What Do You Take Away from FASH455?

I encourage everyone to watch the two short videos above, which provide an excellent wrap-up for FASH455 and remind us of the meaning and significance of our course. BTW, the names of several experts featured in the video should sound familiar to you, such as 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 (former 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, and the phenomenon of intra-region T&A trade in Europe). Last but not least, we looked at unique and critical trade policies that matter significantly to the T&A sector (e.g., U.S.-China tariff war and the yarn-forward rules of origin) as well as the complicated factors behind the making of these trade policies. Whether 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 the impact of COVID-19 on apparel sourcing and trade, apparel companies’ social responsibility practices, the debate on the textile and apparel provisions in the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement (USMCA or NAFTA2.0)  to the controversy of used clothing trade. It is critical to keep in mind that we wear more than 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.

Likewise, I hope FASH455 can put students into thinking about why “fashion” matters. A popular misconception is that “fashion and apparel” 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, over 120 million people remain directly employed in the T&A industry globally, and a good proportion of them are females living in poor rural areas. For most developing countries, T&A typically accounts for 70%–90% of their total merchandise exports and provides one of the very few opportunities for these countries to participate in globalization. The spread of COVID-19, in particular, reveals the enormous social and economic impacts of the apparel sector and many problems that need our continuous efforts to make an improvement. 

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

  • How has COVID-19 fundamentally and permanently changed the pattern of apparel sourcing and trade?
  • How to make the growth of the 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, AI and digital technologies change the future landscape of apparel sourcing, trade, and job opportunities?
  • How to use trade policy as a tool to solve tough global issues such as labor practices and climate change?
  • Is inequality a problem caused by global trade? If global trade is the problem, what can be the alternative?

Unfortunately, these questions have no good answers yet. However, 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.

Dr. Sheng Lu

Author: Sheng Lu

Professor @ University of Delaware

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

  1. I feel like I have learned so much through take this course, and I am so glad that I did. I am a sophomore, and I am trying to minor in fashion management, this is one of the courses that I needed to take in order to fulfill my minor. I saw that this was a senior level class and did not know if it would be hard for me to take or if I would have difficulty. This class does have hard aspects to it but I think talking about things in class, the case studies, and the weekly discussion help me to understand everything a lot more. The content we learn in Fash 455 is something I needed to learn in order to understand fashion considering we talked about textiles, apparel, sourcing, and trade which are how we get our fashion. Some things I can take away from this course and have learned more into depth is the Trade war between the U.S. and China, Trade organizations like TPP and NAFTA, where a lot of our clothing comes from textile and apparel and developing countries. Overall, my biggest take away from this class which I would really like to start implementing in my life are what brands/companies are taking care of their workers in other countries. This subject is something I will never forget especially because I had never heard of the Rana Plaza incident until this class. I found it sad that companies do not always disclose where they import their products from, and if they care about if their workers are working in good conditions. It was sad to be that people in other countries had died just to make something that is sold in the U.S., and especially that they were getting paid such low wages also. Something else added into the course because of the timing is how Covid-19 has impacted the fashion industry, and of course how it is affecting trade between countries and sourcing. This class was very interesting, and I would recommend students, in fashion (major or minor) or not, to take this course just for the knowledge.

    1. Thank you! glad to learn! Indeed, it has been both challenging and “exciting” to teach/learn FASH455 this fall semester because of so many things going on, from COVID, trade war to the presidential election…i do hope when students read news about trade, they can recall our class 🙂

  2. Throughout this course, I feel like I have learned about many essential topics and relevant events that have happened in the past regarding the fashion industry. When trying to understand the current fashion industry, the only way is to fully have an understanding and knowledge on the past. The past always catches up with the present, and past issues, laws, etc., is ever-changing, but the foundation and roots of it will always be there. When talking about trading, sourcing, the textile and apparel sectors in the US, and globally, I have learned a lot of information that I always knew but did not take into account when thinking about the industry today. The US Trade War will always be an event that I wish I learned and understood sooner, as it is a very important topic that has major impacts on other areas of the fashion industry and the world. One topic from FASH455 that I will always remember and have the most knowledge on, in my opinion, was the case study of the Rana Plaza factory building in Bangladesh. Through this case study, I was able to evaluation the acts of various amounts of different groups of people that each had a major impact on the factory building collapsing. Since the case study, I have wanted to become more aware of the clothing I was buying, and exactly where it was being sourced and manufactured from. This class has been a favorite of mine throughout my college career, and I will take the topics I learned in this class forward with me.

  3. I can’t express enough how much I’ve learned from this course! From learning about globalization, the U.S.-China trade wars, and the different kinds of trade theories I feel very well versed in global apparel/textile trade and sourcing. Although these topics weren’t always easy, the type of learning in this class made things a lot easier to comprehend. The zoom meetings once a week to review the modules as well as guest speakers to drive home topics made topics easier to digest. One topic in FASH455 that I found to be exceptionally interesting was the topics from Case Study 1. Reading about the deadly factory conditions in Bangladesh and the corporate social responsibilities finally happening in third world countries was so intriguing. I didn’t know organizations such as The Accord and The Alliance existed in Bangladesh. I would recommend this course to all students at UD because global trade in some ways effects us all.

