New Zealand imported 10.6 million cotton T-shirts from Bangladesh last year, with an average value of $2.95 each, so it comes as no surprise the South Asian country is a major provider for local brands.
Following the "Made in NZ" scandal surrounding Kiwi clothing brand World, and later Zambesi, the Herald looked into where other major brands and retailers source most of their products.
Not every brand replied to queries and others declined to comment, but the findings did pose the question: can a brand market itself as "New Zealand made" or as a "local company" if the majority of its workforce is overseas manufacturing its products?
Here's where clothing from some of your favourite brands is made.
Outdoor clothing firm Macpac moved its manufacturing from Christchurch to China, Vietnam and the Philippines in 2003.
Macpac marketing manager Nadia Scott said it made the "difficult" decision to move production overseas when global demand for its products began to outstrip what it could supply with a New Zealand labour force.
"It was an extremely difficult decision, and one that wasn't made lightly," Scott said. "We took the time to research our options and assess the alternatives, and we found manufacturing partners who are highly skilled... They can produce volumes we are unable to match in New Zealand with the limited availability of skilled machinists."
Scott said it was justified for a company to promote itself as a New Zealand firm if its intellectual property and company values remained in the country.
"Most manufacturing companies work with or own factories around the world, often with plants in multiple countries, however, the company identifies with the market where its products are designed, and where its senior management is based, driving the company's strategy and direction," she said.
"Nike and Apple are great examples – both manufacture products throughout Asia but are proudly American companies."
Mid-market department store Farmers declined to comment or provide any information on where the clothing it sells is made.
Fashion designer Dame Trelise Cooper said her fashion brand had been manufacturing its garments in New Zealand for 35 years.
"Currently, Trelise Cooper makes most samples and small volume runs in New Zealand. We employ multiple contractors throughout the Auckland region," Cooper said. "We also employ 120 staff in New Zealand, many of whom make our garments in-house, pattern making, cutting, machining and hand finishing."
In terms of dollar value, Cooper said 54 per cent of its clothing was manufactured in China, 32 per cent in New Zealand, 11 per cent in India, 3 per cent in South Korea and 0.01 per cent in Bangladesh.
"We have visited factories in India, China, South Korea," Cooper said.
"From the very beginning [we have] made factory visits on a regular basis, and it is not uncommon for [us] to share the factory-provided staff lunch, prayer meetings, and meditation."
Icebreaker was not able to answer the Herald's questions and instead pointed to its transparency report. According to the report, most of its clothing factories are located in China but it also has some in Bangladesh, Vietnam, America and Italy.
Moochi clothing is mostly made in New Zealand but it also has manufacturing partners in China, India and Mongolia.
"Like other New Zealand brands we love that we design and create so many garments here. We are proud that this creates jobs and economic gain for our country," Moochi owner and creative director Kellie Taylor said. "Every time we make a design we consider where it will be made and keep the significant majority here."
Moochi began in Tauranga in 2000 and for its first five years in business its products were made in New Zealand.
"About 5 years in, we realised we could not create some items we designed or wanted to design due to lacking industry infrastructure and human resource," Taylor said.
"The reasons to go offshore are not what people first think when you are a smaller New Zealand fashion business. People often say, 'it must be so much cheaper' or it means less staff to employ - the reality is usually neither.
"To get the quality Moochi seeks for its products, manufacturing offshore is often no cheaper than making in New Zealand. Yes, we could get cheaper product from offshore however like anything the quality is reflected in the price."
Hallenstein Glasson Holdings, the NZX-listed company which owns and operates retail stores Hallenstein Brothers and Glassons, did not respond to the Herald's request for information on where the clothing it designs and sells is made.
Boutique fashion brand Ricochet said its garments were made in Auckland by its design and production team, with the exception of its knitwear which is produced in China.
A Ricochet spokeswoman said the company bought production back to New Zealand in 2009 when it purchased the company from previous owners.
"Under previous ownership, production was based offshore, but when we took over the brand in 2009 we brought production back to New Zealand," she said. "Since then, we have manufactured everything in New Zealand with the sole exception of our knitwear."
