This category includes establishments primarily engaged in manufacturing raincoats and other waterproof outerwear from purchased rubberized fabrics, plastics, and similar materials. Included in this industry are establishments primarily engaged in manufacturing waterproof or water repellent outerwear from purchased woven or knit fabrics other than wool. Establishments primarily engaged in manufacturing men's and boys' oiled-fabric work clothing are classified in SIC 2326: Men's and Boys' Work Clothing; those manufacturing vulcanized rubber clothing and clothing made from rubberized fabrics produced in the same establishment are classified in SIC 3069: Fabricated Rubber Products, Not Elsewhere Classified.
315222 (Men's and Boys' Cut and Sew Suit, Coat, and Overcoat Manufacturing)
315234 (Women's and Girls' Cut and Sew Suit, Coat, Tailored Jacket, and Skirt Manufacturing)
315228 (Men's and Boys' Cut and Sew Other Outerwear Manufacturing)
315238 (Women's and Girls' Cut and Sew Other Outerwear Manufacturing)
315291 (Infants' Cut and Sew Apparel Manufacturing)
315999 (Other Apparel Accessories and Other Apparel Manufacturing)
315211 (Men's and Boys' Cut and Sew Apparel Contractors)
315212 (Women's and Girls' Cut and Sew Apparel Contractors)
Raincoats constitute the largest share of merchandise produced by establishments classified in this industry. In the late 1990s these companies shipped goods with a total value of about $95 million, a dramatic decrease from the $333 million worth of good shipped in 1987.
The 1990s brought a return of polyurethane-coated fabrics to the forefront of raincoat fashion. Polyurethane gives fabrics the shiny look associated with rain slickers of the 1960s. The newer versions of the shiny raincoat have benefited from improvements in the technology used to coat the fabrics. Softer fabrics such as rayon, cotton, and polyester can be used to back a very thin layer of polyurethane, creating a much more comfortable garment than was previously possible. Technological improvements have also expanded the number of softer styles available; some use new microfibers as well as sueded cotton and velvet treated with water-repellent chemicals. These improvements in waterproofing techniques have given linens an important role in outerwear for the first time.
Although the market for rainwear declined in the 1980s and 1990s, rainwear was becoming more fashionable by the late 1990s. Some customers were buying raincoats as alternatives to other types of coats instead of focusing entirely on their functional aspects. The introduction of shorter raincoats (34 to 37 inches long instead of the traditional 48 to 50 inches) increased sales significantly. In addition, new "high-tech" fibers and finishes such as Tencel polynosics, suede and twill-weave polyester, and high-twist wools made raincoats wearable in all kinds of weather. These all-weather garments were known as hybrid coats or bridge coats.
The U.S. Census Bureau reported that, in 2000, companies engaged in men's and boys' outerwear manufacturing, shipped $1.39 billion worth of goods, spent $760 million on materials, and employed 16,555 workers. Firms that made outerwear for women and girls shipped $9.59 billion worth of goods, spent $5.68 billion on materials, and employed 57,114 workers.
A large percentage of production jobs in the waterproof apparel industry have left the United States in recent years. The industry employed only 1,400 U.S. workers in the late 1990s, a 30 percent drop since 1992 and a 60 percent drop since 1987. Employment was concentrated on the East Coast, particularly Maryland, Massachusetts, and New Jersey, which together accounted for about 50 percent of the category's jobs. More than half of the establishments in the industry had fewer than 20 employees; workers in this industry earned $39 million in wages.
The waterproof outerwear industry was dominated by Londontown Corp. (Eldersburg, Maryland), which produced the well-known London Fog line of outerwear. The company had 1,900 employees and sales of $350 million in the late 1990s. Other companies whose primary business was waterproof outerwear included Galleon (a New York, New York, firm previously known as Chief Apparel Inc.), with 160 employees and sales of $145 million; Whaling Manufacturing Company Inc. (Fall River, Massachusetts), with 500 employees and sales of $55 million; Forecaster of Boston Inc. (Boston, Massachusetts), with 600 employees and sales of $34 million; and Blauer Manufacturing Co. (Boston, Massachusetts), with 500 employees and sales of $32 million.
Gellers, Stan. "Short Raincoats Long on High-Tech Fabrics." Daily News Record, 5 March 1997.
Maxwell, Alison. "Pairing the Right Partners." WWD, 20 October 1999.
Pagoda, Dianne M., and Arthur Friedman. "Finally, Some Sunshine for Rainwear." WWD, 16 April 1996.
Palmieri, Jean E. "Abboud Signs Rainwear Licensee." Daily News Record, 14 September 1998.
United States Census Bureau. "Statistics for Industries and Industry Groups: 2000." Annual Survey of Manufacturers. February 2002. Available from http://www.census.gov .
U.S. Department of Commerce. Census Bureau. 1997 Economic Census. Washington, D.C.: GPO, 1999. Available from http://www.census.gov .