A Global View in Mind Means More Job and Career Oppertunities in the Fashion Apparel Industry

(Note: the functions & jobs below the U.S. flag mean they are based in the United States;  Remember, apparel are “made in the world”–just like iphone and ipad. Even imports contain U.S. added value.)


Source: Moongate Association (2012). Analyzing the Value Chain for Apparel Designed in the United States and Manufactured Overseas

Author: Sheng Lu

Professor @ University of Delaware

24 thoughts on “A Global View in Mind Means More Job and Career Oppertunities in the Fashion Apparel Industry”

  1. It is really interesting to see this now. A few weeks ago I was searching for jobs when I graduated, and one specifically with Li & Fung which is a supply chain company. Then I realized all the jobs were in Hong Kong and other parts of Asia. I was also searching for some other jobs and many were overseas, even with American companies. Because so much production is done overseas, in turn there are so many production related jobs there. Though I am currently not interested in a job overseas because of factors holding me here in the United States, it is great and interesting to know that one day if I choose to go overseas it will not be difficult finding a job doing what I want to do and working with the US textile and apparel industry.

  2. It’s interesting that this picture shows all these jobs here in the U.S., yet we all talk about how there aren’t any jobs available. It really is a contradiction because there are so many opportunities for jobs, but there is always something in the way. Half of the time it’s machines that are doing the job instead of people, and the other half of the time the jobs are being sourced overseas. I feel like there is something missing from this chart or something it’s not telling us because it definitely does not explain the current job situation in the U.S.

  3. After reading this post and picture i thought that it was extremely interesting to see. There is a lot of different fields that TM/TMD students can get involved with when looking for a career path. It was interesting to me because it is extremely difficult to find jobs at this time and there is a wide range of jobs being listed. This list can help others realize that they can find jobs in other areas of textiles that are not known about as much. In class we learn about how a lot textile are being produced over seas and this opened my eyes to certain jobs as well as the travels of a t-shirt book did.

  4. This image makes me think of all the possibilities for all of us TMD students have in the fashion industry. It makes me wonder the kind of jobs everyone will have ten years after graduation and on. There is no particular job that a student with a textile major can do because there are so many options out there. I always like to ask people who are in the major what they plan to do after college. It can go from designing your own collection, work in a showroom, write for a fashion magazine, work in transportation and logistics, become a buyer, or open a boutique.

  5. The way this is set up is such a creative way to think about the jobs that are available out there. The possibilities we have with our degree are so diverse and broad. I am glad I chose this profession and hope to work in the “transaction” sector. I think the “creative” sector is also something I have interest in.

  6. I liked this post because I am a senior graduating and looking for job opportunities. It is nice to see that there are so many different ways to go in this industry. There are a lot of options. Since it is a difficult time to get jobs, I’m glad to see that TMD/TM majors will have a broad range of jobs to apply to. As others have already said, it will be fun and interesting years later to see where a lot of us end up working and where we will fall under this chart.

    1. yes, sometimes I just feel our students do not realize the existence of many oppertunities around them. i hope after taking TMD 433, you will have a full picture of the apparel industry in mind.

  7. I am really surprised by the global value chain diagram for the T&A industry. I agree with one of my classmate’s comment on how the U.S.’s T&A industry keep on saying they are losing their jobs to China and other foreign countries that offers low-wage labor. However, like Sheng said, as a country moves away from labor intensive jobs, a whole new set of jobs are created such as logistics. As we move away labor intensive jobs, we are going after jobs that requires capital such as fabric/material development, creating new products with capital and etc. After taking this course, I started to see why TMD is a very flexible major. We learned about textile science which allows us to work with material development. Textile market expands our horizon about the T&A industry , TMD 332 are involved with the buying/ selling step of the value chain. With the knowledge we acquired from our major, we could pretty much work in many aspects of the value chain. As a graduating senior, I am hoping one day I will end up working overseas so I could utilize the skills and knowledge I’ve gained from my major along with my language skill.

  8. This post can make TM and TMD students feel a little less anxious about graduation. Many people, including myself forget how many different jobs are in our field. Many think it’s just designing, making clothing and retail. So looking at the different jobs gives people an open mind about getting out into the work force.
    Although many of these jobs may not be done in the U.S. is also another issue. This chart should specify the jobs that can be done domestically and which jobs have not been outsourced.

    1. It graph was created based on a recent study. Those functions & jobs below the U.S. flag means those jobs are based in the U.S.. I hope our students can think big so that they can realize those oppertunities available to them.

  9. Many people ask me “you are doing fashion right what kind of job are out”. I wish I could take this picture around and show it to people when they ask the question. I know there are jobs out there for TMD/TM graduates. There may not be many in Rhode Island but there are a lot out of Rhode Island. For me searching for a job had been very depressing. Because I my focus on mainly on the design aspect, there aren’t many job offer in RI. This image informed of alternative to start with and work my way up. What have learned my four years of college and so being a TMD job is, you have to make it possible for yourself and you can’t sit around and wait for opportunities and you have to be hungry for success. Also you have to love what you are study because that’s what you are going to be doing for the rest of your life.