  4. I truly believe that I expanded my knowledge of textile trade and sourcing through this course. I am a senior Apparel Design student with my minor in Fashion Management but I have an interest in sourcing and technical design. This course was definitely challenging but manageable. Our weekly zoom sessions really helped the information resonate with me so that I could further my understanding of the concepts discussed. FASH455 was an important course in my education at the University of Delaware because I got the privilege to learn about textiles, sourcing, globalization, manufacturing, labor laws, tariffs, unethical labor, etc. One topic in particular that stood out to me was Rana Plaza and the responsibility of the government, consumer, and factory owners. I hope to one day own my own business and this course made me want to strive to have an ethical and transparent business that focuses on fair treatment in all stages of clothing production/sourcing. I was very disheartened to learn about companies that greenwash and simply don’t care to disclose where and how they manufacture products. Corporate social responsibility is so important and I hope to see or make a change in the industry in my lifetime.

  5. FASH 455 has provided me with a great foundation of the industry and has helped me delve deeper into the “big picture”. If everyone in the industry could take this class, they should. Prior to the course most of my fashion knowledge was conceptual and creative from calculations, to showrooms, and mood boards. I hadn’t ever discussed the economic role in the fashion industry- this class has taught me an overview of the patterns of global trade in the textile and apparel industry. I am most fascinated with the debate between domestic production and the rising interest vs. the US in the global market. Taking this class in 2020 has also added a real life perspective to the inside of the world around us and a glimpse of what’s to come in the field. Discussing the patterns of trade and production, it is interesting to apply it to the economic downfall now. The shifts beginning to take place in real world retail are directly correlated with the economic status of the country. Due to the lack of spending money from job shortages there has been less spent on goods as compared to other years. I am going to take this concept and see if the shift of US economics continues to change. I am intrigued to see where the current negotiations and tariffs between Asia and the United States will go in the next few months. I can probably predict that there will be a rise in “Made in USA” labels; supported by many of the articles provided throughout the course because more tariffs will likely be imposed on global markets and there will be an increase in domestic demand.

    1. This class has opened my eyes to the expansive world of the fashion industry- all the good and the bad. As much as the fashion industry is booming, there are many things we can work on together, not just as a country but as a whole. We can all work towards sustainability and better working conditions for people everywhere. I realized from this class the horrors of fast fashion and how our driving demand for cheaper goods can in return lead to events like the horrible Bangladesh tragedy and underpaid, overworked employees. I also learned about the recent impacts of COVID-19 on the fashion industry and its effects on globalization- some that may be very long-lasting. It was very interesting to take this class in the midst of a pandemic and really learn more about the world around me. I never knew much about the NAFTA trade agreement before this class or in fact many trade agreements in general. I really think the expansive amount of information I have gained from this class will help me in my fashion career for years to come and I will work more towards being a more sustainable shopper with my own buying habits.

  6. This class gave me a perspective on the apparel industry that I did not get from going to art school and majoring in Fashion Design. I knew that the supply chain and human rights was a major issue but I didn’t have any idea about how trade deals can shape the sourcing practices of the companies I’ve worked for. The topics that were the most interesting to me are about globalization and inequality and the impact of free trade agreements. There is widespread and systemic economic inequality in the US and in these manufacturing nations so learning how to create responsible trade and sourcing practices is crucial. The problem is that inequality in America prevents mass consumption of sustainable apparel. What we need is a massive PSA campaign that doesn’t fade away after the 24 hour news cycle in order to continually engrain the notion of social and environmental responsibility for the American pubic. Too often fashion is discussed only after a specific tragedy and then fades into a distant memory but we need it to constantly be talked about if we hope to sway consumer shopping behavior. This is a conversation that needs to be on the forefront of every consumer’s mind. Our government should also look at ways of stimulating green apparel consumption considering that it can be viewed as a public good. We NEED green apparel consumption for the sake of the planet and all the supply chain workers.

  7. This course has not only provided me with a strong foundation of the T&A industry as a whole but has certainly given me the essential understanding to become a professional within the fashion industry. This course required a higher thinking and more critical view of what is happening in the industry today. Learning about globalization, trade theories, and manufacturing has been exceptionally interesting. My favorite assignment for this course would have to be our Sustainable Cotton Sourcing Project. I loved taking everything I have learned and seeing firsthand my impacts on the supply chain. This course was amongst the most interesting I have taken at this University and would certainly recommend it to all other students!

  8. There are many concepts I have learned in this course that I feel hold a great deal of importance. The trade theories helped me understand a deeper level of how the apparel industry works as a whole. Learning about policies are important to prevent harmful events from reoccurring in the future, such as the Rana Plaza. I agree that fashion is misunderstood by many people who lack awareness. People often miss the bigger picture and lack to understand that their buying choices have an impact on the world and other people. It stands out to me that clothing should be ethically sourced, and more people of the general public should become aware of factors such as where their clothing is coming from or who made it. Cheap clothing for purchase is not worth the cost if it puts other humans in danger. I now have the habit of checking what countries my clothing was made in and have grown curious of which brands value ethics and safety of their workers. I believe by supporting these brands it can make a small difference in the right direction.

