What Do You Take Away from FASH455?

 

I encourage everyone to watch the video above, which provides an excellent wrap-up for FASH455 and reminds us the meaning and significance of our course. The names of several experts featured in the video should sound familiar to you too, including David Spooner (former U.S. Chief Textile Negotiator and Assistant Secretary of Commerce), Julia Hughes (president of the US Fashion Industry Association) and Auggie Tantillo (president of the National Council of Textile Organizations).

First of all, I hope students can take away essential knowledge about textile and apparel (T&A) trade & sourcing from FASH455. As you may recall from the video, in FASH455 we’ve examined the phenomenon of globalization and its implications; we also discussed various trade theories and the general pattern of the evolution of T&A industry in a country’s industrialization process; we further explored three primary T&A supply chains in the world (namely the Western-Hemisphere supply chain, “Factory Asia” supply chain based on the flying geese model and the phenomenon of intra-region T&A trade in Europe); last but not least, we looked at trade policies that are unique to the T&A sector (e.g.,: tariff, the quota system, and the yarn-forward rules of origin) as well as the complicated economic, social and political factors behind the making of these trade policies. No matter your dream job is to be a fashion designer, buyer, merchandiser, sourcing specialist or marketing analyst, understanding how trade and sourcing work will be highly relevant and beneficial to your future career given the global nature of today’s fashion industry.

Second, I hope FASH455 helps students shape a big picture vision of the T&A industry in the 21st-century world economy and provides students a fresh new perspective of looking at the world. Throughout the semester, we’ve examined many critical, timely and pressing global agendas that are highly relevant to the T&A industry, from apparel companies’ social responsibility practices, the debate on the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and Trump Administration’s trade policy agenda to the controversy of second-hand clothing trade. It is critical to keep in mind that we wear more than just clothes: We also wear the global economy, international business, public policy and trade politics that make affordable, fashionable, and safe clothes possible and available for hardworking families. This is also the message from many of our distinguished guest speakers this semester, and I do hope you find these special learning events enlightening and inspiring.

Likewise, I hope FASH455 can put students into thinking the meaning of being a FASH major (as well as a college graduate) and how to contribute to the world we are living today positively. A popular misconception is that T&A is just about “sewing,” “fashion magazine,” “shopping” and “Project Runway.” In fact, as one of the largest and most economically influential sectors in the world today, T&A industry plays a critical and unique role in creating jobs, promoting economic development, enhancing human development and reducing poverty. As we mentioned in the class, globally over 120 million people remain directly employed in the T&A industry, a good proportion of whom are females living in poor rural areas. For most developing countries, T&A usually accounts for 70%–90% of their total merchandise exports and provide one of the very few opportunities for these countries to participate in globalization. Indeed, T&A is such an impactful sector, and we are as important as any other majors on the campus!

Last but not least, I hope from taking FASH455, students can take away meaningful questions that can inspire their future study and even life’s pursuit. For example:

  • How to make the growth of global textile and apparel trade more inclusive and equal?
  • How can trade policy promote and support textile and apparel manufacturing in the United States?
  • How to make sure that tragedies like the Rana Plaza building collapse will never happen again?
  • How will automation in apparel manufacturing change the future landscape of apparel sourcing?
  • How to use trade policy as a tool to solve some tough global issues such as labor practices and environmental standard?
  • Is inequality a problem caused by global trade? If global trade is the problem, what is the alternative?

These questions have no good answers yet. But they are waiting for you, the young professional and the new generation of leaders, to write the history, based on your knowledge, wisdom, responsibility, courage, and creativity!

So what do you take away from FASH455? Please feel free to share your thoughts and comments.

Author: Sheng Lu

Professor @ University of Delaware

49 thoughts on “What Do You Take Away from FASH455?”

  1. I learned a lot from this class. Before enrolling in FASH 655, I knew close to nothing about trade in general. I enjoyed learning about how interconnected countries and industries are through trade. I thought it was very interesting that a tax on aluminum and steel could impact the T&A industry so much through the containers used to ship clothing across the globe and much more. Additionally, I had not thought about why tariffs are used to help manufacturing domestically and how they can be used logistically to favor some nations over others through trade agreements. I learned so much through this class and really enjoyed all of the information.

