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 of the meaning and significance of our course. The names of several experts featured in the video should sound familiar to you, including David Spooner (former U.S. Chief Textile Negotiator and Assistant Secretary of Commerce), Julia Hughes (president of the US Fashion Industry Association, USFIA) and Auggie Tantillo (president of the National Council of TextileOrganizations, NCTO).

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 profound social, economic and political implications. We also discussed various trade theories and the general evolution pattern of a country’s T&A industry and its close relationship with that country’s overall industrialization process. We further explored three primary T&A supply chains in the world (namely the Western-Hemisphere supply chain, the flying geese model in Asia or “factory Asia” and the phenomenon of intra-region T&A trade in Europe). Last but not least, we looked at trade policies that are unique or critical to the T&A sector (e.g.,: tariff, and the yarn-forward rules of origin) as well as the complicated 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 way 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 textile and apparel provisions in the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Free Trade Agreement (USMCA or NAFTA2.0) 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 hopeFASH455 can put students into thinking the meaning of being a FASH major/minor(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&Ausually 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 to make sure 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

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

  1. I have taken away so much from FASH455 and feel as if I have gained valuable knowledge about the industry and what is going on in our world today. This class has taught me about trade policies and agreements and have they effect different sectors of the supply chain and all the different stakeholders involved. This class has also given me the opportunity to really get a grasp on what is going on the industry today and being able to comment and reflect on it in the classroom to learn from it and get a better understanding as to what is going on in our government and with the industry. It is also interesting seeing how fashion is really a global industry and how a textile can be produced in one country sewn in another country and packaged in another country. Basically showing that it takes many countries coming together to get a final product which is very interesting because you look at a label and see that the garment was made in, for example, lets say China, but not everything on the garments was made in China.

    1. so pleased to learn this!! My advisor once said that if we fully understand textile and apparel trade and trade policy, we probably can deal with ANY sectors. I agree totally! This is also why I am very excited that FASH455 is now a university breath requirement that opens to the entire UD community!

  2. I have found FASH455 to be one of my favorite classes I have taken in my 4 years at UD. I feel that I have been able to gain real world knowledge of the textile and apparel industry and everything that it encompasses, allowing me to truly understand the depth and importance of an industry that I have centered my life around since I was a child. In this class I have learned just what an influential industry it is in social, economic and political dimensions. It has been fascinating to learn about things like NAFTA or our case study on the MFA, as it has shown me just how important textile and apparel trade and sourcing is and how difficult it can be to find perfect solutions in such a global world. Learning about the various trade theories and supply chains has opened my eyes to the foundation of textile and apparel trade and sourcing and the rationalization behind it all and just how much of an impact globalization has on this world. It is honestly very satisfying to finally learn just how globally influential the fashion industry is, beating the misconceptions many have of its importance and the fashion major importance. I have enjoyed learning about how globalization works within the industry, with conceptions formed in one country, materials sourced in another, and the final product sold in another. This is something that I feel is often overlooked by most of society who does not study fashion. When in reality, clothing is one of the fundamental necessities for life, and it is often taken for granted just how much work goes on behind it.

  3. I have learned so much from FASH455 throughout the course of the semester. Prior to taking this course, I was not completely educated or well-aware of the global and apparel trade policies that surround the fashion industry. With the semester coming to an end, I can now confidently speak on the behalf of these policies and share my knowledge with others. I found that the case studies and discussions were extremely helpful not only in engaging students in what we were reading and learning about, but also allowing students’ opinions to be said and heard. I also found that the readings in the course packet were immensely informative and pertained a lot to what we as fashion students should be aware of in terms of trade policies and current and past events that have helped shape the fashion industry today. I was intrigued to learn about the exporting countries and importing countries and how they all come together as one in order to circulate apparel throughout the industry. I can certainly confirm that this course was one of the more enjoyable ones I have taken and the information I have learned will definitely be used for future reference as I go out into the real world and find myself working in the industry.

  4. After taking FASH 455 I have learned an entire new side of the fashion industry that I didn’t think much about prior to taking this class. Prior to taking this class I was unaware of the policies globally that surrounded the Fashion Industry. After taking this class I can now say that I’m highly educated in this area of the T&A industry able to make educated comments on the matter.Something else that I’ve taken away from this class is how that how much of an impact this industry has on the political , socially and economically. Our industry is affected by these things as well. Also how many countries rely on this industry for jobs. I knew that most clothing was made abroad but did not realize that these jobs were the main jobs in these countries for some working women it’s the only job opportunity they have. Taking these jobs away from them to bring back jobs to the US is such a sticky situation because now you are taking jobs away from other people across the globe. Overall, I really enjoyed this class because it opened up my eyes to a lot of new part of the Fashion Industry that I did not know about and paid little attention to and now have become very interested in.

    1. I also was surprised about just how depended some of these countries overseas are on the textile and apparel industry within the United States. Each country depends on each other in one way or another whether it is for sourcing materials or selling domestically made textiles.

  5. After taking FASH455, I feel much more informed about fashion in terms of trade policies and global issues. Before taking the class, I didn’t really consider the impact that different policies can have on different parts of the T&A industry and on people around the world. We are all so interconnected and the decisions we make can significantly impact others. It is important to be aware of these issues when working in the fashion industry because we will have to make decisions in the future that will be impactful to many. In a world of globalization it is crucial that we keep up to date with policies, business, and trade. It is very true that we “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 something that I will definitely take away from this course.

    1. In addition, we can ensure that tragedies such as Rana Plaza don’t happen again by taking extra time and care when making decisions within the T&A industry. We are making decisions for people that affect their livelihoods. We can make trade more inclusive if we try. However, there are always going to be winners and losers. What we can do is try to help the “losers” so that they can still benefit. By helping these “losers” advance we are also helping the entire world economy advance which benefits everyone. Global trade will always be complex and there may never be a right answer or perfect solution but all we can do is try our best to level the playing field.

  6. Fash455 is my favorite class, and you are the best professor I have met. After taking this class, I learned so many valuable knowledge about apparel and textile from looking at the current global supply chain, understanding different trade policies, and analyzing the development of T&A in major regions of the world. Taking this class solves many of my confusion, like why China is the biggest country to export apparel and what the United States position is in the fashion industry. I understand the advantages of making apparel in China is because of the cheap labor cost and labor-intensive country. Many people in the least developing countries heavily rely on this industry to make money, but the factory they are working in is not safe. So the news often reports social issues about factory’s collapse at kinds of platforms. The fashion industry we are going to work on has not only impacts on a country’s economy, but also have to consider the political and social issues. Even though this course is challengeable for me to some extent, I still enjoy the process to explore the answer.

  7. This class has been so eye opening to me in so many ways. I never realized how much goes into the process of making clothing. The thing that shocked me the most was the labels in our clothing. All the rules that go into how to determined what goes on a label is something that I never thought about before. I always figured it was an easy decision but a lot more actually goes into it than people think. I also took away from this class that the textile and apparel industry really is global. It can’t be done without efficient trade with other countries and I think sometimes people underestimate how important trade really is. Overall I really enjoyed this class and will without a doubt be using the things I learned here in my professional career when I graduate.

  8. As the semester comes to an end, I have come to the conclusion that FASH455 has been one of the most beneficial classes I’ve taken at UD. I’ve taken away so much valuable information and have been enlightened with current issues of today’s economy. There is a worldwide importance of the apparel and textile industry on political, social, and economic dimensions. Being able to understand the stages of development and the various functions of the global apparel market has opened my eyes to the important of the apparel industry as a whole. Prior to taking this class I was unable to analyze trade policies or understand how they affect different segments of our economy. Manufactures, retailers, and consumers all their their own important role, at many levels, to keep the industry operating. Our in class case study discussions allowed me to think outside the box and collaborate with other students to come up with new solutions and strategies for problems our world is facing today. Now that I am aware of cutting-edge issues, I can become a smarter, more conscious consumer. I believe this course should be taken by students of all majors, not just fashion. With it being added as a breath requirements, other students can learn what I have and that the textile and apparel industry is one of the largest in the world.

  9. FASH455 has not only been an interesting and dynamic class, but it has also been extremely important due to how relevant it is right now, with things like tariffs and our current political climate now affecting the T&A industry. I feel that this class has been particularly influential on me because of how real the topics and assignments are. In academia, I feel as though sometimes there is too much of a focus on hypotheticals and ideas instead of what is currently happening and how it’s affecting us. That is one of the reasons why I have enjoyed FASH455: everything that we have learned about and discussed has helped me understand things on a global level- like issues with factories (our case study on Rana Plaza), negotiations on trade terms between countries, and the complexities and intricacies of supply chains, just to name a few. It has been truly eye-opening that an industry that I’ve been learning about for four years could have so many aspects of it that I did not know enough about. Now, though, because of 455, I am determined to not only pay more attention to global issues and how they affect the T&A industry, but also how the topics that we have learned about will ultimately relate to my future job in the industry.

