A leading sourcing executive says emerging retail markets have made up for a shortfall in garment orders from developed Western markets in recent years.

Don Baum, senior vice president of global manufacturing at Polo Ralph Lauren, told last week's  Istanbul Fashion Apparel Conference that changing demand has re-balanced the global supply chain.

He said: "Growth of the BRIC nations of Brazil, Russia, India and China means they are changing from export countries to consuming countries.

"China and India are really making up the difference for some of the capacity that might have been lost from Europe and the US, who are not buying as much as they did in prior years."

Baum also warned that the "tale is yet to be told" about how rising garment prices will be received by shoppers.

He said: "Most brands are raising their prices by 10-20%, and it could mean the light switch going off if the consumer, who is now paying more for gasoline and food, says 'I'm not buying another T-shirt today'."

Meanwhile, a reduced appetite for garment manufacturing jobs in China could bring some production back to Europe, added Baum.

"Labour rates also are going up around the world and there may be opportunities for Turkey," he said. "I also believe there will be opportunities for Italy."