  10. This value chain put so clearly is extremely helpful. It puts together every aspect of this industry and gives a great overview. It is a helpful reminder of all I have learned since freshman year and a reminder of how much more there is to still learn. This is something I would love to show to everyone confused on what my major in Textile Marketing actually consists of. Not many people are aware of the entire, time consuming process involved in putting garments on shelves.

    1. I am glad you find the chart inspiring! Yes, it is a very complicated process to bring a clothinig from an idea eventually to the sales floor. The whole process creates abundant oppertunities for our TM students.

  11. I think this value chain would be extremely interesting for people that are not familiar with the textile and apparel industry. I try to tell my parents that there are so many more jobs then just retail. Many people do not understand how much actually goes into making products. This value chain shows how many jobs are available and the diverse variety.
    I also think that it is very interesting that all the steps are based in the U.S. Even though the textile and apparel industry is worldwide the United States is still a main contender.

  12. It’s amazing to see the breadth of labor required in order to produce the final product. It’s great to see that we students in TMD have so many job opportunities available to us, at every step of the way in production! This chart is indeed very helpful, as mkdame pointed out, as it helps to lay out just how very involved the entire process is, as well as to provide a helpful guideline for what we have learned in this course.

  13. This information confuses me because it shows all of these jobs being here in the US but it is so hard to find one. As I am graduating that I’m beginning to see that networking and internships are very important in finding jobs here in this country. Overseas many of the jobs offerings are in developed countries because they are not lucky enough for the opportunity given for education therefore they’re hourly wage rate is lower, giving US companies more incentives to source their manufacturing jobs overseas.

  14. This was the perfect image for the last blog post for a class full of senior TM and TMD students. It provides us with a positive outlook on our future career paths. Our major is so broad it is hard to focus on one position to apply for. The image not only shows us the different jobs we can apply for but it also motivates us that there are still jobs in the US for us.

  15. This blog definitely will help TMD/TM students feel better about their future. I don’t think graduating students understand how many different opportunities there are out there. Students in this industry always believe it is so hard to get a job, and I am not saying it is a breeze especially in this economy. This big picture helps motivate me as well as other students (as shown in above comments) that with a fashion degree we are lucky to have many different jobs available to us. It is also helpful that it is an option for us TMD/TM students to get a job abroad. Being lenient to relocate will be a great opportunity as well as a great experience that you can write on your resume for your next job hopefully in the climb to keep making your way to the top.

    1. agree! In my opinion, besides learning the technical knowledge, the thing even more important for our students is to become a responsible and professional global citizen. Thinking about those critical issues associated with our textile and apparel industry: corporate social responsibility, poverty reduction, improving people’s living hood and economic development. A lot of things are waiting for you guys to do and make a positive change on the world!!

  16. Seeing this chart is like a breath of fresh air in the job search. I think we all come into school with this idea set in our mind of finding one job that we’re going to do for the rest of our lives and then as we get closer and closer to graduation we realize that maybe that isn’t the job for us, or maybe that job isn’t available right after leaving for college. But then seeing something like this it kind of gives me hope that there are so many options out there, especially in this field. What people don’t realize is that being a TMD student doesn’t mean you have to be a fashion designer, there are all different aspects of the textile and apparel sector that offer job opportunities for TMD students. Sometimes we just have to think outside of the box or the image in our mind of what we’re going to do when we graduate.

  17. More than anything, I think this image should act as a source of hope for TM and TMD students. A lot of public focus on the textile and apparel industry is cynical because jobs based in production are dwindling if not completely gone from the US economy. However, as this image shows and as we’ve learned through TMD courses, textile jobs do not begin and end in the field of production. Opportunities in branding, inspiration, creation, importation, and distribution are not only present in the US, but they’re thriving. In an industry that is so based on the latest and greatest styles/innovations, students would be well advised to keep an open mind and never cling to methods of business from the past. It can also give students hope because it shows that the industry is global. A lack of opportunity in certain areas here only means that it is present somewhere else. It’s an industry that will never be obsolete, but it is one that constantly changes.

  18. This image provides a lot of new ideas for TM students like me, I think my imagination was so limited that I thought I wouldn’t be able to use my major. Especially now with globalization, governments are calling on all kinds of talent, with the U.S. being the largest job market.

  19. After analyzing this blog post in particular, I have been made more aware of the jobs in the apparel global value chain. It was very interesting to see the first few stages of this value chain, beginning at the inspiration stage. As a fashion merchandising student, looking to continue my career in fashion, I find this photo to be very informative. As one moves up the apparel chain, the more complex the tasks become. A product continues from one stage to the next, and eventually is made ready for distribution throughout this process.

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