    1. Thank you!! Would like to add that FASH455 is built on strong theoretical foundations too. Those international trade and economic development theories we discussed in the class are right behind the design of post-WWII US trade policies. As a scholar, I have been also using economic models to evaluate the impacts of trade agreements on the textile and apparel sector. Indeed, trade is very comprehensive in nature and BOTH theoretical and applied. and that’s why I love teaching the topic so much! Thank you again for a great semester too!!

  10. I honestly went into this class already knowing that I really enjoyed Professor Lu’s teacher methods but didn’t think I would be that interested in the topic. Looking at the class now, I am happy to say that I found this class very interesting and engaging especially with the different teaching methods he used. I think that the mixture of lectures, case studies, individual thinking and group work really helped everyone get a full understanding of the material without just simply being told what the answer was. I thought it was really good that he encouraged us to think for ourselves, then with a group then with the class before we would go over the correct information. The case study discussions were one of my favorite ways to learn because we got to do work by ourselves at home using the reading materials provided, then discuss with our peers and see what different ideas were being discussed and then discussed as a class with Professor Lu. Overall, this was a really great class and I think I am taking away so much useful information that will help me in my jobs in the future.

  11. FASH455 has provided me with knowledge of the fashion industry on a global scale which I had not had before. I now understand the real world impact that the apparel and textile industry has and the issues and hot topics that surrounds it. I think this course has been essential to our journey of learning as fashion students and have helped us to know what our generation of fashion experts will have to focus on and try to improve. The case analyses in particular have allowed me to learn about the history of changes within the trade and problems in the industry. These topics are important to realize what problems existed in the past, what worked, what didn’t, and how to further improve the industry today. This has been the most important FASH class I have taken thus far in my college career and recommend it to non-majors as well. This course really changes the way you look at the world and you learn a lot about impoverished countries and countries that can soon compete with the U.S. and other developing countries.

  12. When I first signed up for this class I really had no idea what it was about. After only a couple days of this class I was extremely intrigued and interested in learning about the sourcing of textiles and the global aspect of the fashion industry. I never realized how much each individual country contributed to the overall industry. A product can say “Made in China” on the tag, but the leather can be from Italy, the thread can be from Thailand, and the lining from the US, but says “Made in China” because that is where it was manufactured. Every country has a role they play in the global fashion industry and they all feed off of one another. The industry would not be the same if we didn’t have this collaboration. I found this extremely interesting. I am an Apparel Design student so when I think of making designs it is very helpful to know where all of my supplies are coming from. This class was very helpful and I would definitely recommend it to other students.

  13. FASH 455 opened my eyes to so much regarding the fashion industry on a global scale. I learned so much valuable knowledge about the apparel and textile industry from understanding trade policies, to looking at current economic issues, and analyzing the development of T&A in major regions of the world. This class has been one of the most beneficial courses I have taken in my college career, and Dr. Sheng Lu is the best professor to ever teach it! It really opened my mind to how textiles are made, to how they are sourced, and how economic issues, as well as other countries economies greatly affect our business. One of my favorite things from this class was how we had the ability to interact and hear leaders in the industry’s opinions and knowledge regarding different topics during our in-class Skype discussions. Overall, thank you for a great semester, and I feel so fortunate to have taken this class with a professor so passionate about trade, sourcing, and policies!

  14. I really enjoyed taking this class. Classmates have so participated and everyone is engaged in the class. Before taking the class, I didn’t realize how the fashion industry and the world related. I thought fashion could only have impacts over people like us who really into fashion and prepare to work in the industry. In the end, it tends out not like what I thought. The fashion industry is not just what people would like to wear today and what is going to be the trend for the next season. It is a connection of the world. It makes different countries work as a whole to satisfy certain needs and goals. This course opens my mind of what I could do in the future and gives me a wider opportunity to contribute to the fashion industry.

  15. I’ve taken so much away from FASH455 that I had honestly never even considered before. Coming into this class I had no idea what to expect. I honestly wasn’t even sure what the course was really about. Immediately after the first essay assignment I was intrigued with the global apparel sector and economy in a way I’d never been before. It was really cool to interview my peers and parents and to get their opinions on topics that they might not otherwise be aware of, seeing as they are not fashion majors or minors. The information I shared with them from the course pack had really opened their eyes to how apparel trade effects all industries worldwide. I think a lot of people don’t realize the importance of the apparel sector in our world, especially for third world countries and developing countries. It’s hard to remember sometimes that things that seem so small or trivial to us can have very serious impacts on people around the world and their lives and wellbeing. I never was aware of how bad factory conditions could get or how little certain companies will do to fix it, simply because they want to save money and don’t necessarily care about the safety of the workers they outsource production and manufacturing to. I think theres a lot to be said about the apparel industry and the effects it has on our economy worldwide, and this course has really opened my eyes and made me more mindful of this.

  16. Before going into this course, I really did not have an interest on the topic of sourcing and trade, but taking this class completely changed point of view. The class was so interesting and informational in its entirety, but what stood out to me the most over everything was learning about the actual process of making a single product does not take place always in just one country. It seems silly to not think of this before, but before this class I generally thought if something had a “Made in China” tag (for example), then the fabric involved in making the product was from there and it was made there. But in reality, every element that goes into making a shoe, for example, typically is from all different parts of the world, but the tag will say “Made in China” because it was manufactured there. It’s such a misconception that EVERYTHING is made in China, so it was interesting to learn how much every other country is involved in contributing to the industry. This course also opened my eyes to issues with factories (our case study on Rana Plaza), supply chains, and negotiations on trade terms between countries, and how complex it all really is. Even though this is a required class for fash merch student, I’m so glad I took it because its one of the few classes I know I will actually use what I learned here with any job in the fashion industry. Thank you for a great semester! You are great professor and I’m glad I had the chance to take this class with a professor who is so enthusiastic about the topic and actually enjoys teaching it! Your enthusiasm made a topic that definitely could have been challenging to learn about, fun and interesting!

  17. FASH455 has really changed my view on the fashion industry and the world. I was unaware of the effect that foreign trade policies had on the clothing I wear everyday. This class has provided me with the knowledge and understanding of these policies, and how important global trade is for the textile and apparel industry. Our class discussions, and case studies helped me think critically about world trade. These were great ways of helping students understand the material we were learning. Having a professor who was so passionate, and knowledgable about this subject made lectures interesting. I am so happy that I took this course, the information I learned will be very important for my future career in the fashion industry.

  18. This class was very informative and revealed that the fashion industry is incredibly complex. Every decision made by one company or one country affects every other country. The laws that exist to govern every fabric and button demonstrate how important the T&A industry is to the economies and culture of every country. There were some articles and concepts that were hard to grasp because we touched on so many briefly but overall I feel better informed and prepared to work in this industry. I have strong feelings about ethical manufacturing and sustainable fashion and this class reinforced my commitment to these issues.

  19. I feel that after taking this course it has sparked an interest in trading and sourcing that I previously did not have. I always new that tariffs and quotas were things that existed but I never fully understood how important they are in every aspect and stage of the textile and apparel process. As well as learning in-depth about the full sourcing process, and all the different stops a garment makes along the way before it is ready for retail sale. All of these aspects tied in together to make what is the very complex supply chain process of the textile and apparel industry. Most importantly, this was one of the most well taught classes I have taken at UD, and the only one where I have seen so many students participating in a subject without being asked to. I think all of us will walk away with a better understanding of trade policies and sourcing and will only benefit from this knowledge in the future.

  20. Before taking this course, I did not have a ton of knowledge about trade and sourcing within the apparel industry. I always thought that it would be amazing to become a buyer or a planner for a company one day, but this course completely opened up how broad the fashion industry is, and how many opportunities there are for people who are interested in entering the fashion industry. I never realized the magnitude of how important trade policies around the world, had an affect on me, and what I wear everyday. It is so hard for me to wrap my head around how every step that goes into manufacturing a garment is so regulated by rules and policies, when before taking this class I never thought about where even the cotton came from. It is also so interesting that while the cotton for your shirt could be picked in the United States, other steps in the production process could be made in other multiple countries around the world. I am impressed with how interconnected our world is and how each country is dependent on one another in so many ways.

    Taking this class with Dr. Sheng Lu definitely made this class so enjoyable and interesting. It is so great to have a professor at UD who is so passionate about the topic he teaches, and so great at relaying the information to students. It’s not everyday that you walk into a class and a professor ask you how you are doing, and genuinely cares about what is going on with you academically and in life. One of favorite parts of the course was when I was asked to do a presentation on my experiences traveling. It just made me feel like I got a lot more out of my experience than I had thought before. I would definitely recommend taking this class to anyone in the future!

    1. I agree– the intensity and small requirements that come with each stage of production is something I never would have thought about before this class. It’s so interesting to think that policy dictates every little aspect of T&A production.

