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David Birnbaum

David BirnbaumBiography

David Birnbaum, co-founder of Birnbaum & Father Ltd, is a garment industry specialist who has been retained by importers, middlemen, and factories as well as international institutions and governments. He is a leading expert in garment industry strategic development and transfer pricing, and is the author of nine books including “Birnbaum’s Global Guide to Agents and Buying Offices” (2015), as well as the monthly Birnbaum Report.

Articles by David Birnbaum

Why basic cost sheets don't work for clothing companies 17 December 2019

The basic garment cost sheet is a breakdown of costs for each material and step. But retailers and brand customers do not care about supplier costs – and the factories have nothing to learn from them, says David Birnbaum. Instead, he suggests data is the tool to make the best decision.


Anti-government protests have rocked Hong Kong for months and the situation shows no sign of dying downWhat does the future hold for Hong Kong? 29 November 2019

For the past 40 years Hong Kong has been the centre of the global garment industry. Yet today, Hong Kong is in a state of chaos as protesters wage a battle for its future. Here, David Birnbaum shares his thoughts on what's happening and why.


FOB prices from cheap labour countries such as Bangladesh are rising at an accelerating rateLow labour rate countries squeezed hardest on price? 25 September 2019

There is a common belief that low-labour-rate countries are forever being victimised by their customers, who force the factories to accept unacceptably low FOB (free on board) prices. This has never made sense, less so now than ever before, writes David Birnbaum.


The Trump trade war has moved from reality to Trump WorldThe Trump trade war moves from reality to fantasy 2 September 2019

President Trump's goal to force brands and retailers to move their orders out of China, at no cost to the US consumer, is the final triumph of fantasy over reality, writes David Birnbaum. Where are we going to move production? Will there be an added cost? And if so, who will pay?


Hosiery is almost entirely produced with high speed automated machineryTrump's Christmas gift to China hosiery makers 22 August 2019

Some say President Trump's decision to delay the introduction of certain new tariffs until December is a gift to American consumers. David Birnbaum believes it is President Trump's Christmas gift to China's hosiery makers.


Exporting fabrics from the US to free trade garment makers is not a long-term source of profitWhy it's time to build a new US textile industry 9 May 2019

In an increasingly competitive world, it is time for the US textile industry to consider a new strategy, according to David Birnbaum. Instead of relying on free-trade partners for exports, he suggests a move away from garment related fabrics, a focus on high-tech materials, and replacing the yarn forward rule with fibre-only could be the key to reinvention.


The old guard in the garment industry The new revolution that will change our industry – Comment 25 January 2019

We are now in the early stages of a new revolution that will completely change the apparel industry  – and is being run by a new generation of consumers and a new generation of suppliers, writes David Birnbaum, as he offers his take on the year ahead.


Will reshoring be the saviour of the US garment industry?The failure of the US garment industry – Part III – Reshoring Y/N 16 November 2018

A 65-year strategy to force US consumers to buy made-in-US garments has been an all-time disaster, asserts David Birnbaum, with the result that the US garment industry is now in a state of failure. The technology to create smart factories means reshoring has the potential to revolutionise the industry. But the key question in this, the last in a three-part series, is: Will reshoring benefit the US garment industry?


Made-in-America garments have less than a 0.3% global export market shareThe failure of the US garment industry – Part II – Captive Customer Syndrome 8 November 2018

In the second article in a three-part series examining the failure of the US garment industry, David Birnbaum shows how US government policy to force consumers to buy made-in-America apparel succeeded in almost destroying domestic manufacturing.


The failure of the US garment industry – Part I 1 November 2018

For the past 20 years, imports have accounted for between 97%-98% of all garments sold in the United States. But while everyone seems to agree that cheap labour from poor countries has all but destroyed the domestic US manufacturing industry, that assumption is not borne out by the data. In fact, the data shows that labour rates – high or low – have nothing to do with imports, garments or otherwise. Here, in the first of a three-part series, David Birnbaum takes a look at the failure of the US garment industry.


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