There are various systems used for industry research to classify business entities. Knowing these schemes can make some areas of research easier because some databases, many of the print sources, and the U.S. government (most notably the Census) use them in their indexing, charts, graphs, lists, and indexes. The most important of these in the United States are the North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS) and its companion the North American Product Classification System (NAPCS). If you are doing historical research knowing the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) used before the development of the NAICS will be helpful as well.
Internationally the International Standard Industrial Classifications of All Economic Activities (ISITC) External is maintained by the United Nations. Manufacturing and retail are treated as their own activities so both are necessary to understand the industry as a whole.
Relevant codes from these systems for the industry are included in the sections below, along with links to government data related the fashion industry are included when available.
You will also want to research the companies themselves. While we have a guide that goes into more detail there are a few quick things to mention. Look for articles but also look at their web sites for the corporate information in the about us or investor relations area, as well as look at press releases. For example:
Various fashion and clothing articles may appear in conjunction with Products & Services Codes in the North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS).
The North American Product Classification System (NAPCS) hierarchical structure consisting of sections, subsections, divisions, groups, subgroups, and trilateral products.
Trade data is another piece of the industry. Internationally the Harmonized System (HS) External and the Standard International Trade Classification (SITC) External are both necessary. Here are just a few that you will need to know but there are others.
There are a number of free to use data sources as well as fee-based subscription sources that can provide trade data. The subscription resources marked with a padlock are available to researchers on-site at the Library of Congress. If you are unable to visit the Library, you may be able to access these resources through your local public or academic library.