  21. I took away so much from FASH455. I thought I had a pretty strong understanding of sourcing and trade and how it all worked, but this class opened my eyes to so many issues that exist within the industry, as well as the different aspects of importing and exporting. Sheng Lu truly made learning this material enjoyable and made it so much easier to understand especially with incorporating current case studies, videos, as well as weekly reading assignments. His passion for the course can definitely be seen by all of his students and it made the whole experience very enjoyable for learning. I would recommend this class to students even outside of the Fashion and Apparel studies program because I think everyone could benefit from the knowledge that this class provides and make us all better consumers!

    1. I agree – this class really did open my eyes to all the issues that exist within the industry. I also learned a lot of information via different learning formats such as the case studies, videos, lectures, and reading assignments. Dr. Lu’s passion truly did help me to learn much more about the global industry, such as trade, tariffs, and much more.

  22. I have taken away so much from the FASH 455 course, and I have found it to be one of my favorite courses I have taken on this campus. Prior to taking this course I was unaware of how important the global and apparel trade policies were to my major and the fashion industry. The most interesting part of the course to me was; learning the responsibilities of factory owners, fashion brands, and all parties involved in souring apparel overseas. Seeing a glimpse into how important these roles are a huge eye opener for myself and my other classmates. As young professionals, graduates, and shoppers ourselves it’s imperative we strive for our industry to be better as a whole, to make sure nothing like the tragedy at Rana Plaza ever happens again. Our decisions as new members of the industry will have an effect on generations to come and people all over the world. If I’m being honest this course was a bit challenging at times because this was my first time participating in discussions about trade policies, supply chains, global trading, etc. Sheng Lu made the material interesting and interactive which helped me understand and relate to the material. I am glad I got to take this class and learn more about a side of the industry that I will certainly be hearing about in my career.

  23. This semester, I have learned so many different things from Fash455. I did not realize the extent of globalization throughout not only the United States but through the EU and Asia. I believe that the information I have learned will be very useful in the future. This class was one of the most interesting classes that I have taken throughout my time here at the University of Delaware. Before this class, I never realized how many different steps and processes go through making one item. That item’s parts can be from more than 1 country and that was when I realized how important globalization is for the textile and apparel industry. I learned how trade policies can affect outputs and inputs from countries and how important trade policies are when it comes to sourcing. I believe that this class will be very useful in the future when working in the fashion industry because I will have knowledge of trade policies, trade theories and globalization and I will know what can and cannot be possible in terms of these things. This is a class that I think would be beneficial to anybody who is interested in a job that does work overseas.

  24. I am so thankful to have been enrolled in this course while in my senior year of college. I can take what I have learned in FASH455 and apply it to my future career. From knowing what I do about product trading and sourcing, I will have a better idea and perspective of what is to come in the future and how it may effect me. I really hope that non-majors at UD enroll in this course as it includes important information everyone should know. I now understand why this is a required course! There are so many jobs involved in this ever-growing part of the industry. It is incredibly eye-opening to learn about the global marketplace and its fluctuations when it comes to politics. I want to continue reading this blog and other articles online pertaining to current events on trading and sourcing.
    I really loved how we had class discussions nearly every class because I heard multiple perspectives on certain subjects. Everyone is so smart and intuitive, and we all bring so much to the table when it comes to opinions that we can back up. I loved hearing from my peers and talking through real-life issues. It also helped to have such a fun and passionate professor— this made it easier to do all of the readings because the discussion the following day would be so purposeful and meaningful. I’m excited to bring the knowledge I have gained from this course into the workplace and into the fashion industry!

  25. FASH455 has truly opened my eyes to a different side of the fashion industry that I was not aware of before taking this class. I did not have a lot of understanding about this course or the details related to the supply chain in the US or globally. I did not realize how much political factors affects the fashion industry with tariffs and trade agreements with other countries. I also did not realize the importance of creating alliances with other countries as well as trade barriers between specific countries. This class has opened my eyes up to a whole new side of the fashion industry that I did not know I would be interested in. I am fascinated by everything that this course has given to me and I wish there were more classes like this one in the FASH department. Overall, FASH455 has made me mindful before becoming an employee in the fashion industry on what is important to know about the supply chain, tariffs and trade agreements with other countries.

  26. FASH455 was one of my favorite classes that I have taken! We always learn about different issues such as sustainability in other classes, but this really opened my eyes to other major things going on in the world that affect the fashion industry. Going into this course, I did not have a lot of knowledge of topics such as the tariffs, trade barriers, and trade agreements between countries. It was interesting to learn really what goes into even being able to trade with other countries, and I did not realize how much it was, because we are so immune to our garments being created in other countries. I also did not realize how intense supply chains were within the industry, and that something can be partially produced in one country, but then be moved to another, and the country of origin label is really just where it was finished being created. I got so much out of this course that I will be able to apply to many things in the future as I become a young professional within this industry!