  9. I really do not know how I would be able to stay in the loop about any current events in the T&A industry if it weren’t for this class. I love how in the news our discussions are, we are always focusing on the future rather than the past. The blog posts genuinely help me reflect on the discussions and articles I have read, further utilizing our learnings. I have learned about globalization, trade policy, tariffs, and current events. This class has made me able to understand the current political issues involving fashion especially during a strange period for American history regarding politics. I have been able to watch the news and understand these “trade wars” and how the government is responding to these situations. I thought it was great that we began the semester regarding an ethical working environment. It flowed perfectly into the rest of the semester and the topics we later discussed. I am truly going to miss this class and having you as a professor!

  10. This course was really enlightening to me. I was really unaware of all the complexities behind global trade, and how much it effects me directly. I have always wondered how the structure of trade patterns differed across countries. And, I can confidently say that I know a great deal about those we talked about –ie the flying geese model and the intra-regional trade in the EU. Frankly, I hadn’t known much about how supply chains worked prior to this class. The entire process seemed really foreign to me, and I hadn’t realized how my major opens up opportunity to be apart of changing it–hopefully to more sustainably and ethically. I also had the opportunity to think more critically about trade policies through discussion posts. That, if not for this class, I surely never would have pondered. I feel that my education as a FM major is very fashion and business related. This class was a dose of relevant politics that I think rounded out my entire academic career. I am really thankful to have had Dr. Lu as a professor because his passion and knowledge for the course is incredible.

  11. Taking FASH455 has really opened my eyes to the many layers that are involved within the textile and apparel industry. This class really forced me to study the industry and learn about the global supply chain from both ends of the spectrum. I enjoyed reading the blog articles and news articles because that was my main source of learning information. If I had not taken the class, I would not have been aware of the many trade policies that exist, as well as the political issues that plague the global supply chain. This class also helped me to realize just how complicated the supply chain is, and although issues do exist, there are so many moving parts that it is hard to come up with the right solution. In particular, this class really opened my eyes to the importance of ethical sourcing. Living in the US as a US consumer blinds you to the truth behind where your clothing came from and who made it. I owe it to this class for allowing me to become a more conscious consumer, as well as becoming much more educated on the global supply chain. This class will definitely help me in my future career within the textile and apparel manufacturing industry.

  12. My main interest regarding the fashion industry is the anthropology of sustainable fashion, encompassing both the evolution of CSR & sustainability commitments by multinational fashion corporations and the subsequent transition to stakeholder capitalism, and smaller-scale maker movements that reject industrialism and link sustainability with locality. FASH455 has helped me to gain both specific and general understandings about how the fashion industry operates and the historical & geopolitical context for why it operates in this way, which has been instrumental in broadening my perspectives related to my interests. I especially enjoyed learning about the progression of trade theories from 15th century mercantilism to the modern-day international division of labor theory, and how 21st century trade heavily relies on a delicate web of specialized production, globalized trade, and FTAs. I am glad that I was able to take this course during the Covid-19 pandemic, as the foundations of this system are being challenged. It has caused me to think a lot about the future of sourcing for the fashion industry, and whether the pandemic is a strong enough catalyst for the transition to a newer and more sustainable approach to sourcing. As with all of the best classes I have taken so far at UD, I am left with more questions than answers now that we are approaching the final, and I look forward to continuing to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the industry!

  13. I have learned so much from this course and it has sparked an interest for me in global sourcing. I am majoring in Fashion Merchandising and have had two internships in buying. I did not love either of those and felt at a loss of what I wanted to do. After taking this course, I am looking for jobs in sourcing because it is very interesting and important to the fashion industry. I have truly learned how sourcing affects all areas of the fashion industry and is needed to get the job done. I have always shopped for the cheaper product or best deal but now that I know the damage that is done to workers and their livelihood, I am focused more on buying sustainable and ethical clothing. I have never paid attention or understood the trade wars until this class. FASH 455 has been the most interesting and news related course I have taken. It makes the class must more interesting to relate learning topics to current events rather than textbook definitions. Learning about Rana Plaza was a wake up call of how shopping is so much more than just buying a cute top. I am excited to continue research on my own and apply what I have learned from this course!

    1. Hi Chloe! I share a similar experience because this class also sparked an interest for me in sourcing. Buying is extremely important but sourcing really has so many opportunities for growth in sustainable practices. I love learning new ways to solve sustainability issues, and I can see from your blog post that sustainability and ethics are also important to you.

  14. Fash455 has been an extremely eye-opening course for me. Not only have I furthered by knowledge of sourcing and trade, but I have learned that fashion is much more complex than trends and runways. The COVID-19 pandemic added an interesting learning element and it was insightful to learn just how the pandemic has effected fashion companies all across the globe. I also liked how many assignments fostered learning by asking for our opinions and ideas. One of my favorite projects was cotton sourcing. Although I thought that I regularly shop in a sustainable way, the cotton sourcing project enlightened me. Even my 100% organic cotton Patagonia t-shirt only received a B rating. Patagonia is a brand that prides themselves on sustainability and they still have much room for improvement. I am also much more interested in a job in sourcing after this course. I love the complexity of sourcing and how many fashion companies are pushing for more sustainable sourcing practices. I thoroughly enjoyed this course and will continue to further my knowledge for sourcing in the future.

