Winnipeg is the third-largest garment production center in Canada. The sector, driven by the strong use of advanced design and manufacturing technology, employs an estimated 5,000 workers at over 100 firms.
The major strengths of the local industry are its flexibility and its ability to produce high-quality value-added products for niche markets. Several factories are among the most technologically advanced on the continent. The industry is export-oriented and currently exports to many areas of the world including the US, Japan, Mexico, and the UK.
Winnipeg companies produce garments with famous labels like L.L. Bean, Mobuis, Sun Ice, and OshKosh; Kelsey Trail and Tough Duck outerwear/workwear, The Gap, Denver Hayes, and Silver Jeans denim wear.
Winnipeg’s Nygård International is Canada’s premier women’s wear manufacturer and one of the five largest such manufacturers in North America. In addition to its manufacturing operations, Nygård International owns and operates over 200 retail stores in Canada and the United States, and has more than 1,000 independent boutique customers. The Company owns the design, production, and distribution facilities in Los Angeles, research and design studios in New York, Montreal, Europe, and Hong Kong, and a joint-venture manufacturing operation in Asia and Mexico.
Peerless Garments Ltd., located in Winnipeg since 1941, is one of Canada’s largest domestic leather and cold weather outerwear manufacturers.
Areas of expertise in the Winnipeg apparel sector include:
- military garments and gear
- cresting and commercial embroidery
- activewear and knitwear
- gloves, hats, and caps
- industrial and institutional apparel
- canvas sewn products
- leather and fur fashions
- casual wear and denim products
Major apparel companies located in Winnipeg:
- Gemini Fashions of Canada Ltd. – www.gemini-fashions.com
- Prosperity Knitwear Limited – www.prosperityknitwear.com
- Nygard International – www.nygard.com
- MWG Apparel Corp. – www.mwgapparel.com
- Peerless Garments Ltd. – www.peerless.mb.ca
- Western Glove Works – www.silverjeans.com
Winnipeg’s competitive strengths:
- State-of-the-art production technology – The industry’s flexible capabilities and its ability to produce high-quality, high-value-added products for specific niche markets. Most factories have adopted the latest equipment, technology, and engineering systems. Several factories in Winnipeg are considered the most technologically advanced on the continent.
- Workforce training – Instructional courses in pattern making, production, sewing, cutting, computerized pattern grading, and marker making are offered by industry associations and educational institutions, and universities.
- Good labor-management relations – Approximately 60% of Manitoba’s garment industry is unionized. Labor-management relations within the industry have been excellent. Within the garment industry specifically, there have been virtually no work stoppages.