According to the Workforce Development Council of Seattle, King County (WDC), the Seattle area’s fashion and apparel industry is emerging as a field of opportunities. WDC states that "Washington state has over 1,500 fashion and apparel firms, 63% of which are in King County. More than 3,000 others are “non-employer firms” representing self-employed individuals, primarily independent clothing sellers, manufacturers and wholesalers. Statewide, design, manufacturing, wholesale and headquarter segments of the industry generate a total of $6.7 billion in revenues, 17,230 jobs and nearly $800 million in labor income.
Forecasts indicate that the fashion and apparel industry is expected to grow in the short-term. In particular, fashion designers—one of the few fashion occupations paying more than the state average—are forecast to grow by 6.3% from 2013 to 2020.
Due to increases in international labor costs and higher demand for higher-quality, locally produced apparel, industry leaders speculate that sewing occupation jobs will grow in the future. Local business owners also indicated that demand for management, product development and sourcing jobs will grow. Sourcing is key to production, involving working with plants and contractors, determining product specifications and negotiating contracts"
Training the next generation of apparel makers such as pattern makers, dressmakers or tailors, is becoming more and more critical. For quality control and "civic pride", a growing number of local fashion designers produce handmade clothing in small batches. If you want to learn more about job opportunities in this field consult the following pages: