Globalization and Its Implications for the Fashion Industry—Discussion Questions from Students in FASH455

Sourcing map: North Face–Men’s Thermoball Eco Hoodie

#1 Why or why not do you think VF Corporation should de-globalize its supply chain—for example, bringing more sourcing and production back to the United States?

#2 Given such a globalized operation, should we still call VF Corporation an American company? Also, does the label “Made in ___” still matter today?

#3 Is the sole benefit of globalization helping us get cheaper products? How to convince US garment workers who lost their jobs because of increased import competition that they benefit from globalization also?

#4 How has COVID-19 changed your understanding of the benefits, costs, and debates on globalization? Do we still need globalization in a post-COVID world? Why?

#5 Throughout history, globalization has been viewed as a two-sided debate with social groups weighing its benefits and negative costs.  With the emergence of COVID-19, how do you think certain social groups’ opinions towards globalization will change?

(Welcome to our online discussion. For students in FASH455, please address at least two questions and mention the question number (#) in your reply)

Author: Sheng Lu

Professor @ University of Delaware

57 thoughts on “Globalization and Its Implications for the Fashion Industry—Discussion Questions from Students in FASH455”

  1. #2 I think considering VF an American corporation and considering any company as American, European, Asian etc. has to do with their origins. I do not think a company doing business in many other countries takes away the origins of the company. If VF was incorporated in America, its an American company. I think saying where something is made due to globalization can be hard. I guess I would say the main country of origin is where it is made. There does have to be a place where the product is mainly produced or constructed which I think is where “made in” comes from.
    #3 I think this is an interesting question to think about. In a way cheaper products does benefit someone who lost their job to globalization because they can afford those cheaper products. I think cheaper products is a benefit of globalization, but more importantly it brings business and stimulates economies to lower income countries. However, globalization has created a more inequality in the US which definitely is not helping those workers who lost jobs. Yet, in other countries this gap has been reduced and globalization and trade does tend to grow a country and increases the standard of living.

    1. I agree to your response to question 3! I also agree that it does lead to cheaper products, but more so than that it stimulates the economy to lower income countries.

    2. I think you have an interesting point about how cheaper products benefit those who don’t have much income to begin with. I also agree with your point about inequality in the US. I think that another big issue with globalization is that it can lead to overconsumption. So, those who are rich can spend more and more money on cheaply made clothing to stay up to date with trends which only furthers this negative cycle. Though, I don’t feel globalization is bad overall.

    3. Great thought! Some people say-American companies have the responsibility to create more jobs in the US. But looks like VF is creating more jobs overseas. How would you respond to such a comment?

      1. Definitely great to think about. I think my response to that would be creating legislation that makes it more of an incentive to do business here along with those in charge (Biden and his cabinet etc) creating laws and regulations moving business here.

  2. #1- I absolutely think VF should consider de-globalizing its supply chain. In doing this, the company will be able to be more sustainable in numerous ways. For example, keeping production and sourcing local helps reduced transportation pollution. Second, producing in the US rather than under-developed countries forces companies to have to pay their workers better wages/follow US guidelines, rather than a country with looser labor laws.

    #2- I guess VF can still be considered an “American” company if its headquartered/was founded here, but if we are thinking of things in more literal terms, VF is far from an American company. In addition, the label “Made in ___” means nothing today, because a shirt could have been assembled in the US and say “Made in the USA”, but the cotton came from Egypt, the sewing was done in China, etc. The fashion industry is now completely globalized.

    1. I liked what you had written for #1, and I mostly agree with it. The fashion industry is a huge contributor to carbon emissions, waste, and habitat loss worldwide. With sustainability being a buzzword for marketers, it makes sense for most companies to improve that aspect by reconsidering sources. However, VF doesn’t really have much say in sourcing types because current eco-friendly avenues for synthetic fiber sourcing are just not there yet. Most of VF’s products are made from them because they are more durable, more stretchy, and more useful for cold weather. Sourcing a backpack from cotton or something natural at a large scale would cause further habitat loss and deforestation, and the backpack could even rip a lot easier. Such technology is still in the research and development stage, and it would take years for that to happen at a large scale that would make them profitable. A lot of these companies make profits when they can make massive quantities – I’m talking millions and even billions of pounds. I also agree with the point about looser labor laws. A lot of companies have exploited that to make cheap goods, unfortunately.