  15. FASH455 has been one of my favorite and most educational classes at UD & as a fashion student. I gained so much new knowledge on important economic phenomena such as trade theories, impacts of globalization, trade agreements, different consumer markets, supply chains, and so much more. I feel like I learned more about global economics in this course than I did in all of ECON101 & 103!! Although I do not see myself going down any of the career paths in fashion that have to directly deal with these subject matters, having the working knowledge of these topics will benefit me greatly being in the industry as a professional, and just for my own personal knowledge. You once stated in class that if you know the workings of the T & A trade industry, you can understand trade in any industry – and I truly agree with this. I am able to have conversations with my brother (who is a finance and economics major) about so many different trade theories and the positive and negative impacts of them, and I am even able to comprehend current news and events better, especially in relation to trade with China.
    This is a class I will carry with me forever and I am so grateful for all that I learned!

  16. posted on behalf of Julie Robertson

    I think that no matter if you are a fashion major or not, learning about the T&A industry is so important because it is so essential to our economy. Especially now with Covid-19, it is more apparent then ever that our world revolves around international trade and it is so vital for our development as a country. It could be very discouraging for us fashion major to be going into the world of fashion in this very difficult time, but you have taught us that there is so much that needs to be done. I have learned a great deal from taking this course and I truly believe I will take this knowledge with me when I enter the industry. I don’t think that I would’ve been up to date on such relevant topics in fashion if it weren’t for this course. Just like other class members have said, Fash455 has been one of the most interesting classes I have taken throughout my time at Delaware. As a graduating senior in the upcoming fall, I look forward to exploring my options in the industry. Before this class, I wasn’t aware of how many different job options there were. It was very eye-opening for me to see how much potential growth there can be in the industry. I’ve also enjoyed these blog posts because it was a unique way of interacting with the class and staying up to date on current events. Lastly, Fash455 has taught me to look at the big picture. Sometimes in the US we tend to not look at conditions in other countries, but I have definitely learned that there are much larger issues around the world that need to be addressed.

  17. Fash 455 has been one of the most knowledgeable, eye opening classes I have ever taken. As the education system is becoming more history based and teaching students on the past, this class has offered current, real world experiences and information, and has given me access to industry professionals and breaking news! Since this has been the first sourcing class I have had, I did not expect much coming in. However after taking this class, I feel so understanding of the current global industries and sourcing issues, news, and tasks. I would definitely want to learn more about sourcing in the future, but I am very grateful to now have a background on what to expect.

  18. FASH455 has been one of my favorite and most knowledgeable classes that I have ever taken. It is highly connected with what’s happening in the real world. It teaches me how to utilize and apply the knowledge that I learnt into the real world. Through interacting and communicating with the guest speakers, I would be able to learning and access to the professionals in the fashion industry and first hand news about the industry. FASH455 gives me a realistic and professional view of the textile and apparel industry. After taking this course, I believe I could have a deeper and clear understanding about the textile and apparel industry through a more rational and reality prospective. This course extends the definition of fashion industry for me. Fashion is no longer concentrate on those countries or cities that are well-know for fashion, globalization makes every country becomes a participant of the fashion.

  19. FASH455 is my favorite class that I have taken throughout my studies at UD. Not only have I learned about many aspects of the fashion industry that I was not familiar with before, but I have taken away many sourcing practices that I hope to see become more prevalent in the industry in years to come. This “real world” class has made me want to become more involved with the current events happening within the fashion industry and shown me the importance of doing so. Beyond just large corporations, certain tariffs and trade deals may have an effect on many companies globally, and this class has allowed me to see the importance of these events. FASH455 has opened my eyes to all aspects of the fashion industry and taught me to look at the bigger picture. This class has given me a deeper knowledge of aspects like the economy, even further than my economics classes ever have. I feel that this class has provided me with the opportunity to make myself not only a more knowledgeable student but a consumer as well. I will continue to use what I have learned in this class for years to come and can credit most of my knowledge of the fashion industry to this course.

  20. FASH 455 has provided me with a great foundation of economics and the role it plays in “fashion” which makes up the textile and apparel industry. Prior to this class most of my fashion knowledge was conceptual and creative from buying calculation, showrooms and retail floors. I hadn’t discussed the economic role in the fashion industry- this class has taught me an overview of the patterns of global trade in the textile and apparel industry. I am most fascinated with the debate between domestic production and the rising interest vs, the US in the global market. Taking this class in such a monumental period of time has also added a real life perspective to the world around us and a prediction of what’s next. Discussing the patterns of trade and production, it is interesting to apply it to the economic downfall now. The shifts beginning to take place in real world retail are directly coherent with the economic status of the country.

  21. FASH445 was my fourth fashion class at UD and it was almost completely different from the other ones I took. It really helped me understand the textile and apparel industry on a global scale. Who knew how interconnected we really are and how much we rely on other countries for our own products! Learning that design is really done in the U.S. but that we import garments from all over the world in huge quantities. I also didn’t know how big the textile industry was in the United States but now come to realize that it is one of our biggest exports. I feel like it is important for everyone to learn about this course because of how relevant it is today!

