About FASH455




FASH455, which opens to the entire University of Delaware (UD) community, is a university breadth course in the social and behavioral sciences category and a College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) breadth course in Group C (Social and Behavioral Sciences).

FASH455 is a department core requirement for B.S. in Fashion Design and Product Innovation, and B.S. in Fashion Merchandising and Management. The course also fulfills the requirement for Minor in Fashion Management, Minor in Sustainable Apparel and Textile Innovation, and Minor in Global Studies.

The latest FASH455 course schedule can be found HERE. 

FASH455 focuses on international trade and supply chains in the 21st-century world economy, which is essential for EVERY college student. Specifically, in FASH455, students will learn about:

  • Globalization in the 21st century
  • Fashion apparel supply chain today
  • Fashion companies’ sourcing strategies
  • Sustainability issues related to apparel sourcing and trade
  • Critical trade policies affecting apparel sourcing and trade


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 play 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 remain among the world’s largest and most economically 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, clothing and accessories sales contributed nearly $300 billion to the U.S. economy in 2021. 

The textile and apparel industry, mainly through international trade and sourcing, plays a uniquely 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, and a good proportion of them are females living in poor rural areas. Notably, 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 a strong presence in the United States in the 21st century. However, the sector has been critically different from the past because of globalization and technological advancement. Across the supply chain, the U.S. textile and apparel industry directly employs more than 1.3 million people, ranging from textile mill workers, sourcing managers, compliance specialists, retail floor associates, merchandisers, buyers, and marketing professionals, to name a few. The World Trade Organization ranked the United States as the world’s fifth-largest textile exporter.  The U.S. textile and apparel exports in 2021 totaled $22.6 billion, destined for more than 50 countries worldwide. U.S. branded apparel also can be found in almost every corner of the world marketplace. 

Trade policy also shapes textile and apparel trade patterns and fashion companies’ sourcing practices. Because of its global presence and the complicated social, economic, and political factors associated with the sector, the textile and apparel industry actively involves in many critical trade policy debates today. This is the case no matter for responding to the U.S.-China tariff war, negotiating new free trade agreements, ensuring no forced labor in the supply chain, or leveraging trade as an economic development tool.

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