Clothes are transported across the globe using any and all of the major shipping methods - sea, road, rail and air. The most common of these worldwide is ocean freight, as upwards of 90% of clothing spends at least a portion of its journey on a ship. When imported clothing hits dry ground in the U.S., it's most likely to spend time in a truck - either full truckload or LTL


What is the fashion supply chain?

The fashion supply chain reflects the journey clothing takes from raw material to consumer. The steps represent a process that's constantly repeating to keep up with fashion trends and seasonality of clothing, including:

  • Design
  • Raw materials/Sourcing
  • Manufacturing/Finishing
  • Distribution
  • Retail
  • Consumer

As an example, a piece of clothing may be designed in the U.S. The raw cotton to make that clothing could be harvested from India perhaps, then that cotton is shipped to China where it's milled into finished cloth. After that, the cloth goes to Bangladesh for dyeing, cutting and sewing, before it's packed up and taken via ocean freight back across the Europe. This process on average takes in the neighborhood of four to five months, with storage time sometimes added on.