  22. This course was unlike any fashion course I have taken at The University of Delaware. This course has taught me many aspects of the fashion industry including Global Textile and Apparel Trade. I have taken many Economics classes in college and high school, and have never been able to learn about The Textile and Apparel Industry’s impact on the economy. To me, the T&A Industry had always been a small part of the US economy until taking this class. I did not realize how much the global textile and apparel trade effects our economy and directly effects me and the line of work I hope to enter. I really enjoyed being up to date with current events in the fashion industry through this course, especially the reports and lectures on the US and China trade agreements. From this course I believe I am more prepared to enter into the workforce in the fashion industry because of my deeper understanding of it’s economics!

  23. FASH455 has broadened my knowledge of the fashion industry in a global sense. Thanks to this class I have a strong understanding of supply chains, trade agreements, sourcing complications & opportunities, and better general understanding of international markets. This course allowed me to study fashion in a global economic sense, which is far different than the creative part of my mind that I usually utilize in my studies. I have always been an advocate that fashion connects us all and is one of the only industries that truly every individual on our planet participates in, and through the presentation of current events in the context of fashion through this course that has been proven to be correct. This curse brings real-world information to us fashion students, and although historical perspective is important in our studies, this is an industry of innovation and adaptation; I am grateful for my learnings from FASH455!

  24. FASH455 was my first 400 level fashion course at UD. I didn’t quite know what to expect going into the course, but I know with certainty that it exceeded my expectations. This course was my first real introduction to applying the business of fashion to the real world. Having real life and real time examples really helped immerse me into the content of the class. Unlike any of my other fashion classes, 455 showed me the ins and outs of the textile and apparel industry and how it operates outside of the US. Being able to see and analyze the fashion world in a more global sense was incredibly informative and will help me in many of my future classes. Another very useful tool utilized in this class were the guest speakers. Throughout this pandemic, specifically as a result of online schooling, many people have felt isolated and out of touch with others. For many of my other classes, I didn’t feel as involved with zoom sessions or pre-recorded lectures as I did with 455, and that is largely due to the guest speaker aspect. We got to hear first hand accounts from people who have been, or are currently involved in the field of fashion. It was both informative and inspiring seeing how passionate these people were about what they do and has motivated me to delve deeper into job opportunities in fashion world.

  25. This course taught me that the clothing industry involves many different fields. By understanding trade policy, current affairs, social development and globalization, they have a new understanding of clothing trade. Analyze the development direction of trade from the perspective of clothing. Under the influence of my family, I pay attention to the clothing trade between China and the United States. This class helped me a lot to become a apparel market analyst.

  26. FASH455 really opened my eyes to what I feel, like the industry really works. Throughout my academic career, I feel like that I learned about the industry on the surface-level. But truly learning about sourcing, especially how sourcing works in different regions, has helped me formed my opinions about how messed up our sourcing model is compared to the EU and Asian-Pacific regions. It was interesting learning about the intricacies of the NAFTA agreement, the USMCA agreement, learning about TPL exemptions, and learning about the clear divide between the U.S. Textile and Apparel industries, and the deals that are being made around the world. It’s a truly fascinating course, and I am thankful that I took it.

  27. Global Apparel Textile Trade & Sourcing has provided me with the necessary information to best prepare myself for a future within this industry. This course has driven my further appreciation for sourcing and I am now better aware of the many components that cohesively mesh to make the textile and apparel industry all that it is today. Furthering sustainable practices and improving upon socially responsible apparel sourcing were two of my favorite topics within this course. Prior to this course I had minimal knowledge as to how worrisome working conditions may be in impoverished areas and this has given me a further appreciation for life itself and all of the opportunities that have come my way and that are to come my way in the future.

  28. Over the course of the semester, I believe FASH455 has been an extremely valuable course, and is one I think every fashion merchandising and design major should take! I think 455 is a great “big picture” course, that has really helped me see the fashion industry from a global sense, that goes far beyond just sketches, mood boards, and store displays. As I’ve taken several fashion courses that have explained different stages of the apparel production cycle (planning, textiles and manufacturing, branding and marketing, etc), this course has helped me understand the economics, policy and trade sides of the industry, and most importantly, how interconnected they are. I’ve gained a valuable understanding of garment-producing countries and corporate-social responsibility practices, trade theories and agreements, as well as insights on the global market and US production. As someone who has an interest in politics, it has also been an interesting semester to learn about the ongoing US-China trade wars that so greatly impact the textile and apparel industry, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic and an intense election year like 2020. I truly loved staying up to date and honestly felt like an industry professional from all of the reports, lectures, guest speakers and insights that were available to us. I think my biggest takeaway from this course is that I’m going to be much more mindful of the brands that I choose to shop at and whether or not they source ethically and take care of their workers.

  29. I think FASH 455 wants us to start paying attention to how T&A transactions revolve around our lives, how they affect the global economy, how to connect with the world, and how to change our daily lives. I think fashion is about the relationship between factories, designers, manufacturers, and transportation in the sales market. However, after contacting some, I found that fashion and the development of each era, and even the development of human nature, have a great deal. relationship. For example, more and more people will start to pay attention to the life of the bottom people in this industry. This is not just an industry, this is the general direction of this trend. So I think that more I want to learn more from this lesson that I would never think about or see before. This is a whole new perspective.

