The fashion industry in South Carolina is on the brink of a digital transformation. As customer experience and brand sustainability become increasingly important, the industry is transitioning to an omnichannel sales model and alternative payment methods. This shift is being propelled by companies like Alice Manufacturing, who are looking to the future of the textile industry. South Carolina is now home to a variety of dynamic industries, such as aerospace, automotive, and defense, which are supported by materials produced by local companies like Toray, Teijin, and Innegra. In the early 20th century, cotton was a major crop in South Carolina, and by the 1930s, the states of North and South Carolina were home to two of the largest textile industries in the country.
In response to these changes, Alice Manufacturing founded a fashionable bedding business in 2000 in order to be closer and more relevant to the end consumer. The future of fashion in South Carolina is looking bright. Imagine a stylish district where people live on the upper floors while factories on the ground floor continue to produce clothes. James Richter, director of workforce development at the South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance, stated that textiles in South Carolina are still doing well, even if it's challenging. Garment workers have managed to pressure the city into needing manufacturing space in future housing developments in the fashion district. Traditional retailers are still hiring highly qualified graduates, but students now have the opportunity to pursue new and growing professional careers in fields such as fashion entrepreneurship, e-commerce, and consumer experience design.
The University of South Carolina's Department of Retail has set out to connect its curriculum with the dynamic demands of the labor market and expand opportunities for students to work in fashion. A career in fashion means much more than most people realize, and UofSC ensures that its students are prepared for success in this rapidly evolving industry. Julian Masters is a third-year student who specializes in retail with an emphasis on fashion marketing and digital innovations. She used these skills to make an impression when she applied for and was elected to the position of marketing director of UofSC Dance Marathon. The goal is to create 100,000 new homes by creating housing and manufacturing centers such as the fashion district.