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The Globalization of Clothing, Shoes and Textiles

Exploring the changes globalization has caused in the sales, employment and working conditions of the Clothing, shoes, textile and footwear industries.

Danielle Skaler

on 27 January 2011

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Transcript of The Globalization of Clothing, Shoes and Textiles

Employment "Much of the production capacity and jobs have shifted to the developing world. In the 20 years from 1970 to 1990, the number of TCF workers increased 597 percent in Malaysia; 416 percent in the Philippines; and 137 percent in Korea" (ILO). During the same 20 year period, employment in the developed world decreased sharply. The number of TCF workers has decreased by 58 percent in Germany; United Kingdom- 55 percent; France- 49 percent; and the United States - 31 percent. The US still employs 1.6 million workers, down from 2.5 million in 1980" (ILO).
In 1992 the average hourly labor costs (wages and social changes) in the textile, apparel and leather industries were: Germany- $18.40; Italy- $15.70; France- $13.40; Japan- $10.30; Canada- $10.50; US- $10.00; Spain- $9.70... This compares with Mexico- $1.70; Hong Kong- $3.70; Korea- $3.80; Taiwan, China - $4.20.
As of 2005 the US had roughly 250,000 workers in the TC industry, where as China had almost 20 million, Bangladesh- 2 million, Pakistan - 2 million. History The poor working conditions of garment workers is often attributed to globalization.
Textiles and clothing was until recently the only major manufacturing sector that did not come under the rules of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (Gatt). Instead it was subject to extensive use of quotas by the major importing countries. The quota system started with the Long-Term Arrangement Regarding International Trade in Cotton Textiles and Substitutes (LTA) under the auspices of the GATT in 1962. The LTA was extended to materials other than cotton in 1974, and became known as the Multifibre Arrangement(MFA).
the MFA was introduced in 1974 and clothing and textile industries were covered under their quota law until 2005.
It was predicted that many developing countries such as Bangladesh would suffer as a result to the TC industry not being covered by the MFA, however, they actually prospered more.

Forever 21
9.80 American Apparel
74.00 "imported" Made In America What can be done to help? A company's role... enterprises in the TC sector have developed a variety of initiatives addressing the social dimension of their industry. Many have corporate codes of conduct concerning labor rights
for expample, H&M established a training center in Bangladesh which trains young people in sewing, thus helping to upgrade their skills while improving productivity.
in 2005, Nike published its corporate responsibility report for 2004 and posted a complete list of suppliers on its website. A government's role... economic support aimed at improving the sustainability of the TC industry.
create socially responsive restructuring policies.
assistance in providing appropriate opportunities for training and retraining in the TC industry.
measures aimed at improving the employability and facilitating the reemployment of displaced workers.
provide incentives for compliance with international labor standards.
intergovermental cooperation between exporting and importing countries in associated issues of the TC industry. As a consumer... as a consumer, try to give business to companies that promote fair trade and fair labor.
there are many companies now that make fair trade clothing and even clothing made with organic fabrics widely available and at a fair price.
buy locally! look at the tags of the clothing you are about to purchase. For example, if it was made in America than the clothing in question was definitly made under fair labor laws. However, if it was made in Mexico, Vietnam or another developing country you cannot be guaranteed that it was made under fair labor laws.
be an educated consumer when possible! working conditions in the garment industry Workers often are paid by the number of pieces they are able to produce, therefore a person's pay depends on how fast he or she (most commonly she) is able to work.
workers often experience periodic forced layoffs and shortened work weeks in times of low demand.
"despite the low pay, the work is hard repetitive work such as piece work, creates serious health hazards. Repetitve strain injury and carpal tunnel syndrome are common experiences among workers, as well as chronic back and neck problems"(UNPAC)
one worker, "Samantha" spent two years working as a pattern designer in a Winnipeg garment factory. As a pattern designer her pay was reasonable. But Samantha says her back will probably never recuperate and walking near the factory where she used to work she feels the stress of the demands made on both her body and her mind. Free trade agreements that have developed as a result of economic globalizaton have meant increased stress for all those who work in this industry. The Negative effect of Free Trade on the Garment Industry in developed countries Free trade contributes to the loss of jobs in Manitoba by encouraging clothing manufacturers to move their operations to places with lower working standards like China, Bangladesh and Honduras.
One jeans factory in Winnipeg only produces jeans that take less than 15 minutes to sew. Anything requiring more time is shipped overseas where labor costs are cheaper.
Workers report that since the trade agreements, demands on quality have increased dramatically. Retailers now can freely enter the factories to check on quality and can push out workers whose work does not meet the quality standard.
Workers in developed countires have to compete with worker in countries with lower working standards.
Although the quality of work has gone up, the workers wages remain the same.
Since signing the trade agreement, Manitoba reports a loss of over 2,500 garment workers (UNPAC). THE GLOBALIZATION OF CLOTHING by Ruby Duell and Dani Skalet The positive effect of GLobalization Because the population of the US is over 300,000,000 it would be impossible for the 200,000 garment workers to produce enough clothes for our country.
Globalization has allowed consumers to have accessability to whatever kind of clothes they could possibly want.
American companies are able to import their clothing at a relatively low cost while still maintaining a degree of quality they desire and make profit.
Globalization has also allowed Americans to be able to purchase clothing close to their homes and even online shopping.

