Apparel is a generic description which includes clothing and footwear made from a variety of materials including synthetic and natural materials.
The Textile, Clothing, Leather and Footwear (TCLF) sector is characterized by geographically dispersed production and rapid market-driven changes, providing employment opportunities to millions of workers worldwide especially for young women. Due to the scale and the profile of workers employed, the sector offers great potential to contribute significantly to economic and social development.
The trend of the sector towards faster and more flexible production and lower prices had been accelerated by the phase-out of the Multifibre Arrangement in 2005. The TCLF sector today is characterized by high volatility, low predictability, and generally low profit margins. Production is generally subcontracted to suppliers in different countries, leading to a forceful competition that brings costs down. Additionally, the sector remains among the most labour-intensive industries, despite advances in technology and workplace practices.