  3. #5: I think that COVID-19 will definitely change peoples opinions about globalization. I think that more countries will only want to work with manufactures from their own country. When Covid out broke, it became clear to America just how many medications came from China. Upon realizing this, I feel that the US will begin to see how they can function and rely less on other countries.

    #3: The sole benefit of globalization is not solely responsible for cheaper products. It can also lead to more efficient and functional designs of products as it expands on the knowledge from one country when introduced to the knowledge of another country. This then also leads to the demand for products increasing which will stimulate the economy and allow for more jobs to be created. This goes to show just how many benefits globalization can have for an economy and the textile and apparel industry.

    1. I had a similar response to #3! You also brought up a good point about how more efficient and functional designs of products will lead to the increase of demand for products, which then stimulates the economy, and allows for more jobs to be created. It sort of seems to have a trickle effect!

    2. I agree with your answer for #5. I definitely think COVID-19 has created a conflicting sense of nationalism for Americans. Though current politics have created a lot of hostility, as far as production is concerned, people want to bring factories back home. Finding a piece of clothing that was Made in the USA almost feels like a novelty. I think people know we are capable of producing and sourcing garments on our own soil and want to see more of it. It would also help with lead times and flexibility.

  4. #3 – While getting cheaper products is an important benefit of globalization, there are several other benefits as well. This includes getting higher quality products because competition from abroad drives firms to improve products and their quality so they stand out from competitors. Another benefit is the increased spread of ideas, technology, and innovation that comes along with globalization. While those that lost their job because of increased import competition may not reap the obvious benefits of globalization, the society that they live in as a whole reaps the benefits such as higher standards of living and maybe more job opportunities just in a different industry/sector.

    #4 – COVID-19 has changed my understanding of the benefits, costs and debates on globalization by exposing any faults that there were in the system. Companies are realizing they need to be more prepared for crisis situations and not just a pandemic. This could include tariffs, extreme weather, financial crisis, terrorist attacks, etc. The labour intensive structure of the apparel supply chain as well as the geographic footprint make the industry especially exposed, so a lot of apparel companies have now made it a point to prioritize risk. It is also important to gain visibility and transparency into who supplies your suppliers and identify any vulnerabilities. We do still need globalization in a post COVID-19 world because the world as a whole benefits from globalization. Globalization overall allows countries to work together and provide benefits to one another.

    1. I agree with you that the best state of globalization is mutual benefit. Especially now in the situation of the epidemic, more should be better development of globalization.

    2. great comment on question #3 and agree totally!
      Just take sourcing as an example–imports also create jobs, well-paid non-manufacturing jobs.

  5. #2: Due to the fact that VF was founded in America, I think it can still be warranted with the “American” company title. Because of how the fashion industry operates, I do not think the “made in ___” label is still needed. Articles of clothing go through many different stages and they are not just created in one country. In addition, the materials are from different countries as well as the operations. The process of the articles of clothing is a global responsibility therefore the label is not needed.
    #3: While globalization can be seen as a means of obtaining cheaper products, it has other benefits. The cheaper products produced by globalization makes them more affordable to the public, further influencing an increase in business performance and economy regulation. However, since COVID-19, there has been a major impact on jobs. Many people are losing their jobs and inequality is spreading.

    1. I agree to your response to question 2. I also feel that we do not need a “Made in ____” tag anymore. Clothing goes through so many sites in the development process that it would be impossible to include all of them on a tag.

    2. I agree with the response in question 2! The only reason why I have found the made in ______ is really for more political and marketing standpoints. Made in America products are something of a marketing point for many companies because it invokes nationalistic feelings. For the clothing industry, I agree that it does not really help. Also, I think any product is required by law to publish that information, and rather than show all the countries involved, they just wanted to show where most of the stuff was made at.