    1. Thank you! glad to learn this! It is truly an exciting time to teach/take FASH455 because of these on-going trade issues!

  27. FASH455 pleasantly surprised me this semester. Going into the course, I did not know much about the global apparel industry and wasn’t sure if I would be interested in this part of the industry. Sheng Lu changed my mind! This class is extremely relevant right now which made me excited to come into class everyday. I learned about a lot of different issues in our textile and apparel industry and feel like I took away a lot of information I would not have known if it wasn’t for FASH455. Out of all the classes I took this semester (still love FASH330) this was the most interesting to me. It was one of the most well taught classes I have taken at UD during my 4 years. FASH455 and Sheng Lu wants students to get involved and that shows through every student participating during class without having to be called on!

  28. I was surprised at how much information I actually retained in this class. I usually zone out in non-design classes, but FASH455 was one of my favorite classes this semester. Learning about the balance between the US textile and apparel industries was very interesting; before this class, I always thought that both industries worked hand in hand as one. After reading case studies, attending lectures, and being involved in discussions, I’ve learned that there is so much more that goes into how the T&A sectors operate. I also really loved how much sustainability and social responsibility come with each sector. 455 has definitely influenced how I think of sourcing textiles, manufacturing apparel on a large scale, and the social and political factors that come from our industry. Thanks Dr. Lu!

    1. I definitely agree with the fact that it is so easy to zone out in non-design classes, but I also felt engaged and interested in the content for FASH455. I feel as though I learned a lot about the industry, specific to sustainability and social responsibility, just like haylrich. Before this course, I assumed that the textile and apparel industries were the same, but after taking this course I’ve learned how they are different, yet they work together. I, too, will now be much more conscious when sourcing fabrics or working with other sectors of the textile and apparel industry in the future.

  29. This course on global T&A trade and sourcing has really opened my eyes to what it means to be a globalized industry. I learned the word globalization in a high school history class, but after this semester, it has an entirely new and important meaning to me. In order to be successful in the fashion industry, which I plan to do in my future career, I need to be aware of policies that will affect my company’s ability to interact in domestic and international business. I have found myself using information and terminology, regarding trade and globalized sourcing, in other course’s assignments and even job applications. This course can be very intimidating, but I have a newfound interest in trade and sourcing because of 455.

  30. After taking this class, I feel as though I am much more capable of speaking to global issues related to the Textile and Apparel industry. I now am aware of much more than I was previously and can speak about topics such as trade, origin, working conditions, tariffs, automation, barriers, yarn-forward, and short supply list. FASH455 was a vital course for my degree because it proves that careers in fashion and the apparel and textile industry are much more than just “fashion magazines,” “sewing,” and “shopping.”

    I now feel like I can share knowledge about trade agreements, conditions, and sourcing in the supply chain, which are very much relevant to what I do as an apparel design student. Even if I don’t personally deal with these topics in my sector of the supply chain, it is valuable to be aware of the globalization of the industry and factors that influence the end product.

  31. FASH 455 has been one of my favorite classes at UD, and I took it in my final semester! I’ve learned so much about world economics, international relations, global trade and sourcing, the implications that come from sourcing and manufacturing abroad and ensuring that all labor is ethical and sustainable, and how critical fashion is to politics and the global economy! This class has taught me so much in just one semester, and is an area of the fashion industry I am proud to say I am well-versed in and hope to continue learning about. It is important for people in all levels of a fashion company/retailer to be involved in the sustainability and ethical, legal production of goods. In the future as a fashion industry professional, I would love to get the chance to visit a factory abroad where my company manufactures goods to ensure that we are not doing any harm and are making the most sustainable products, and to have the peace of mind that we are a socially responsible and ethical company. So many of the concepts we discussed in class I had never even heard of: yarn-forward, rules of origin, factory audits, all of the trade laws and barriers, and comparative advantage.

  32. This is one of my favorite classes I have taken at UD. I learned so many valuable things about the economy and how fashion really makes it from hand designs to the store floor. It is about so much more than we think it is. The global supply chain is something we often forget about because we don’t see ourselves as a part of it. I have learned to understand different trade policies, economies, and how product moves around the world. I now know why China is a go to for so much. I can understand the advantages of making apparel in China but can still see the positives to using NAFTA and CAFTA. Taking this course I have learned things I wouldn’t normally see on the news or on social media. It has opened my eyes to things I don’t normally focus on. The industry I am about to work in has impacts on a country’s economy, wellbeing, and growth, but also has the power to create political, social, and economic issues. At times, this course has bene tough for me to grasp, but I still enjoy coming to class and learning something I didn’t know before.