  30. Fash455 has been one of the most impactful and eye-opening courses I have taken here at UD. I think this class is essential for anyone who is hoping to one day have a career in the fashion industry. It has highlighted how large of a role textiles and apparel sourcing play on a global scale. I found this course to be extremely relevant to issues going on in our world today. I loved getting to use real-world examples to form opinions and predictions on how we think trade policies and sourcing will be affected by current events. After taking this course I have a much stronger understanding of what textile and apparel sourcing is and how much goes into this. It also informed me on trade policies and how they specifically impact the fashion industry. Overall I think this course deepened my understanding of the fashion industry on a global scale and was extremely beneficial information to learn about.

  31. This course really opened my eyes to the globalization of the fashion industry and taught me more about trade regulations. I think what I found most interesting was the unit about the western-hemisphere supply chain and the robustness of the US textile industry. I came into the course with the common misconception that most of T&A production and products for the US is outsourced elsewhere. It was fascinating to learn more about trade policy and regulations that allow and promote trade between countries. As someone looking to gain insights about the fashion industry before diving into their career, this course was essential in discussing industry policies. I am much more confident in talking about the complexities of trade and sourcing. It is also a critical time to talk about the effects that covid has had on the industry thus far and look at how the future of the fashion industry could be greatly altered.

  32. posted on behalf of heatherbaughan

    FASH455 has shown me that globalization is a two edged sword. Globalization has benefited the United States immensely, but it has also created many issues. The biggest issue I would like to highlight is the violation of human rights due to offshore manufacturing. Major fashion retailers have moved manufacturing into other countries to help cut production costs, and shift US manufacturing away from apparel and towards more capital intensive goods. While it is logical for the US to do this, there are some major issues with manufacturing in developing or third world countries. The biggest issue is the lack of human rights within these factories, which is addressed in the Rona Plaza case study. It is quite frustrating examining US trade policy and how in depth the rules are, when there is no mention of guidelines for how workers should be treated. The US creates these trade agreements with other countries that have specific rules and regulations, but why are human rights not touched upon? I think the biggest reason is the fear of increased prices due to paying workers a living wage. If globalization keeps progressing at the current rate, human rights will continue to be violated. The only way to combat this issue is to set in place strict policies when trading with countries that do not meet the same human rights standard as the US. Factories must be routinely audited to comply with safety regulations and human rights laws.

  33. fash455 has exceeded all my expectations for a higher level fashion course in the sense of challenging my thinking, expanding my knowledge, and allowing me to relate real life occurrences to an industry that I will one day be working in. Having those real time lectures, articles, and relational videos kept the class intriguing while also insightful. We learned about key takeaways such as sustainability, human rights, globalization, trade regulations and policies, and of course, supply chains. To be able to pinpoint how our country operates within trading goods and the industry is something that will better suit me for conversations with peers, elders, and potential bosses. Fash455 has also taught me about how important the domino effect truly is- especially within trade agreements for different countries, they all have to work in conjunction in order to have the process be as swift as it is.

  34. FASH 455 was chockfull of incredibly informative material that has definitely shaped my understanding of the fashion industry, especially as it pertains to globalization! With my fashion management minor, it’s super relevant for me to know how fashion moves through supply chains around the world and how developing countries’ factories, like the Rana Plaza, need better management in order to reform practices that have led to tragedy in the past. Globalization deals heavily with stakeholders, and policymakers as they are the leaders with the power to make a change in the industry, so I definitely see how the management aspect of my minor comes into play. In general, the world does need a new surge of innovative thinkers versed on the topics learned in this class so that further developments can be made for the future of fashion. Learning about NAFTA, CAFTA-DR, RCEP, rules of origin, and the power of capital-intensive countries versus labor-intensive countries effectively left an imprint with me such that I think I will remember these notions long after this class ends. While FTAs involve some pretty hefty, complex material, it was worth it to me to take the time to digest the information so that I can apply it to future learning endeavors. It’s really cool to know where my clothes come from or how I might be able to trace their path of production before I picked them up in a store. I’m also fascinated by how these policies impact global supply chains and demonstrate a division of labor that the WTO fervently tries to equalize. Truthfully, I’ve learned so much in this minor as all of the classes leading up to, and including, this one have built on each other that makes me feel like I’m achieving my full potential as a college student getting ready to graduate in the Spring!

  35. What is often speculated as an industry revolving around glitz and glamour, FASH455 taught me that the fashion industry is about so much more than what society makes us think is important. Learning the intricacies of globalization compounded with extensive knowledge on major trade agreements really introduced me to a side of fashion that I have come to really appreciate. Living in a first-world country, it is so easy to get caught up in your own life and what seems problematic is nothing to most of the things many people around the world are enduring from being employed in this sometimes most unforgiving industry. Part of me has known about the hardships that a lot of these women endure just from learning about it in past courses, but FASH455 has taught me the complexity of coming up with solutions to these human rights violations. A lot of times it is much more complicated than big fashion retailers throwing money at the issue. I also think that there was no better time than now to take a course like FASH455. As unfortunate as the COVID-19 pandemic is, it has opened the doors to many discussions that nobody would have dreamed we’d be having a year ago. Incorporating the effect of COVID on globalization as a whole has really created a sense of relevancy, and I enjoyed tailoring our discussions to these specific topics. I feel like I cannot express enough how much I have thoroughly enjoyed this course!

