Sabrina Finlay is the chief executive of Otabo, which has helped dozens of US fashion brands make their products in over 50 Chinese factories. She says while moving production to countries like Cambodia, Indonesia and Vietnam has been happening for years, those countries still specialise in very specific types of production.
“Because the infrastructure in those countries isn’t developed the way China is, those industries aren’t as adaptable or flexible,” says Finlay. "They’re not dexterous or responsive enough to produce different product lines and new styles when brands need them, which these days changes at social media speed."
“If you start cutting off American brands from [manufacturing in] China, there isn’t another place they can do this,” she says, and the ramifications will be broad and long lasting.
“For me the conversation isn’t about what’s going to happen in the next six months or the next two years but what happens in the next 10-20 years. This decision drastically hinders America’s ability to grow manufacturing, companies, brands and talent within the [US].”