Cotton On, Supré, Factorie
Australian fashion company Cotton On said the clothing its sells is made in Bangladesh and China, and had been so since its inception.
Clothing sold at its other retail brands Cotton On Kids, Cotton on Body, Supré and Factorie is also made in Bangladesh and China.
Designer Karen Walker said her clothing label's garments were produced in China and New Zealand. It has six "ready to wear" suppliers in China, located in Shanghai, Suzhou, Wuxi and the Zhejiang province and one in Auckland.
"Our suppliers are boutique-sized and have between one and 94 employees each. They're well-suited to deliver our premium product and small runs," Walker said.
"We also produce some styles in our own workroom in Grey Lynn."
Walker said brands who produced locally and used the "Made in New Zealand" tags thought their systems were ethical but many did not know where their fabrics and add-ons came from.
"Over the past two years, we have traced all 11 fabric mills that supply fabric to us and we will continue to only work with fabric mills that are traceable," she said.
Walker said its fabrics were produced in China, Italy, France, New Zealand, Japan and Korea and its suppliers were prohibited from sourcing fabric from stock markets.
Men's clothing store Barkers manufactures the majority of its products in China, with the exception of "a very small number" of leather products and accessories made locally.
A company spokesperson said the retail brand had not manufactured in New Zealand for over 20 years because there was "no large-scale manufacturing base for the majority of products we make".
The clothing sold at Juliette Hogan is made in New Zealand and China.
A spokeswoman for the brand said 90 per cent of its clothing was made locally and 10 per cent overseas. Its eyewear is made in Japan, luggage in Indonesia and its cashmere, denim and slides in China.
"We made the move to take our denim offshore because to the best of our knowledge there isn't the specialised machinery in New Zealand that can produce a true pair of jeans," the spokeswoman said.
"The decision to produce offshore [was] so that we were able to offer garments at a cost that is not prohibitive to our customer."
The Warehouse said its clothing was made in Bangladesh and China, and had been for more than 26 years since the retailer began stocking apparel.
Zambesi said most of its clothing was made in its small Auckland workroom. Its current collection was 100 per cent made in New Zealand, co-founder Elisabeth Findlay said, and 2 per cent of it collection last season was manufactured jointly in India and China.
"Last summer 2017/18, the percentage handcrafted offshore in India, beaded garments, and China, embroidered caps and canvas bags, was 2 per cent of the season's production," she said. "The current Zambesi winter collection now in store is 100 per cent all made in New Zealand."
Findlay said Zambesi was proud to be New Zealand-made but had to get some fabrics with heavy beading or embellishment overseas as that work was too labour intensive for its small workroom.
Designer Annah Stretton said between 70 and 80 per cent of its clothing was made in China. The company took manufacturing to China in 2007.
"We were completely New Zealand made until 2007," Stretton said.
"After this, we started producing items offshore given a wider range of fabric and trims choices, and the demise of these suppliers in New Zealand.
"Make prices in China are very similar to what we were getting in New Zealand, in fact [they are] sometimes higher given the volatility of the US dollar, so this wasn't a cost thing for us, it was an availability challenge that we had to solve."
Handbag company Deadly Ponies, which employs 42 local workers, said its accessories were designed in its Auckland workroom and around 60 per cent of its products were manufactured in New Zealand, "dependant on the season", and the rest in France, India, China and Italy.
Deadly Ponies managing director Steven Boyd said the products manufactured overseas depended on what machinery and skills were needed to make them.
"There are certain machines we do not have here and also production volume restrictions due to us not being able to find enough skilled workers in New Zealand," Boyd said.
He said the brand sourced its leather from New Zealand where possible.
"Unfortunately, it is not possible to source lamb skin from New Zealand as there is no one in New Zealand that tans these skins. Our deer, lamb skins and also New Zealand cow skins are sent to our New Zealand workroom to be made into bags.
"With specialised leather like ostrich, we source this from South Africa and Iceland and also bring this back to Auckland for manufacturing."
Boyd said he believed it was fair for companies to promote themselves as local if its products were manufactured overseas.
"In the same way as Prada, Milano, Kate Spade, New York and Celine, Paris, we use Deadly Ponies, New Zealand to show our pride in being New Zealanders and taking our product to the world."