    1. Yes, I hope the course can help students shape a big-picture vision of the fashion industry and understand how fashion is possible by global trade!

  2. One major takeaway from Fash455 is that it is important to be a conscious consumer. Rather than just buy clothing because I like the products, I should take the time to research how the product was made as well as research the practices of the company I am buying from. If I do not agree with the ethics of the company or the methods in which the garment was produced then I should refrain from buying the products. Perhaps if consumer did not buy at the stores whose products were produced at Rana Plaza, the disaster would not have taken place because the companies would not have the funds to produce their garments anymore. Like the individuals said in the video, the consumer has great power in the retail industry by not buying the products. Another key takeaway is that the apparel and textile trade industry is very complex. It is hard to satisfy the needs and desires of each country while simultaneously working to strengthen your own country’s economy. It is clear that there may not be one concise solution to the trade industry and I am eager to see how trade policies will continuously change over my lifetime.

  3. This class was eye opening to say the least! In my four years at the University of Delaware, I have never encountered such an informative class. As Apparel Design majors, we are constantly learning about the business, design, and market of the apparel industry be we are never really exposed to the many policies and foreign relations that are in effect to make all of this possible. FASH 455 taught me so much about the depth and impact the industry has on so many people around the world, and really has caused me to feel as though I have the possibility to make a difference around the world from the actions and decisions I make as a future industry member.

  4. One thing I’ve taken away from FASH455 is how important it is to always being looking at the big picture despite what your role is in the fashion industry. Almost every job in the fashion industry, whether it be buying, planning, or product development, can be related back to global textile/apparel trade. When you’re educated on global trade policies and current events, you’re able to do your job more thoroughly and make better informed decisions on a day to day basis.

  5. This class has taught me many things that I would never have known about trade and the textile and apparel industry. For one, I didn’t know what trade policies were implemented to handle trading between all of the nations. I had a general understanding of which countries exported or imported more products, but I didn’t know all of the reasons why. It has been very interesting to learn about different rules like the yarn-forward rule of origin and how it is considered to be both beneficial and harmful to us in the United States. I am interested to follow these policies and see how they expand or diminish as time goes on.

  6. Before FASH455 I knew nothing about sourcing and globalization. This class was very eye-opening for me and informative and I found it to be very interesting. I never realized how much of an impact trade policies truly had on the textile and apparel industry, and although I knew that many companies manufacture overseas, I never understand all of the logic and reasons behind it other than lower costs. One of my biggest take aways was how interconnected we are with other countries due to globalization, and how one change in trade policy can impact so many other countries. Another takeaway is how complex these policies are and how there are always going to be positive and negative side effects, and it is impossible to come up with a perfect policy that suits everyone. I definitely will think differently now as a consumer also about where my garments are made from. Overall, I really enjoyed the class and learning this material .

  7. Before taking FASH455, I knew little to nothing about all the strict policies and regulations that really support and surround global sourcing and the textile and apparel industry. I have learned that these rules and regulations don’t always help everyone in the sense that retailers may have different wants and needs than textile producers. As a buyer in an organization, I learned that some aren’t very concerned about the working conditions in the developing world, yet they are more concerned about production times and getting the product to consumers fast. With this, I have learned that we as consumers are indirectly at fault for this since we do not realize the extent of these working conditions. Lastly, I have learned that the more you educate yourself on global policies and current events, you will be a much better asset to your team.

  8. This class really opened my eyes regarding the hundreds of possibilities for jobs. Before this course, I really didn’t think about a career in sourcing and trade. Not to mention I learned that the apparel and textile industry entails endless competition and there will always be a winner and a loser, regarding any policy or agreement made. Someone will always be effected positively or negatively. Informing yourself on not only the company, but the relations of the company is important and valuable. The T&A industry has an effect on so may things; the global economy, the consumers, the factory workers, the companies, etc. It’s a chain reaction. This course really opened my eyes to the endless factors that go into making an agreement, policy, restriction etc. It’s important to be a conscious consumer.

