History of American Fashion
History of American Fashion
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History of American Fashion Statistics

By the Numbers

Number of patents issued in the United States for sewing-related machines and accessories between 1840 and 1875: over 7,00055

Number of American women employed for wages in 1880: 2,647,15756
Proportion of all females over age ten employed for wages in 1880: 14.69%57

Number of American women employed for wages in 1890: 4,005,53258
Proportion of all females over age ten employed for wages in 1890: 17.40%59

Number of American women employed for wages in 1910: 8,075,77260
Proportion of all females over age ten employed for wages in 1910: 18.10%61

The number of women employed in U.S. clothing factories in 1890: 237,27062
The number of women employed in U.S. clothing factories in 1920: 265,64363

Cost of a breast supporter in the Sears, Roebuck catalog in 1917: 98¢64
Cost of brassieres from the G. M. Poix Company in the 1910s: $1.50 to $4.5065
Cost of brassieres from the Model Brassiere Company of New York in 1915: 50¢ to $7.5066
Number of brassiere brands on the U.S. market in 1918: 5267

The average annual income of an American family with one child during World War I: $1,50568
Average portion of that income spent on clothing for the family: $23869

Fixed wages for brassiere and corset industry workers, as fixed by the National Recovery Act in 1933: $14 per week, or 35¢ per hour for 40 hours70

Percentage of American women with annual incomes below $100 in 1939: 23%71
Percentage of American women with annual incomes between $100 and $999 in 1939: 56%72
Percentage of American women with annual incomes between $1,000 and $4,999 in 1939: 17.4%73

Americans employed in apparel manufacturing in 1950: 1.2 million74
Americans employed in apparel manufacturing in 2001: 566,00075

Total intimate apparel retail sales in the United States in 1954: $828 million76
Percentage of intimate apparel sales produced by New York-based companies in 1954: over 60%77
Number of U.S. undergarment workers in 1954: 112,23478
Percentage of undergarment workers employed in New York in 1954: 35%79

Number of U.S. undergarment workers in 2002: 11,85680
Total intimate apparel retail sales in the United States in 2002: $12 billion81
Percentage of American companies that allowed business casual dress for all employees in 1998: 97%82 Percentage of American companies that allowed business casual dress by employees in 2000: 87%83

Total U.S. apparel imports in 1989: $24.5 billion84
Total U.S. apparel imports in 2001: $63.8 billion85
Percentage of all apparel sold in the U.S. during the last quarter of 2001 that was imported: 83%86

Levi Strauss & Co. gross revenue in 1995: $6.7 billion87
Levi Strauss & Co. net revenue in 1995: over $700 million88
2002 hourly salary of an American factory worker who sewed zippers in Levi's jeans: $1489
2002 hourly salary of an apparel worker in Guatemala: 37¢90
2002 hourly salary of an apparel worker in China: 28¢91
2002 hourly salary of an apparel worker in Nicaragua: 23¢92
2002 hourly salary of an apparel worker in Bangladesh: 13-20¢93

Percentage of the American jeans market absorbed by Wrangler, Lee, Rider and Rustler brands in 1996: 30%94
Percentage of the American jeans market absorbed by the Levi Strauss brand in 1996: 19%95
Percentage of the American jeans market absorbed by high-end, designer-type jeans made by Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, and others in 1996: 15%96

Decline in Levi's sales after the designer jean boom, from 1996 to 2007: over 40%97

Value of all textiles and apparel shipped from Vietnam to the U.S. in 2005: $3.1 billion98
Percentage of the U.S. textile and apparel market filled by Vietnamese shipments in 2005: less than 4%99

Percentage increase in dressing-gown imports to the U.S. from China from 2000 to 2003: 1,484%100
Percentage increase in cotton knit shirts, blouses and cotton trouser imports to the U.S. from China from 2004 to 2005: more than 1,000%101
Percentage increase in man-made fiber underwear imports to the U.S. from China from 2004 to 2005: more than 300%102

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