In 2001 the South African clothing sector was reintegrated into the global economy and became exposed to the icy winds of globalisation. The fundamental changes from developments that had been playing out in global clothing markets and from which, as an import - substitution economy with high levels of protection, it had previously been shielded, were brought heavily to bear on the South African clothing industry. By all accounts, it did not adjust well to the new globalised environment. The once thriving industry withered under the combined impact of domestic and international factors . The negative impact of this transformation was manifest in a declining relative contribution to total manufacturing output, falling productivity levels, lack of capital investment, a large and significant contraction in sector employment and stagnant export performance, all of which occurred in the context of rapidly expanding domestic demand for clothing, which was increasingly fed by imports.