  33. I really enjoyed taking Fash455, and was maybe one of my favorite classes I have taken at University of Delaware. This class is full of information that is valuable to know in the future. I’ve learned a lot about economics, global trade, manufacturing processes, sustainability and so much more. In this class we really focused on learning how important fashion is to the world and the economy in many different aspects. I never really knew how important fashion was to other resources until I took this class which was really cool to me. We touched up a lot about the global supply chain, and also learned a lot about the United States competitors, for example China. We learned a lot about the advantages and disadvantages they have for one another. After taking this class, I have a ton more knowledge for globalization and why it is so important .

  34. Fash 455 was definitely an eye opening class. I have never been interested in trade policies or the global supply trade in general. I now understand why it is important for everyone in the fashion industry to be aware of tariffs, trade barriers, and trade agreements because it affects every single person within the industry. I loved learning about how much goes into making just one garment. Usually when i looked at my clothes i just thought of the store in which i purchased them from, now i am interested in all the places involved in making just one garment. Overall, this class is a topic that could’ve been dry and somewhat boring but Professor Lu made it very interesting and always made sure everyone was involved in class discussions.

  35. I learned a lot from FASH 455, although the topic is not the strong suit I felt that I was really able to learn about this other side of the fashion industry. I had little to no knowledge about this subject with how tariffs and the globalization of fashion worked. We don’t really think about how politics has to do with the clothes we wear but its the reason we have clothes to begin with. I took notice of the politics in every day, when the announcement was made about the new tariffs with China my first thought was of this class and of all the new impacts that I now understood.

  36. I have taken s o much away from FASH455, one thing that I liked about this class was that pieces from each section we learned about intertwined with one of my other classes, or pertained to the outside world, such as what arguments are going on in congress, or what new trade laws or tariffs the president wants to implement. Even though this class does not seem like a “fashion” class, I was able to see how everything we learned throughout this class is a major effect on the fashion industry. Globalization is such an important factor in the fashion industry. Brands and retailers are trading and sourcing with other countries every day. I understand why it is so important for these players within the fashion industry to be aware of things such as social responsibilities after hearing about the Rana Plaza factory, and learning about unauthorized subcontracting. I understand why countries choose to source from the countries that they do because of trade barriers, cheaper labor, better factories, demographics, and even choosing to source with under developed countries to help their economy. I also learned that trade policy is so difficult to make. The textile and brand/retail sides are both at odds and it is difficult to please both sides. I enjoyed hearing from guest speakers and people within the industry, as well as hearing about the political side of these issues to better educate myself on what is going on in the world today. This class really taught me that even though people often undermine the fashion merchandising major, this industry is connected to so many important factors in the world that most people are unaware of.

  37. Fash455 has created a passion in me to be able to answer the questions that are yet to have good answers. I want to make the growth of the global T&A industry equal and inclusive. I want to find a solution for helping LDC’s have fair working conditions. I want to be able to find a way for the industry to be able to grow with technology while not losing all jobs. I want to be able to make trade policy that can effectively solve environmental and sustainability issues. I feel like I now have the information to begin to answer these questions. The readings and the topics in class challenged me to understand the inter-connectivity of the industry. I now can see how trade policies, building collapses, or politics in one country can have an impact on the entire global industry. This class was not only about concepts like comparative advantage and yarn-forward rules of origin, but was about what these concepts mean and how they truly apply to the real life actions of T&A corporations.

  38. *I just typed a huge response and when I posted it deleted so I am going to summarize what I said*

    I have learned so much through FASH455 and feel so blessed to have the opportunity to have taken this class! Not only did I learn so much about trade across the globe and how important globalization is to our relationships with other countries- but I have also learned about how much of an impact we make as consumers. I have always been fascinated by foreign policy and politics- so be able to apply it to fashion has truly been a wonderful opportunity. One of the biggest take aways that I had was realizing how much impact I have as both a consumer within the fashion industry as well as a future employee. Each of our selfish decisions can be detrimental over seas, and it is incredibly important to be aware of the impact that our desire for fast fashion has on work conditions, pay, and life over seas. I look forward to applying all I have learned in my future jobs!