  9. Before taking this class, I really knew nothing about the trade policies of the world and how they influence the trading process. This class impressed me a lot on how globalization affecting the world’s economy and changing the world. It also enable me to practice critical thinking as well as seeing things in multi-angles. It is important for us to know more about what is going on in the world, we should not just focus on our own countries but also the whole world because every countries could matter the business we are doing.

  10. I loved FASH455. Before this class, I barely knew anything about global trade and trade policy. It was so interesting to have this class while many trade policies such as TPP and NAFTA are under negotiation or being considered for renegotiation. I did not previously understand why trade policy was so important, but now I do. I also found the yarn-forward rule fascinating and was intrigued that the “Made In” label on our clothes is not very representative of where it is made, but rather just where it was assembled. This class has really sparked my interest in trade and policy and I am able to have better conversations about globalization and form a stronger opinion on the topic due to this class! Thank you Dr. Lu!

  11. Prior to FASH455, I knew little about global apparel and textile trade and sourcing. Throughout the course, I gained knowledge about the subjects at hand through class lectures, webinars, case analysis’s, and weekly discussion assignments. I learned that trading is not as simple as I essentially believed it to be. Our clothing is assembled and pieced together by so many more elements then I ever imagined. I discovered that the textile and apparel industry’s has a strong presence in the United States. Trade policies are so important for the textile and apparel industry. I learned terms such as AGOA, TAA, and GSP. Thanks to this course, I have gained a better understanding of the worldwide importance of the textile and apparel industry.

  12. I can honestly say I learned a lot of material that I haven’t learned in any other class thus far. This class prepared me to use my real skills and knowledge of design and sourcing and apply it to the real world. It also taught me how much ethical sourcing matters, not just to the workers themselves but also the consumers and global trade as a whole. I can now say I feel confident to partake in conversations about global trade when it comes to the textile and apparel industry. It’s a complicated and complex subject, but overall Professor Lu really helped teach it in a way that was fun and easily understandable.

  13. I have really enjoyed FASH455! This class has really provided me with a more expansive knowledge of the global fashion industry, and how politics can affect the textile and apparel industry. This class has allowed me to see how my job as a fashion designer fits into the industry, and supply chain. Now having a knowledge of trade policies and the three major supply chains, I can see that my design decisions can make a big difference in the livelihood of others. For example, designers make decisions on what fabric and what buttons/trims to use on a daily basis, and deciding to use a certain fabric or trim from a certain country, can have different effects on people, depending which country you choose to source from. In my past summer internship experiences, I remember many cross-functional meetings with the designers, merchants/buyers, and the sourcing team. The sourcing team would always come across as the “bad guy” trying to save costs by telling the designers to use less embellishment, or source a different trim. I understood how important it was for the company to reduce their costs so they could make a profit on the product. But because of this class, I am able to reflect on these experiences and further understand how important the decisions of the sourcing team are to the entire supply chain, and the livelihood of the workers in overseas markets.

  14. I really enjoyed my semester in FASH455. Its taught me the sourcing side of our industry, and how detailed all trade policies are. I am grateful to now better understand the inner workings of trade policies such as NAFTA, TPP, and CAFTA. To answer the question “How to make the growth of global textile and apparel trade more inclusive and equal?”, I believe that through stronger trade policies with developing nations and partnerships to help give these nations shares of the market we can help make the T & A trade more inclusive. If we can build up neighboring nations we can help set trade more fairly between all countries. If we as a nation can remove the capitalist agenda we currently host that harms and exploits other nations for our own financial gain, we can influence other major nations to help as well. And, if we are able to influence LDC’s to build their manufacturing in a more sustainable, safe, and equal way, we will be able to ensure their economies success. According to the article, “Making Global Trade More Gender-Inclusive”, by Megan O’Donnell, “Increasing women’s participation in global trade, as both business owners and wage workers, can improve outcomes for women, their families, and their countries. When women earn a competitive income, they spend 90 percent of it on health, food, and education, which means that increasing women’s access to income can contribute to breaking intergenerational cycles of poverty (ITC, 2015)”. Meaning, if we are able to help these countries hire more women, these nations can build themselves out of poverty faster. I truly believe America should use its influential power to help LDC’s grow and work to make all trade more fair.

