This is another one of those stories that seems like science fiction, but is actually reality. Retail, distribution and manufacturing are on the verge of rebirth because of a revolutionary emerging technology: 3D printing.
With a growing buzz surrounding online gaming, mobile technology and augmented reality, we know that the future of e-commerce is bound to be more fun and realistic than ever. With a push for modern consumer personalization, we’re not surprised to see start-ups like Los Angeles-based Styku cropping up.
When it comes to manufacturing apparel, the fashion industry is a state of turmoil. Several decades ago, China changed everything by becoming the go-to place for fashion labels to have their collections produced from the first pattern to the hangtag at a very low cost, positioning itself as the leading provider of the “full package deal” and setting the tone for the next thirty years of industry practice.
The third edition of Otis College of Art and Design’s report on Los Angeles’s creative economy finds that the industry, excluding manufacturing segments, is expected to grow by an estimated 4,000 jobs, or 1.6%, by 2013.
The Good News
Despite the downturn economy, the report estimates the creative economy in fact grew in 2008 and was valued at nearly $100bn in 2007. The new report estimates the county’s creative economy reached $121bn in 2008.
Fashion, which includes apparel and textile manufacturers, wholesale apparel and jewelry marts, and cosmetics, footwear and handbag producers, again was among the big players in the report.
In 2008, the LA fashion industry accounted for 30.5% of the creative economy’s total $121bn in revenues. During that same year, 6,872 fashion businesses in Los Angeles County employed 98,000 direct employees and drew $36.3bn in direct sales. Wholesale apparel sales, meanwhile, accounted for $16.4bn of that figure; apparel manufacturing $5.8bn.
The Bad News
According to Nancy D. Sidhu, vice president and chief economist of the Kyser Center for Economic Research at the LAEDC, the fashion industry would continue to see its employment figures shrink as more manufacturing jobs are pushed offshore.
Los Angeles County’s manufacturing sectors stands to lose 11,800 jobs in 2013 and approximately 11.7% of industry jobs over the next five years; dragging employment figures down by 2.3% from 2008.
The full 2009 “Report on the Creative Economy of the Los Angeles Region” is available online at Otis College of Design.