Developing countries are able to make profit on their exports.
Provides jobs.
developed countries developing Gucci 995.00 "imported" Designer Fashion What are we really getting for the prices we pay? Designer fashion accounts for only a small portion of $191 billion dollar clothing industry; however, the runway fashions each year inspire new looks for other corporations and retailers. This entices consumers back to the mass market season after season, which in turn, fuels a vast sector of the economy.
High End clothing is often thought to be better quality, longer lasting, and thus made under better conditions.
Several investigation groups have found many of these transnational corporations of designer merchandise actually do not adhere to international labor codes and laws.
Globalization can also affect these clothing lines negatively. For example, with the recent recession, many high end designers have seen a loss in their overall sales, often by hundreds of millions of dollars. Designers are pushed to lower prices, cut production, repeat styles they knew had been successful in the past, and even move production to China and Asia, rather than Italy where most high end fashion is produced. This results in a loss of workmanship, which is the sole reason some people buy designer merchandise.
Corporation Spotlight: Gucci Gucci has been named "the most desirable luxury brand in the world".
Gucci has stores on 6 of the 7 continents, Africa, Asia, North America, South America, Europe, and the Middle East as well. They then have stores in over 50 countries, and over 170 stores. A majority of these stores are found in Asia, particularly China, as well as in Italy and the United States and destination vacation spots.
Gucci claims to have a philanthropic and humanist mission statement, stating that they offer an "exclusive Italian heritage and long-lasting values, emphasized and in conjunction with its high fashion and aspirational style".
"Gucci is actually owned by PPR, a French multinational corporation that produces its goods around the world where workers' rights are routinely violated."
Since 2002, the CCC(Clean Clothes Campaign) has investigated and received reports of several violations.
Violations included: violations of the minimum wage laws (Phillipines, India, Romania); failure to comply with laws regarding social security payments (Phillipines); verbal and sexual harassment (India); illegal deductions from wages (Thailand); seven day work weeks (Pakistan, Indonesia); violations of legal age of employment (Pakistan); unpaid overtime (Romania); unhealthy working conditions (Indonesia, Pakistan); and 14 hour work days (Indonesia).
What did PPR do about these findings?-- Cut contracts with certain facilities and moved production to other places. The CCC is unhappy with this is at does nothing but creates job loss, and ignores the real problem at hand: unfair working conditions.
Fair Trade and Made in America Companies American Apparel
fair indigo.com
marigold fair trade.com
esperanza threads
justice clothing company
no sweat apparel
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