    The article: https://www.cgdev.org/publication/making-global-trade-more-gender-inclusive

  15. FASH455 has been one of the most informative classes I’ve taken at the University of Delaware. I’ve learned so much about how complex supply chains and trade policy are and why they are that way. Learning about the complexities and differences between regional supply chains around the world has been so interesting and informative. My favorite part of the class has been learning how trade policy affects the textile and apparel industry in the United States and its jobs. This class has educated me on both sides of the free trade/protectionist theories and changed my perspective in this time of changing policies. I feel empowered knowing where I stand and why. I also plan to use my knowledge as a consumer, as well as designer, to guide my purchasing decisions.

  16. Prior to enrolling in FASH455, I really had little to no knowledge about global textile and apparel trading policies and just how important it is to understand them as a fashion major. Before this class, in my mind it was up to someone else, someone higher up in the fashion industry to deal with the sourcing and all of the technicalities that are behind it, but I realize now that it is really up to those of us who are going to soon be out in the world working as fashion industry professionals to understand the complexity of this aspect of the industry because it is really the basis for many of the jobs that we will be holding in the future. FASH455 really taught me to look beyond the perspective of the consumer and to focus on where it all begins: with the yarns and textiles needed to create the basis of the industry, apparel. I also found it incredibly interesting how our topics coincided with the recent political events that have taken place, as it really brought to light just how important the T&A industry is to the U.S. and the rest of the world.

  17. I really took away a lot from this class. I believe that fashion is sometimes looked down upon but learning really how it impacts the rest of the world has been very eye opening. I was happy to learn a lot about today’s issues’ as I felt I didn’t know much to begin with (I wish things like this were addresses more in other classes). Also, learning how textile and apparel impacts the rest of the world is very inspiring to me because it shows how powerful this industry can be and potentially how one day we can change it’s negative impacts.

  18. The one part of this video that especially stuck with me was when Howard Deutchman said that consumers don’t care how or where they get their apparel, they just want what they want when they want it. Before taking this class, I was similarly oblivious to everything that goes on before I buy my clothes. FASH455 really opened my eyes to a side of the industry I have never seen or understood before. I always hear about NAFTA and the TPP in the news, but I never fully understood what their importance is and what they do. Also before this class, I wasn’t fully aware of how much politics and international relations is a major part of the success of our industry. As fashion majors that want to work in the field, it is so important that we are equipped with the knowledge from this class that will help us understand our jobs. Knowing why a certain country is better to produce in, who the people are there, how long it takes to get the goods, etc. is essential for being integrated in the industry regardless of the jobs we have.

  19. Taking FASH455 has really expanded my knowledge not just on this topic, but on the fashion industry as a whole. I have learned a great deal about trade policies and how it affects the textile and apparel sectors, but I also learned a lot on a global scale. I think this class is really important for us because it allows us to understand how other parts of the world are affected by trade and the US’s decisions. To see how Bangladesh factories were and the impact manufacturing clothes for the other countries has had on them. Being able to learn about something and see it evolve in the real world was very awesome. For example, the Trump Administration talking about the TPP. To be able to have take aways like that by being able to relate your knowledge from this class to events happening in the world today was great as well. I truly learned so much from this class and I think it is such an important topic to learn about no matter what area of fashion you are going in to.

  20. I think the most important thing I learned from Fash455 is the importance of being informed and being aware of what is going on politically and economically and being able to think analytically to decipher how the current climate might affect the textile industry and might affect me. While I’ve been aware that the fashion industry is a global industry, I didn’t understand the scope of what that meant until taking this class. I now know how different trade agreements have come to be and how they’ve changed and how it is important to change our rules and regulations as our industry changes as well. I’ve learned the importance of looking at the political changes being made regarding not just trade but foreign relations in general because they will inevitably have an impact on the fashion industry.

  21. Before enrolling in this class, I knew absolutely nothing about trade in general, let alone the effect of trade within the fashion and textile industries. Through this class, I’ve gained the understanding of the importance of keeping up with the news about trade and policies and relating the topics we’ve covered in this class to how new policies may change the political and economic environment. Although I knew that fashion is a global market, I never really took the time to really understand how our decisions in the US affect the rest of the world, and this class really made me think about that.

