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The days of stack-them-high, sell-them-cheap "fast fashion" are coming to an end, casting a shadow over the South and Southeast Asian economies that, for decades, positioned themselves as hubs for the most basic elements of the garment supply chain. (Photo by Rie Ishii)
The Big Story

How the death of fast fashion is transforming Asia's garment industry

New technology and demanding consumers unravel a decadeslong race to the bottom

GWEN ROBINSON, Nikkei Asian Review editor-at-large, and MARRIAN ZHOU and ERWIDA MAULIA, Nikkei staff writers | Indonesia

BANGKOK/TOKYO/JAKARTA/LITTLE ROCK, U.S. -- In Tuntex's sprawling factory on the outskirts of Jakarta, self-guided vehicles trundle across the shop floor, carrying materials between auto-cutting stations -- which churn out jigsaw pieces of fabric -- and semi-automated sewing machines, where more than 1,000 workers oversee the construction of finished garments.

Tuntex, which supplies Adidas, Nike, Puma and other global clothing brands, has always had to be fast, turning around product lines quicker than its rivals to compete in the relentless cycles of the fast fashion market. Today, though, the pressure is growing on them to be ever quicker, ever more reactive.

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