3rd quarter 2006
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Technical textile markets: clothing at work: providing a better image, 3rd quarter 2006
published in Issue 66, 3rd quarter 2006
The market for clothing at work is huge. It covers basic workwear, technical wear and protective wear—which is required by law in some cases—and the more image focused careerwear. As many as half of all working Americans wear clothing provided by their employers at work, although penetration rates are not yet as high in Europe or elsewhere. In recent years there has been a blurring of the differences which once existed between the various categories of clothing at work. Such blurring stems partly from innovations in technical fabrics and partly from the influences of fashion and image. Technical fabrics are now used in a wide range of garments and are not limited to the protective categories. Similarly, the focus on image and fashion in careerwear has infiltrated the basic workwear market.
In terms of suppliers, the market is highly fragmented. It is served by many specialist national companies and there are few regional or global players. To some extent, this has suited the nature of the business in the past because local suppliers tend to be especially responsive to the needs of local buyers. Some of the larger suppliers are garment rental and laundry companies which provide garments and cleaning services. The largest buyers, however, are companies which do not manufacture garments themselves. Other large customers include public authorities.
Within the mature markets of Western Europe and the USA, growth sectors include protective wear—which is being driven predominantly by legislation—and careerwear, which is being fuelled by a desire to present a good corporate image. In contrast, the workwear market is stagnant or in decline, in line with the demise of heavy industry in these regions. The biggest opportunities for clothing at work, however, lie in the developing world. Most of the future growth in this market will come from the take up of workwear, and eventually careerwear, in Asia.
- Smart Fabrics and Intelligent Textiles in the UK: Seven Companies at the Forefront of Innovation, (1st quarter 2007)
- Lion Apparel: a leading supplier of protective apparel for firefighters, (4th quarter 2006)
- Performance apparel markets: flame resistant fibres and fabrics, 4th quarter 2006, (4th quarter 2006)
- Profile of Kwintet: a leading supplier of workwear, (2nd Quarter 2006)
- Fast track: tracking the market for personal protective equipment, (2nd Quarter 2006)
- Technical textile markets: anti-static technology in performance apparel, 4th quarter 2005, (4th quarter 2005)
- Technical textile markets: developments in military clothing, 3rd quarter 2005, (3rd quarter 2005)
- West European Market for Textiles in Personal Protective Equipment, (1st quarter 2005)
- Profile of Klopman International: European Leader in Polyester/Cotton Workwear, (January-February 2005)
- Performance apparel markets: stain protective apparel: consumers splash out on easy-care clothing, 4th quarter 2004, (4th quarter 2004)
- UV protective fibres and fabrics: function and fashion for a health-conscious age, (2nd Quarter 2004)