This Middle Eastern Country Is A Surprising Apparel Manufacturing Hub

Photo: Via Classicfashionjordan/YouTube.
If you flip through your closet, you’re bound to find quite a few tags that read “Made In Jordan”: The Middle Eastern country has become an unexpected garment manufacturing go-to for brands like Gap, Macy's, and Victoria’s Secret, according to Business of Fashion. In 2014, the United States received $1 billion in garment exports from Jordan, and such exports (not just to the U.S.) comprise approximately 20% of Jordan’s GDP. The free trade agreement signed between Jordan and the U.S. in 2001 gave rise to the apparel industry there, and it has flourished considerably in the years since.

The country’s leading garment manufacturer, Classic Fashion, is responsible for around 13% of Jordan’s exports to the U.S. Since its inception in 2003, the company has grown from 300 employees and $2 million in annual turnover to 15,000 employees and more than $250 million in annual turnover a dozen years later, Business of Fashion reports.

Classic Fashion’s president, Radhakrishnan Putharikkal, opted to set up shop in Jordan instead of Morocco or Tunisia: “When you step into Jordan, you never feel the regional tumult,” he told Business of Fashion.

In the apparel factories specifically, things have been far from perfect. Many of these operations have been accused of subpar, sweatshop-like working conditions in the past decade, with particularly harrowing experiences reported by workers from China and Bangladesh. In 2008, the International Labour Organization and the World Bank’s International Finance Corp. launched a partnership, called Better Work Jordan, to improve working conditions in the region. Another challenge it faces: The robust manufacturing landscape hasn't created many employment opportunities for women, due in large part to the country's social conservatism. The factories are primarily staffed by men, Business of Fashion points out, as women often leave the workforce after marriage.

Still, production isn't slowing in Jordan, and its output is being picked up by more and more global chains. Check your next shopping haul and you're sure to find that "Made In Jordan" tag.
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