  36. I have learned so much on how trade works within the fashion industry and how the supply chain really works. I have learned about all different supply chain policies and the negative impacts it can have on our world, like the Rana Plaza tragedy. It is scary that these kinds of tragedies can occur, however it was so beneficial to focus on current news and how it effects globalization, trade and tariffs. I never really knew what certain trade policies are and how they function. Now I understand how each sector of the world functions with trade and supply chains, specifically in the textile and apparel industry. And with all this new knowledge, I can finally watch the news and understand what they mean with different concepts like NAFTA or “trade wars”. I can now take everything I have learned and apply it to my future career in the T & A industry. Dr. Lu really shoes his passion for the topic, making this course easy to learn and very interesting.

  37. One of main topic areas that I would take away from this post and from this course is the topic of Textile and Apparel. Yes, they are a key “ingredient” to fashion but more importantly, until one really understands that Textile and Apparel are almost two separate industries within the fashion world, one cannot fully appreciate the dynamics of this industry. The average consumer pays no attention to the final product other than whether they like it or not, whether it is in the price range, and probably more importantly, the brand. What they don’t pay attention to is how it is made, how it is sourced and what really went in to making that product.

  38. I learned much more than I have ever expected by taking this class. To be completely honest it was not a class I was looking forward to taking, but it exceeded all of my expectations and I thoroughly enjoyed all that I have learned over the past weeks. I think to work in the fashion industry it is important to have a background in all areas of the industry, not just where you want to focus. I think the knowledge that I have learned in this class will be of use for many years to come. The thing that I feel will have the most importance to me was learning about the various trade agreements, especially the ones where the US is involved. Even though trade has been a lesser talked about topic in previous courses I have taken, I think it has an importance that I never realized before. Learning more about the tragedy of the Rana Plaza factory really opened my eyes more to some issues in the industry. There is such a deep issue in this area and responsible sourcing needs to be taken very seriously by fashion companies. I hope a lesson was learned from this and that nothing similar ever happens again. I am very appreciative of everything I have learned this semester and I would like to say thank you Professor Lu for all of my newly gained knowledge!

  39. This class has truly taught me so much more than I could have ever imagined within such a short time period. I have always struggled with comprehending economics and business strategies, because to me I find it difficult to understand, but Dr. Lu teaches this course with such ease, and provides so much crucial information that is interesting, and fun to learn about. From this course, I learned about the factors of globalization, and how it is affecting us all worldwide. I also learned about so many important trade deals that help countries to trade with each other easily, and how involved the US is with other countries trade wise. In the real world, it is so important to know all backgrounds of fashion, even if you are unknowing of the career path you might lean towards. One topic that we learned about that really stuck with me was the treatment of labor workers in developing countries. After learning about the Rhana Plaza collapse, I realized how little big corporations care for their laborers, and even with multiple laws set forth to avoid tragedies like these, big businesses will still find a way around them. Thank you Professor Lu for all you have taught me during this course!

  40. FASH455 is definitely one of the most valuable fashion classes I’ve ever taken at the University of Delaware while also being one of the most interesting! I was worried going into this class because I have no background knowledge on sourcing and trade but even with taking this class over the accelerated winter semester, I can honestly say this is the most I’ve learned in such a short amount of time. Professor Sheng Lu never ceases to amaze me with his detailed and engaging teaching style and still ranks as my number one favorite professor I’ve ever had at UD. He finds a way to make even online asynchronous classes engaging and relevant and makes the content easy to digest. As I go into the summer with my first corporate buying internship, I’m curious to see how I can apply the knowledge I’ve learned in this class in my internship with Burlington and into the future as well. In this class I learned a lot more about not only how global trade deals work but also about the influence of politics as well. I never thought that I would find politics to be so relevant in one of my fashion classes but it really gave me a new depth of understanding how the world works both inside and outside of the fashion industry. I especially liked the unit on the western-hemisphere free trade agreements. I always knew NAFTA (USMCA) and CAFTA-DR existed but I never knew how much it was connected with the US textile and apparel industry. The concept of a country either being “capital intensive” or “labor-intensive” really stuck me as beneficial to know as I feel like this simple concept has explained a lot to me on the basis of WHY we trade with certain countries and which countries are better at producing certain products.