  22. This class taught me a lot about the global textile industry and trade policies that I had no previous knowledge of. Specifically, I learned how the shopping decisions of U.S. consumers, like mine, affect the people working overseas. I have always blindly shopped without even thinking of the potential consequences it may have on workers in other countries to produce the clothing at this low price. After learning about the Rana Plaza tragedy and the unfair labor practices, I’ve changed my ways. I learned how important it is to think before you buy something because if consumers continue to buy these products, U.S. companies will continue to feel pressure to sell their products at a low price and the unfair practices will continue. Overall, I was made aware that everyone has a responsibility to be informed about the production of the products they purchase because the decisions these US retailers make based on our buying habits have a worldwide effect.

  23. FASH455 has really opened my eyes to many important issues in today’s world that unfortunately not many people are aware of. Learning about every geographical area’s trade agreements and how they affect the ongoing battle between the apparel and textile industries has been very beneficial in my understanding of the world’s industries. I think that especially with the current administration and many people’s oppositions to a lot of Trump’s policies, it is important to be educated on these matters so you can form your own opinion. I realized that I did not agree with his decision to withdraw from NAFTA or his overall attitude that everything has to be produced in the US, because I don’t think that is possible and we need to be able to trade using the specializations of other countries who have comparative advantage.

    1. agree! I am pleased to see FASH455 will open to the entire university starting from Fall 2018. And I really like the comment by michael froman, former US Trade Representative that “done right, trade can be a solution to many probelms”

  24. This past semester I learned an abundance about trade and the textile and apparel industry that I did not even know the slightest about before. This class opened my eyes to the large, big picture problems that developed and developing countries face when creating trade deals with each other. I learned how quotas and tariffs can effect where companies decide to do business, how these decisions can have an impact on their countries economy as well as other countries economies, and how ethical practices have an influence on the lives of workers in the textile and apparel industry around the world. FASH455 has taught me to think critically about what is going on in the world today and how some decisions are not as clear cut as the media makes it seem. So many people are affected by the textile and apparel industry and it is so important to be aware of the decisions that our elected officials are making!

  25. Prior to taking this course, I did not understand the complexity of the global supply chain. This class has expanded my knowledge to comprehend the many steps and processes our apparel undergoes before we purchase it in store. While the fibers, yarns, and other raw materials that go into the production of apparel originate in one country, the actual manufacturing of the product may occur in a different country. It is important to understand the trading relationships between countries that specialize in different steps of the manufacturing process. In order to have a successful career in the fashion industry, it is important to have an understanding of every the step in the global supply chain. This class has taught me the importance of trading policies and understanding how we as consumers are affected by these trade negotiations.

  26. I have learned so much in FASH455. I have learned about the importance of this industry to the entire world and how countries interact through fashion. I have learned in depth about the fibers, yarns, fabrics, workers, consumers, law/policy makers, importers, exporters and everything and everyone else involved in the supply and demand chain of fashion. Different theories regarding production and advantages and disadvantages. What I have taken away most is the complications of the many trade agreements and the difficulties in creating and adjusting them.

  27. I have learned a lot from taking this course including the global environment of the fashion industry along with a more in depth grasp of trade and policies within the industry.
    As far as the global climate of the industry I was never fully aware of all the unethical practices that happen during the manufacturing process. Without this class, the Rana Plaza incident would have never been brought to my attention, which was an event that killed over 1,000 employees due to the fact that the building had safety and fire hazards that were overlooked. Learning about this event opened my eyes to practices that continue on a daily basis that are not considered ethical by US standards. Along with that, it has taught me to remember these issues as I advance in my career path to fully grasp why companies may be working with certain countries over others. The quickest and cheapest option may not always be the best option due to outside factors such as safety regulations along with ethic practices that are within that certain factory.
    Coming into this class I knew that most garments now a days were produced overseas but I did not understand all the policies that go into that and what makes certain countries more desirable to work with than others. Now after learning about different trade agreements I have learned that countries such as Mexico and ones in Central America are more cost effective to work with in some cases due to the fact that there is less import tariffs than other countries. I also learned the reason that China is so desirable to work with is due to the fact that they have the access to labor that many other countries do not have since they have such a high population rate. China can produce things at a very high volume in comparison to other countries.
    Overall, I have learned a great deal within this class and found it a extremely beneficial course in my University career. The things mentioned above are just a few of the many takeaways that will follow me well beyond this class. Thank you.

