About FASH455

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Study of economic, social and political dimensions of the textile & apparel sector in a global economy; implications for production, distribution and consumption of textile & apparel products in major world markets.


•FASH455 reading packet


Textiles and Apparel in the Global Economy(3rd ed) by Kitty Dickerson, Prentice-Hall (1999);

The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy (2nd ed–released in December 2014) by P. Rivoli, Wiley;

Global Sourcing in the Textile and Apparel Industry (2nd ed) by Dr. Ha-Brookshire

Sewing Success? Employment, Wages, and Poverty following the End of the Multi-Fibre Arrangement (2012) by Gladys Lopez-Acevedo and Raymond Robertson;    

Going Global: The Textile and Apparel Industry (3rd ed) by Grace Kunz and Elena Karpova


Upon completion of the course, the student will be able:

  1.  To comprehend the worldwide importance of the textile and apparel industry (including production, distribution, consumption, and trade) from economic, political and social dimensions;
  2.  To understand the composition, restructuring, major development trends and competitive status of the U.S. textile and apparel sectors and to consider the domestic complex within the context of a global economy;
  3. To understand the textile complex in major regions of the world, including their stages of development, functions in the global apparel value chain and key market conditions;
  4. To analyze the unique trade policies for textiles and apparel and understand how they affect various segments of the industry (including manufacturers, retailers and consumers) at multiple levels (including multilateral, regional and bilateral);
  5. To increase awareness of major cutting edge issues facing the world today and comprehend their potentials impacts on the future landscape of the textile and apparel sector;


The textile and apparel industry is a thick textbook study far beyond fiber, yarn, fabric and clothing.  It is THE industry that triggered the first Industrial Revolution, among those sectors that embraced globalization early and still plays a critical role in the global economy with cross-cutting economic, social and political influences in the 21st century.   Some key facts about this sector today:

  • Textiles and apparel remains one of the world’s largest and economically most influential industries in the 21st century. Globally, the market value of textiles, apparel and apparel retailing totaled $2,000 billion annually. In the United States, sales of apparel and accessories contributed $255 billion to the U.S. economy in 2015.
  • The textile and apparel industry plays a unique critical role in creating jobs, promoting economic development, enhancing human development and reducing poverty. Globally, over 120 Million people remain directly employed in the textile and apparel industries today, a good proportion of whom are females living in poor rural areas. Particularly, for most developing countries, the textile and apparel sector accounts for 60%–90% of their total merchandise exports and provides one of the very few opportunities for these countries to participate in globalization.
  • The textile and apparel industry remains strong presence in the United States in the 21st century, although the industry has been critically different from the past because of globalization and advancement of technologies. Across the supply chain, the U.S. textile and apparel industry directly employs more than 4 million people, who undertake positions ranging from textile mill workers, warehousing, sourcing managers, wholesalers, retail floor associates, merchandisers, buyers, technical designers, and marketing professionals, just to name a few. According to the World Trade Organization, the United States is still the fourth largest textile exporter in the world.  The U.S. textile and apparel exports in 2015 totaled nearly $23.7 billion dollars which destined more than 50 countries around the world. U.S. branded apparel also can be found in almost every corner of the world marketplace.
  • The textile and apparel industry might be the only sector other than agriculture that is so heavily regulated by trade policies. Because of its global presence and the complicated social, economic and political factors associated with the sector, textile and apparel industry actively involves in almost all critical bilateral, regional and multilateral trade policy debates nowadays. This is the case no matter for the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), enforcing stricter labor & environmental standards, launching initiatives to open new overseas markets, renewing the, African Growth and Opportunity Act(AGOA), trade adjustment assistance (TAA) and the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) or restricting imports in the protection of domestic textile manufacturing sector.  

2 thoughts on “About FASH455”

  1. Dr. Lu, a pleasure reading of you and your course. I have been in the apparel industry for more than 30 years, Latin America is my territory. Having worked as an IE in sewing plants, having sold specialized sewing machines (and 3D scanners) and for the last 15 years as a consultant/conference speaker (mostly with TC2) I appreciate your focus. Maybe we can collaborate?

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