Changing garment industry and heavy duty garment rails

High street fashion brands, such as Next, Joules and Crew Clothing, are changing their approach to business and as such may rely on heavy duty garment rails to keep their garments organised and protected.

The history of the garment rail

Before garment rails, clothes were stored in chests. In the 12th century, as the rich and elite people of Britain acquired more robes and gowns, they needed a more efficient way of storing clothes. The garment rail is the obvious solution. The first rail was thought to have been used for royal robes, preventing them from being creased.

In the 17th century, the oak wardrobe was created with a wooden hanging rail inside for clothes. In the 19th century, wardrobes were extravagantly decorated with fine wood such as mahogany and satinwood. These were status symbols that showed off the wealth of their owners as well as holding their clothes.

Modern day versatile rails

The garment rail remains an essential piece of equipment in warehouses and stores to display clothes, but manufacturers have modified their rail designs in response to how customer’s tastes have changed.

Heavy duty garment rails are used a lot and need to be strong. Oak, as used in the 17th century, is not strong enough for such heavy use. Heavy duty garment rails are made from strong but lightweight tubular steel that is welded together to be durable and last a long time. Rails that need to be moved full of clothes have swivel casters that move easily and can be steered without effort.

Though young people tend to wear less formal clothes, they still get married and go to prom nights wearing long full dresses. Special rails for these garments come with shoulder sections that prevent the dresses from touching objects when in transit.

Many fashion retailers have fluctuating demand with more sales done during the Christmas period. The stock levels of the warehouse vary. Some companies use easy to store garment rails that can be stacked together when not in use. Collapsible garment rails can be dismantled when not needed. They are also ideal for transporting in a car to exhibitions and pop up shops.

Clothes rails can be bent to form spit levels to mix long and short garments. Some garment rails have two rails to maximise the storage of small and larger clothes.

Most garment rails are self-supporting, but warehouses sometime have rails mounted on walls.

Garment rail manufacturers produce bespoke rails in custom sizes or modified for a particular use.

The colour of the heavy duty garment rails is not important for many warehouses, but increasingly companies are looking at their staff welfare and providing facilities to increase wellbeing. Colours in the workplace are believed to affect the mood of workers. Garment rail manufacturers produce garment rails in a wide number of colours to match the décor of warehouses and shops.

The effect on the environment

There have been many stories in the news about the environmental impact of the fashion industry. Some overseas clothes factories have been accused of polluting the rivers and the air. Cotton production uses a huge volume of water and not all old clothes are disposed of in the best way.

The garment industry is aware of these criticisms and many manufacturers and designers are looking at ways to make fashion more environmentally friendly.

The steel industry that supplies the tubular steel for the heavy duty garment rails is also improving its environmental impact. Some steel plants are capturing exhaust gases and converting them to thermal energy to heat local homes. Steel is 100% recyclable at the end of its life. Steel manufacturers add recycled steel to new steel production.

Steel production can produce dust that goes into the atmosphere but steel producers install cleaning equipment that removes all dust. Steel uses a lot of water for cooling purposes but this water can be re-used.

Clothing companies prefer tubular steel heavy duty garment rails because they are strong and lightweight. Many garment manufacturers are improving their environmental policies but have some way to go before they are completely environmentally friendly. This is also the case with garment rail manufacturers who are trying to minimise their impact on the planet.

The future of heavy duty garment rails

The best heavy duty garment rails are made from steel. There are a few alternatives to steel, such as FRP composites. Manufacturers of these steel alternatives are lobbying for industry to adopt them, but their promotional efforts are mainly targeted at the construction industry. There are concerns about the fire risk of these composites which, unlike steel, maybe combustible.

Wardrobes for home use often have wooden rails and you can still buy wooden garment rails, but these are not suitable for the heavy use that rails are subject to in a retail or warehouse location.

Heavy duty garment rail manufacturers will continue to use tubular steel unless a viable alternative is developed.

Garment rails are available in a range of models for short to long clothes. Manufacturers may modify their designs for particular users, but the basic concept of a rail or rails on upright steel lengths and supported by a stand and sometimes with wheels should remain the basic design of most garment rails.

The garment industry is facing many challenges especially in their high street shops which is why many retailers have expanded their online operations. This has led to an increased demand for warehouse space and the heavy duty garment rails to go in them. Online buyers return more garments than shop purchasers so retailers have had to expand their return processing areas.

Some consumers are turning away from buying cheap throwaway clothes and preferring to purchase fewer garments but those that they do buy are better quality and longer lasting.

The garment industry is adapting to changing shopping habits, and garment rail suppliers are working with them to make storage spaces flexible so that they are able to deal with any changes to their business models.

Posted by Mark
23rd August 2019
Retail & Warehousing

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