The history of apparel is as old as civilization itself. After all, someone made all those togas and tunics! In those days, most garments were made at home. But by the time of the Renaissance, as the wealthy began to become style-conscious, professional clothing makers were in high demand.
The birth of apparel manufacturing as we know it today began with the Industrial Revolution and the invention of the cotton gin. These new technologies made it simple to quickly mass-produce garments. These innovations were soon bolstered by the introduction of the sewing machine in the mid-19th Century. New assembly line techniques helped deliver clothing to a growing nation of consumers. Factories sprang up across the U.S., although Paris set the latest fashion trends.
By the middle of the 20th Century, American fashions came into prominence. As the industry continued to grow, so did the nation's sense of style, and fashion journalists and others helped communicate those changes. Today, apparel represents one of the world's largest industries, and virtually every country on earth plays some part in the process.
The creation and manufacture of sewn goods involves many people in a variety of roles, from investors and engineers to researchers and garment workers. Unlike ancient times, no one person can do it alone; it requires teamwork. One thing is certain: as long as people wear clothing, there will always be a sewn goods industry.
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