David Birnbaum


David Birnbaum has spent his entire career working in the international garment industry.  From 1966 to 1998 he lived in Asia.  During this time worked-in, he managed and built garment factories in Asia and Latin America.


In 1986 Birnbaum set up Third Horizon Limited (THL), a garment industry consultancy providing services to five professional client groups:

Suppliers (garment factories and textile mills)Customers (garment importers and retailers) Trade groups (national garment industry trade organizations and lobbyists)National and/or regional governmentsInternational institutions e.g., World Bank, ITC (WTO, UNCTAD), Inter-American Development Bank


The following is a list with short descriptions of government-sponsored projects undertaken by THL from 2003: 


Government of India and AEPC, 2012-2013.

Phase I: Determine the underlying causes of the Indian garment export industry market share decline.  Benchmark study of the industries in Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Turkey, Vietnam based on interviews with 20 factories in each country together with detailed discussions with national industry organizationsPhase II:  Implementation Pending



Government of Dominican Republic, 2008

Team member:  Determine the underlying cause of the Dominican garment industry market share decline


Government of El Salvador, 2004-2005

Team member:  Analysis of impact of quota phase-out and strategies to overcome resulting loss of U.S. market share


Government of Mexico, 2003-2004  

Analysis of Mexican industry with particular reference to underlying causes of market-share loss and strategies to overcome these challenges


Government of Canada (Industry Canada Department), 2002-2003

Analysis of the Canadian garment export industry with specific reference to impact on the industry and particularly employment should duty-free access be granted to Least Developed Countries (LDC)


The following is a list with short description of projects sponsored by local and international institutions and undertaken by THL during the same period: 


Pyoe Pin (NGO):  Myanmar 2014-Present

Phase I:  Create a strategic development plan for the local garment export industry;Phase II:  Implementation

Database for existing industry  (Scheduled 15 May 2014)Enroll 5 major garment importers, 10 transnational factory groups, international institutions to collaborate (In process)




USAID (indirect) and ASEAN (Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam), 2009-2010

Detailed analysis of garment and textile industry in eight ASEAN countries with the goal of creating a comprehensive and integrated strategy to compete effectively against China.  The project brought in not only major textile and garment factories but also senior executives from leading retailers and brand importers located in the U.S. and the EU.


Inter-American Development Bank:  Dominican Republic (2009)

Detailed study of underlying causes of DR garment industry decline with particular reference to the relationship between the government and the garment export industry


ITC (WTO and UNCTAD): Vietnam (2004), Sri Lanka (2005), Mauritius (2007)

Strategy to increase garment industry exports from small and medium size enterprises (SMEs)


World Bank, 2003 

Benchmark study of garment export industries in the Middle East (Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco) 


 Birnbaum has also been retained by major garment retailers, brand importers, and garment suppliers located in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa to develop and implement strategies to overcome existing problems and to increase and increase market share


Birnbaum is also under retainer as an expert, in cases involving transfer pricing between the U.S. Government and major brand importers.


Birnbaum is the author of the following books that are used as standard texts universities and Institutes: 


Importing Garments: A guide for the Perplexed ¬ Revised and Updated: 

New York Fashiondex:  Due out Sept 2014

India Benchmark Study: Delhi Government of India, 2013

Crisis in the 21st Century Garment Industry and Breakthrough Unified Strategies, 

New York, Fashiondex, 2008. 

Source It:  Global Material Sourcing for the Clothing Industry,

International Trade Centre, Geneva, 2005.

Birnbaum’s Global Guide to Material Sourcing, New York, Fashiondex, 2005. 

Birnbaum’s Garment Imports: Annual Report 2003, New York, Fashiondex, 2003. 

Birnbaum’s Global Guide to Winning the Great Garment War, Hong Kong, 2000,

Sixth edition, New York, Fashiondex, 2010.    

Birnbaum’s Directory of Garment Factories and Agents: Hong Kong & South China, Hong Kong, 1995.

Importing Garments Through Hong Kong: A Guide for the Perplexed, Hong Kong, 1993.


Birnbaum also writes The Birnbaum Report, a monthly newsletter for international garment industry professionals.  The Report is the largest compendium of global garment trade data available.  He also maintains a blog at www.birnbaumgarment.com as well as www.thirdhorizon.org featuring articles relating to the global garment industry as well as other general topics.

Birnbaum also contributes articles bi-monthly to Just Style a U.K. based journal for garment industry professionals. Birnbaum lectures at leading universities throughout the world.  In 2009, he taught a graduate course entitled “Strategic Planning in the Global Garment Industry” at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in New York City.  He also conducts private seminars for major corporations, institutions and governments.


Academic and Professional Credentials:

Columbia College, Columbia University, BS, 1962


Birnbaum is a qualified patternmaker. Birnbaum currently lives in Bangkok, Thailand with his wife.  He has three children.




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