large quantities of cotton and made textile products for its domestic market. This increase in local consumption further expanded the cotton economy and the textile industry in America. The country saw an exponential increase in the number of mills around the country. As such, more people got access to new jobs, and with an increase in the income people made, more Americans were able to consume American textiles. This rise in textile consumption further drove the American fashion industry.

America is a global powerhouse in the fields of fashion and textile manufacturing. America‚Äôs fashion industry saw tremendous growth during the 17th century due to the increase in cotton production and an increase in the number of cotton plantations in the country. Between the 17th century and the 18th century, America experienced events such as the civil war, the abolition of the slave trade and the reconstruction era. These events proved beneficial to America’s developing fashion and textile industry. They helped prompt the increase of cotton production, thereby increasing the cotton economy and creating jobs for newly freed slaves, immigrant laborers, and the white American population.