Singapore is a re-emerging textile giant. But this is not to say it has a wallowing textile and garment industry. In fact, clothing and apparel are big businesses in Singapore and the textile and apparel industry is made up of 606 manufacturers, 4,212 wholesalers, and retailers. The industry employs around 15% of the manufacturing workforce while contributing close to 10% to the country’s total value, value added output and the same percent of total exports. In 2014, Textile World Asia reported that the city-state was ranked second only to Hong Kong as a textile and apparel business-sourcing hub in the Asia-Pacific region.
Although sales of apparel and footwear declined between 2014 and 2016, sports clothing lines and accessories showed steady and healthy growth. This is due primarily to two things. On the global trend in ‘athleisure’ and growing health revolution that has driven more people into healthy recreational activities like jogging, yoga and other sports. It helped that most sports apparel offer a range of style that is appropriate for both for a gym, outdoor and office settings and with durability and comfort that fit various lifestyles. Aside from the flexibility, such apparels allow people to shift quickly from work to sports or recreational mode and therefore appeals even to professionals.
This trend is easy to not just from the growing number of sports shops in the commercial district or increasing online apparel retailers but also in trade and garment shows in the Singapore. In stores and garment exhibits, it is no longer uncommon to see lifestyle-oriented niche sneakers or limited edition home-grown sneakers being released or displayed. Since style and not just functionality has become the new buzzword for sports apparel, it has also become common to exhibit new lines of sports garments particularly new designs for women who grew as a significant market segment and to a vast population of younger consumers who are sensitive to fads and new trends.
Another trend in Singapore garment and textile industry is the growing popularity of eco-friendly fashion, a broad term used to define garments and clothing products that were manufactured under environmental protection regulations and just labor conditions which means use of eco-friendly materials like organic cotton and linen which are organically produced, none use of environmentally harmful dyes and bleaches that can damage bodies of water and communities, appropriate waste management systems, none use of hazardous manufacturing chemicals and fair labor treatment of employees and workers. As such, garment exhibits in Singapore now include exhibits of textile machinery particularly digital printing machines that have significantly regulated processes and materials that are environmentally destructive. In fact, various local and regional garment trade exhibits have now been committed to exhibits of environmentally viable machines that are not just eco-friendly but energy efficient. These textile machines exhibits are now common not just in Singapore but in Indonesia, India, and Pakistan which are now combining digital printing with traditional textile manufacturing processes and developing sustainable manufacturing solutions. These trade exhibits, aside from validating or setting up new trends both in manufacturing and in product features, are also aimed to encourage capital investment in value added textile sector