Global Commodity Chains and Fast Fashion: How the Apparel Industry Continues to Re-Invent Itself

This article examines changes in global commodity chains in the apparel industry, most notably how supply-driven innovations are linked with changing consumer behaviour. It begins with a discussion of apparel manufacturing as a quintessentially labour intensive, low capital sector that has a long history in advanced economies

Ian Malcolm Taplin

2014

Scholarcy highlights

  • This article examines changes in global commodity chains in the apparel industry, most notably how supply-driven innovations are linked with changing consumer behaviour. It begins with a discussion of apparel manufacturing as a quintessentially labour intensive, low capital sector that has a long history in advanced economies
  • Increased liberalized trade regimes have reduced quotas on apparel exports and imports, encouraging emerging economies to embrace this industry as part of their export-led growth strategies
  • Much of apparel manufacturing has shifted to these emerging economies
  • Innovations associated with fast fashion are discussed, how some retailers have combined supply chain rationalization with fashionable product offerings that meet volatile consumer preferences
  • The article uses examples of two major retailers, Zara and H&M, to illustrate how strategic differences within the fast fashion model reflect variations in global commodity chain restructuring

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