An interesting BBC article describes the global journey of a Marks and Spencer (M&S) wool suit:
- The suit was designed by M&S in-house team in UK
- Wool that makes up the suit came from Australia
- Raw wool was shipped from Australia to China for topping.
- Wool top was shipped from China to Italy for dying
- Dyed wool was shipped from Italy to Romania to be spun into yarn
- Yarn was shipped to Yorkshire, UK to be woven into cloth
- Cloth was shipped from Yorkshire, UK to Cambodia to be made into finished suit
- Finished suit was shipped back to UK to be sold at M&S retail stores
As noted by the article, such a global-based production model for M&S’s suit is increasingly typical in UK. What makes the issue controversial, however is that, the suit is labeled as “100% British cloth”. As “defined” by M&S, “British cloth means it is woven, dyed and finished in the UK”.
Similar debates also exist in the United States. In the past, even if a garment was cut and sewn in California but made of imported items, the tag still had to say, “Made in USA of imported fabric, zippers, buttons and thread.” But a new law which takes into effect on January 1, 2016 allows California manufacturers to attach the “Made in USA” label as long as no more than 5 percent of the wholesale value of the garment is made of imported materials.
- What are the driving forces behind apparel companies’ global-based production model?
- Is the clothing label “Made in ___” outdated in the 21st century?
- Do you support the new law which allows apparel labeled “Made in USA” to contain certain value of imported material? Why? Do we need such a regulation at all? Why or why not?