  41. I am extremely grateful that I was given the opportunity to take FASH455. I believe this class will help me tremendously when entering the Textile and Apparel Industry following graduation. Understanding how trading and sourcing is performed in this industry is super important, and this class really exceeded my expectations on how much I learned from it. I found it super interesting to learn that the US definitely doesn’t have all the resources in house in order to create an entire garment, they need to outsource to do so. I learned that clothing is imported from over 150 different countries in order to be produced. Additionally, there are five trade theories; mercantilism, absolute advantage, comparative advantage, factor proportion theory, and international division of labor. All five of these trade theories work individually in order for us to understand all the different trading patterns that are available. Lastly, I think that the main takeaway for me from this course would be learning about the Rana Plaza Collapse. After reading all about the Collapse I came to believe that there were two people responsible for the tragedy. I believe together both the garment factory owners on the upper floors along with the Western brands who pay extremely low prices for their garments shall be made responsible for the Rana Plaza Tragedy. If the garment factory owners on the upper floors had closed that Wednesday because of safety concerns of the structure than the factory workers wouldn’t of been caught in the collapse. This tragedy sent a shockwave through the Textile and Apparel Industry, forcing factory workers to pay a closer attention to their garment factory workers. Even though these garment factory owner have been forced to make things safer they are still not safe enough. In all, I would recommend this taking this class to anyone, it was super beneficial to me!

  42. I have learned so much from this course, maybe more than I have in most classes. From start to finish, basic globalization to detailed policies and agreements, trade wars, trade theories, etc., these topics are some that will really help me in my career. I have such a wider education on the global T&A industry and on trading/sourcing than I ever had before- I was basically clueless. Zoom once a week in the form of just a big class discussion was very beneficial for me and definitely helped clear some things up when I had confusion. It was interesting hearing people’s different perspectives and opinions on these policies, it’s almost as if we were in the real world having to battle/negotiate. I can see why this course is a requirement for FASH students, as it should be!

  43. Going into FASH455 knowing that I struggle learning about economics and business, I knew I was going to have a difficult time understanding the concepts of trade policies and how trade and sourcing work. And while I struggled with this class, I also found myself wanting to learn more and read through the PowerPoints and lectures over and over. What we learned in this class was not only beneficial for a future in the fashion industry, but it was also material that motivated and inspired me. With this new knowledge, Im hopeful that I will be able to continue to work towards a more sustainable future and find ways to make the lives of factory workers more safe and secure. This class has taught me the ins and outs of trade policies and how different countries around the world connect to each other through free trade agreements. This class also allowed me to build my own opinion on certain matters such as whether or not the US should continue its involvement in the World Trade Organizations. I can’t wait to keep moving forward with this knowledge in fashion. Thank you Dr Sheng Lu!

  44. I overall took a lot of great knowledge away from this class. Being that this was a winter class, I loved getting to just focus on this and put all of my energy into getting the most out of it possible. The US trade market in fashion was something I had little to no information on coming into this class. I am now leaving with such a wide range of knowledge not only from the US but rules and regulation from international countries as well. As a fashion merchandising major and one who would love to travel abroad, I will see other countries different in business but also how globalization impacts almost everything we do. Our relationship with fashion and other countries is so important to the business so I will apply this knowledge to the rest of my endeavors in my career and life. It truly is much more than a letter grade but what you do with that information and how you let it help you in the future.

  45. In FASH455 we learned how things in our everyday lives are globally connected and have probably been all over the world. International trade and globalization is so fascinating because it is not only about a country’s exports and imports but also keeping good relations with other countries as well as trade policies and agreements that are put in place in order for that to happen.
    I am currently working in retail and the other day I saw that the shirt I was folding was made in Honduras and even though it said it was made there, I still wondered what other countries the thread, fabric, etc, were from and if the manufacturing company upholds good labor and environmental practices. It also made me wonder if that shirt benefitted from any trade policies or agreements that are currently in place.The fashion industry is a global industry and that is a vital concept to grasp especially since I want to own a company within it.

  46. FASH455 has got to be one of my favorite FASH classes I have taken at UD. Professor Lu always jokes that this class is the “least fashionable” class fashion majors will take, however I think it is extremely interesting, informative, and helpful to students who are soon 8entering this industry. FASH455 ties in everything that we’ve learned, applies it to the real world, and shows just how important the textile and apparel industry is in the bigger global picture. I truly enjoyed exploring several different T&A supply chains in the world and how their supply chain models differ from one another. My favorite part of this class was definitely learning about trade policies. As fashion majors, we don’t really see the connection early on in our classes, but then you realize that the T&A industry is deeply affected by political trade policies that are always constantly changing. I’m so glad that I finally understand certain vocabulary terms, like NAFTA/USMCA, free trade agreement (FTA), TPP, etc. I not only feel so much more educated in the US-China tariff war, but also the yarn-forward rules of origin. I better understand why trade policies are so highly debated, as we saw with the yarn forward RoO between the USFIA and NCTO. I think I can go on and on, and list all the things I’ve learned in this class, but at the end of the day, this has just been such an eye-opening experience that I am so happy I got to explore. I will take everything I learned into my future career, continue to learn on my own, and form my own opinions on political issues that relate to the global T&A industry! And while we were not able to meet in-person, I think Professor Lu did a wonderful job transitioning this class into an online format, so thank you!

  47. I know that I have taken so much away from fash455 and I think the main points you talked about really summed it up. I really enjoyed the point you made about why fashion matters. A lot of people think when they find out I am a fashion major that just means sewing and pretty clothes, when really our industry is so economically important to the world. It helps fuel our economy and keep good relations to other nations. I think this is a point that anyone should take away from learning more about the fashion industry, but this class really went into depth about how important globalization and imports/exports are to our nation.

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