It is the intention that this paper provide a brief review of the current status of the global industry, including recent developments and key features, before conducting an in depth analysis of the international issues surrounding the apparel pipeline. The majority of this paper will be spent focusing upon the need for companies to use off-shore production and seek sources of labour outside the domestic market due to increasing consumer awareness of pricing, and the issues surrounding such.
The Global Industry
As the century’s progress new technologies, including easier transportation between countries has lead to market chains spanning international boundaries. Differences in labour costs and relative ease of transportation have tempted larger companies into spanning these boundaries in the hopes of gaining a competitive advantage over companies in the same market. With near homogeneity of production, created by a general fashion trend being supported by the populace, companies have turned to cheaper sources of labour and production, usually making use of other countries lower production costs, usually in the field of wages. To the advantage of the consumer, ‘globalisation of the fashion industry has allowed consumers to gain easier access to the in-vogue style at an increasingly inexpensive price (Azuma and Fernie (2004)), due mostly to their out sourcing for both raw materials and labour from more economically viable areas, though there are issues with such which are discussed below.
Facts and Figures
• The share of world production generated within the developed countries fell from 95% in 1953 to 80% in 1995, while the corresponding share produced in the developing countries rose from 5% to 20% (Jones (2002)).
• Hourly labour costs in apparel assembly in, for example, china stand at around 3% of the UK level (Jones (2002)).
The magnitude of the labour cost gap... between the high wage economies is so great that even taking...