Textiles are the hottest trend on the market.
But it’s not just women who are buying them.
It’s also the men.
In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce, men have spent $15 billion on textiles over the last five years, with women spending $8 billion.
What’s the difference?
We talked to the industry’s leading consumer advocate to find out.
Julie Burdge, vice president of the Textile Council of America, talks about the differences in how women and men buy textile products.
I have an absolute understanding of how women shop and where they shop, but I think the difference between the genders is, it’s about more than just buying clothes and buying textiles.
Textiles, she says, are not just a trend.
It has to do with their quality.
They have to do more than that, she adds.
What women are doing with their money is buying more high-quality products.
The U.K. government, for example, is buying textile production equipment, as is the Chinese government.
But what men are doing is investing in textiles and they’re also spending money on fashion.
That’s why women are buying in bulk, and men are investing in fashion and spending money in textile quality.
Burdges main criticism of the textiles industry is that it does not promote women’s empowerment.
“We’ve got to change the culture around it.
We’re not going to fix it,” she says.
The Textile Forum, a nonprofit organization, provides free educational workshops for women, men and children to help educate them about the different types of textiles available.
The group’s founder, Stephanie K. Burt, says women buy products in bulk because they are better value for money.
“I think women have an opportunity to make money in this business because it’s a lot easier,” she explains.
But even with all the marketing about women, Burds main concern is not women but men.
“They think it’s the woman who’s the problem,” she notes.
She says the most significant issue women face is finding quality fabrics, especially in the past few years.
That may be why a number of textile manufacturers are shutting down or shifting their production to China.
Textile brands in particular are struggling to compete in the world market.
The world’s most expensive textile is now in China, where it costs $60 to make a shirt.
The cheapest textiles are usually made in India and Vietnam, where they cost $40 to $60 per kilogram.
And the biggest problems facing the industry, Burt says, is the lack of quality control.
“In the textile industry, we have a system where we’re forced to produce certain kinds of fabrics, which is very expensive, because the fabric is made from plastic,” she points out.
The textiles sector is not the only sector facing this problem.
Women are also more likely to be in debt and more likely than men to be unemployed.
But there are solutions.
Bird says there are a lot of good things that can be done in the textile industry.
For example, there are more women in the textile workforce, she points to the textile workers who can make garments in factories that are more sustainable.
Textil manufacturers need to improve their manufacturing processes to create more sustainable materials and processes, Bird adds.
“It’s not that we don’t know how to make things, but we have to make it in a way that’s a little more environmentally friendly.”
And, she suggests, women should be more conscious of their health.
“If you’re going to buy textil, you should be aware of how much you’re spending, and be conscious about that,” she adds, noting that some women may not want to spend more than $10 per garment.
And if you’re looking for a good product, Bierge says that the textil industry has the highest concentration of women in manufacturing.
But she cautions against the over-promotion of women and says it’s important that women and girls know what they’re buying.
“The fact that the textile sector is so small, that we’re seeing the industry take off, that women are still not represented in the fashion industry, that needs to change,” she concludes.