    1. I agree with this, that it is so important to realize the impact of our purchases within the apparel and textile industry. Everyone should take into consideration who made their clothing and where it is coming from.

  39. By taking FASH455, I feel that my eyes have been opened to so many pressing issues and complications in the fashion world. Before taking this class I really did not know much about trade policies and how global trade worked. I have found that the topics discussed in this class and the things that I have learned have begun to translate into my my other classes as well as my life. I have often caught myself using the jargon learned and having discussions with others on topics such as FTA’s , which is something I had not been able to to in the past. By working on all of the case studies, I feel that I have grasped such a strong understanding of the topics learned in this course. Overall, I feel that FASH455 has enhanced my intelligence and has given me knowledge that will truly help me advance in my career in fashion.

  40. I personally have been able to take away more from FASH455 than any of the other classes I have as a part of my fashion minor. Not only because I got to learn more about the behind the scenes aspects of the fashion industry but also about things I didn’t get to usually learn about like trade policy and politics. The topics discussed in this class exposed me to a side of the fashion industry I had never really taken an interest in before but getting to learn about them and discuss them in class really opened my eyes. FASH455 has given me an experience I would not have been able to gain without learning about everything going on in the world of fashion.

  41. I was lucky enough to have Dr. Lu twice this semester for two different classes and I can honestly say that I have never enjoyed going to class so much. To go into a class such as 455 where I really knew none of the topics we were going to discuss, I feel the amount of information I have learned and absorbed is tremendous. Dr. Lu made each lecture enjoyable and always with a smile on his face, yet still managed to teach us so in-depth about the world of trade and sourcing. This class gave me a new perspective on the fashion industry as a whole making me realize how much actually goes into creating garments. I would have never been exposed to this side of the industry if it was not for FASH455 and I really am so thankful for it. I plan to continue following these topics on my own time and staying up to date with the latest news relating to trade worldwide.

  42. Having Sheng Lu for FASH455 I feel I’ve gained so much new knowledge about the apparel industry regarding economic and political concepts especially in our case studies. I now know how important trade and sourcing is globally in the textile and apparel world and how it differs in different countries. This is something I feel not most people know a lot about this industry and all the work that goes on behind it.

  43. I have learned a lot from FASH455 that I did not know prior to taking the course. I knew that there were unethical labor practices occurring within the fashion industry, but I did not know the extent of the tragedies that occur in these factories and the amount of people that are affected by this. Another interesting thing that I took away from this class was how large the global marking really is. I previously understood that the apparel and textile supply chains required the involvement of multiple countries in some cases, and it was interesting to learn how many different countries can really be involved in manufacturing just one single garment. With this complicated supply chain, I additionally learned all of the issues that come along with it including: trade barriers, tariffs, unfair trade practices, and more. Im glad I have a deeper understanding of where our clothing and fabrics come from, and all of the moving parts that goes into it.

  44. I have learned so much from Fash455 over the past few months. Attending lecture and reading different assigned articles, I gained knowledge about trade, the global supply chain, and relationships between countries that I had no prior insight on. Throughout this course, Sheng Lu has taught me about the importance of global trade and the T&A industry. The T&A industry could simply not survive without trade between countries which is the most important take away from this class. Now currently in politics there is so much trade debate with President Trump and his outlook on trade policies. I am interested to see how Trump administers his trade policies and be able to understand how they will impact the fashion industry.

  45. I have learned a lot from FASH455 and it changed my mind about fashion industry. I used to think the fashion industry is only about retailing and customer service. However, after taking this course, I learned about the fiber and fabric sourcing. Moreover, it was a very interesting class and I learned more than just taking a college course.

  46. Taking 455 has opened my eyes to a whole new side of the fashion industry. I think a lot of people majoring in fashion didn’t even fully realize that trade, sourcing and supply chain are all career paths. Although these aren’t the most glamorous jobs in the fashion industry, they may arguably be the most important jobs in the industry.

  47. Personally, I took away a much greater understanding of Brexit and how it will effect European countries. Trade policy is important for people in the fashion industry to understand and be aware of.

  48. My take away from this course has been plentiful. To summarise what I have learned in this course; I think this course give fashion majors, no matter in designing or the more relevant fashion merchandising direction, a more detailed understanding in global apparel and textile business. With examples ranging from shifting manufacturing from US to overseas to current situations with textile suppliers in North Carolina, we are able to comprehend the actual situation of US-China and other regional trade conflicts and deals and their impacts on each party, it is important to know the actual impacts of these activities as their influence on apparel and textile are differentiated but vital.

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