  28. As consumers I think it is easy for us to forget how many steps go into the final apparel and textile goods we purchase. This class made me aware of how truly global the textile and apparel industry. The industry’s global nature brings many challenges and is not just a point A to point process. I learned this semester that many countries can be involved in the manufacturing of one garment. Each country then has their own agendas, regulations and possible tariffs to deal with that can affect the movement and sourcing of these goods. My eyes were also opened to many of the ethical issues within the T&A industry. I am more aware of the conditions in factories and those of the employees and now have the knowledge to make more ethical choices. This is also a very interesting time to be taking this class as certain FTAs are being renegotiated such as NAFTA and to see how the Trump administration will handle the T&A industry in the U.S. and if he will impose more tariffs.

  29. FASH 455 is without a doubt one of the most important classes in the curriculum of the fashion department at UD. It not only has informed me of the importance of trade regulation and the globalization of the fashion industry but also opened my eyes to the reality that is fashion production. Many consumers are unaware of what goes into producing the goods that we purchase everyday however as fashion merchandisers it is our job to understand the ins and outs. The world is increasingly becoming more global, in every aspect, so it is imperative that we stay informed. Understanding trade policy and the culture of other countries is key to being successful in sourcing.

  30. As consumers I think it is easy for us to forget how many steps go into the final apparel and textile goods we purchase. This class made me aware of how truly global the textile and apparel industry. The industry’s global nature brings many challenges and is not just a point A to point process. I learned this semester that many countries can be involved in the manufacturing of one garment. Each country then has their own agendas, regulations and possible tariffs to deal with that can affect the movement and sourcing of these goods. My eyes were also opened to many of the ethical issues within the T&A industry. I am more aware of the conditions in factories and those of the employees and now have the knowledge to make more ethical choices. This is also a very interesting time to be taking this class as certain FTAs are being renegotiated such as NAFTA and to see how the Trump administration will handle the T&A industry in the U.S. and if he will impose more tariffs.

  31. When I first signed up for this class I did not know how informative and relevant it would be to my life and possible career path. I try to keep up with the news/politics but one topic that always confuses me is trade policy. Now that I have taken this class, I understand so much that I could never grasp. I did not understand what NAFTA or CAFTA were, nor did I understand their importance and how they may positively or negatively affect different areas of the apparel industry. I now understand why US textile companies are so upset over various clauses in free trade agreements that allow apparel companies to source so many fabrics from overseas, but I also understand why apparel companies need to do what they do in order to cut costs and stay competitive. Though I already knew about unethical practices in factories, I never got a chance to discuss it so thoroughly until this class. I enjoyed our discussions about it because it allowed me to brainstorm actual solutions to the problem rather than just acknowledge that it exists but continue to idly sit by and do nothing about it.

  32. I have learned a lot in this class. To be honest, I knew close to nothing about global trade and sourcing, so for me personally, this class was very beneficial. It became very interesting to me how much goes into fashion and apparel studies from a global stand point. I had a hard to grasping different trade policies until i saw the relationship they had to the textile and apparel industry. Being in touch with current trade concepts in todays world was helpful in understanding trade concepts as a whole. The case studies I also thought were very beneficial because they gave us students opportunities to be in the shoes of the people inviolved.; to understand where they are coming from, and what knowledge and situational points contribute to making certain decisions. Specifically the VF case study I saw as very opportunistic in making decisions especially the final point of how the brands SHOULD be sourcing as opposed to how they ARE sourcing, and why they are doing so. Ultimately ii was introduced to many new global concepts in the fashion and apparel industry. Thank you for introducing me to that.

  33. I can absolutely say that FASH455 has broadened my knowledge on the textile and apparel industry as a whole. Before taking this course, I was unaware of how much the industry is influenced by politics. Because I had always viewed the industry as a separate entity and never put much consideration into where garments are produced, I had a very narrow idea of how the industry works. Government decisions can have a large impact on the industry, such as the US withdrawing from the TPP and the effects it had on the cost of imports for the US consumers. Along with politics affecting the T&A industry, I was also unaware of the fact that there is comparative advantage affecting the production of goods from the yarn stage, all the way until the apparel stage. I now understand that it makes more sense and is more beneficial for some countries to produce certain goods, while others specialize in other production sectors. This phenomenon explains why it is important to have freer international trade in order to capitalize on all possible opportunities. Finally, my favorite topic of this course was learning about the MFA arrangement and its effects on the LDC’s, the EEC, and the US. It was interesting to debate and negotiate different points of the treaty in class, in order to reach an agreement that would be most beneficial to all parties involved. The most general thought that I have leaving this class is that there is no right or wrong answer when it comes to the global textile and apparel industry. Each situation between different parties is unique and there are certain trade offs and sacrifices that each party must make in order to come into agreement. After all, what would the US textile and apparel industry look like without global relationships and trade?

  34. Before taking this class, I really knew next to nothing about the global textile and apparel industry. I knew the basics about sourcing and trading, but this class has really helped me to develop a deep understanding of this industry and the major affects it has on our apparel companies. I think the most interesting thing I learned was about the TFA and the regulations that restricted certain countries from being able to trade and manufacture certain items. I didn’t realize just how much these things affected our industry or that restrictions like this were even in place. Overall this class has benefited me and increased my knowledge on global trade and trade regulations.

  35. Before taking FASH455, I really had no idea about global trade and how it worked, especially in the textile and apparel industry. After taking this class, I can confidently say that I now have a solid knowledge about the entire process behind how textiles and apparel are sourced, manufactured, and shipped before they could be sold in stores to consumers. I also learned how difficult and complicated the trade process is with all of the trade policies and barriers as well as the different trade organizations that could limit what countries are able to import and export. The negative impacts of trade such as the dangerous working conditions in factories overseas causing tragedies such as the collapse of the Rana Plaza really opened my eyes and made me think about where the clothing I buy is coming from and if it is being produced safely. Overall, I think this class has given me a big picture perspective on the way the industry operates as well as made me a more conscious consumer. I also learned about different types of sourcing strategies that companies use and the positives and negatives of each which was very interesting and insightful in case I ever want to start my own business. I will definitely take what I have learned in this class and apply it to future jobs with the hopes that it will allow me to offer improvements.

  36. There is a lot to take away from FASH455. First, I learned how important it is to stay up to date on all things regarding trade, including the creation of new policies and negotiations on current ones. Being in the fashion industry it is crucial to know what is going on in it because it impacts everyone and their jobs on a larger scale. Someone who owns a business might source materials from another country, but if a policy is changed and restricts trade with that country, then that owner needs to find somewhere else to get their materials. This can then make products more expensive and possibly increase lead time which can upset customers. Second, I’ve learned how important it is to know what you are wearing and how it impacts the country where it came from and the people who made it. We studied the Rana Plaza building collapse in depth and how several known brands like Zara and Walmart manufactured from there. It brought up a lot of questions whether or not these brands or the people who buy and wear these brands were aware of the poor conditions that the workers in Rana Plaza were in on a daily basis. We as people who aspire to work in the fashion industry and as consumers have a partial responsibility to make sure we know what is going on with who makes our clothing and how.

  37. I was very impressed with the experience I had in the FASH455 class. I didn’t realize how critical sourcing is to the textile and apparel industry until I learned about it this semester. I learned that sometimes the retail industry and the textiles industry disagree on what is best for United States trading practices. I learned how different efforts have been made to improve working conditions in other countries, especially after the Rana Plaza tragedy. Also that not only the owners of the factories are responsible for the devastation, but that fast fashion companies and the demands of consumers could be held responsible as well. I appreciated listening to the different guest speakers and learning from people with different roles in the industry. From the case analysis assignments, I learned that no method of sourcing is perfect and that some countries are hesitant for different reasons, and that countries first must gain trust with one another. Overall, I enjoyed this class and I know that after I graduate, this level of critical thinking and the knowledge I have gained from different activities and lectures will benefit me in the industry.

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