  6. #3- The sole benefit of globalization isn’t the only factor helping us get cheaper products. More efficient technologies and manufacturing systems also contribute towards lower costs. While factory workers in the US continue to compete for jobs against globalization, there are still other benefits one can gain from globalization. Many warehouse locations for U.S brands take imports from other countries and because technology has grown so rapidly, people are still needed to work.
    #5- I think certain social groups’ opinions towards globalization will worsen because of the emergence of COVID-19. Because America is still stuck in a detrimental phase of COVID-related sicknesses and deaths, it’s hard for many to accept the blame for lacking COVID-safety practices (such as social distancing and traveling) and easier to put fault on other countries, especially Eastern Asian ones. I think those who feel that it’s other countries’ fault will buy less products from them.

    1. I think you make a really good point about how COVID-19 will worsen some groups opinion of globalization. It is also possible that others will begin to recognize how prevalent globalization is in their every day life and this could potentially affect purchasing decisions.

  7. #2 I think this company can still have the title of an American company because it is founded in America. Its roots will always go back to this so it makes sense to say it is an American company. I think the label “Made In __” does not have as much meaning today because even if it is labeled as made in that country it is not entirely made there. This kind of defeats the purpose of having this label.
    #1 I think that VF Corporation should de-globalize its supply chain and bring more sourcing and production back to the United States. This will help to subdue some of the negative effects globalization has had on society and companies. This can help to make the company more sustainable and conciouentous.

    1. I see your point about a company’s roots coming from where the brand was founded, however, I feel there is a lack of transparency if the clothing is all made overseas.

  8. #1 I think VF corporation should consider de-globalizing their supply chain. If we want to get into the specifics of if they are truly an “American” company, maybe they should have one or two lines of production in the US 1) to create more jobs and 2) to prove to their customers that they can still be American based. It is all about image, so if people are seeing the fact that none of their production is in the US and they are receiving backlash, then it is time to put production facilities back in the US. If not, then VF corporation is fine where it is right now.

    #2 VF corporation can absolutely still be considered an American company because it was founded here, normally wherever the company was founded that is the country it is labeled by. Just because a company outsources does not mean they should change the embodiment of the company and where it came from. I think the most important part of this question has to do with the “Made in___” label. I do not think that this label is relevant anymore. A garment is put together and distributed in so many places that you cannot pinpoint it to one country. Also, I am not sure if anyone really decides whether they are going to buy a piece of clothing or not based on where it was made, especially since the majority of the US population knows that not many things are made here.

  9. #1. They should de-globalize because it would help us be more sustainable in many ways. The main way is transportation, packaging and shipping. They can use this to decrease the amount of transportation they use to ship packages, they can fill multiple trucks, plains, trains etc… in a day rather than use one transportation for only one item. Also can use sourcing that is local to help reduce the amount of times transportation needs to transport. Packaging they can defiantly cut down on the amount of packaging they use for each package.
    #2. I think that they should keep the label “Made in..” because it shows a lot about the piece of clothing and where it is made from. It shows where you’re from and your own culture, if you see for example “USA” and you live in the US, it makes you kind of excited to wear it because it’s from your own culture. Also I think its neat to see where other pieces of clothing are from and made from.

  10. 2) I think that VF can still be considered and American company since it was founded here in the United States and it still follows the values of an American company. However, the label “Made in __” is not an accurate representation of all the countries that play a part in the creation of an article of clothing. Since globalization has become such a large part of the textile and apparel industry, each article of clothing could have been designed in one place, gotten materials from another, assembled in a factory hundreds of miles away, and then sold mostly in the US.

    4) I believe that COVID-19 has changed nearly every aspect of the world in some respect. With certain nations going into lockdown and stopping all imports and exports, this has effected other nations detrimentally. Though most developed countries such as China, the United States, the United Kingdom, etc would have no problem being able to provide for their nation, other countries depend on these ones in order to support their nation. So, I don’t think that globalization will end post COVID-19 for the sole reason that nations work together in order to ensure they are getting the most benefits.

  11. #2: I think that VF is still an American company, despite the fact that globalization has led to their products being manufactured in multitudes of different countries. VF originated in America, and in my opinion that is what makes a company “American.” Secondly, I think the made in label does still matter, but it would be interesting to see more labels depicting where the garment was designed, sourced, and manufactured. By including all of these aspects on a label, customers have the ability to gain a deeper understanding of what went into producing that piece.

    #3: I think that there are a multitude of benefits of globalization, aside from just creating cheaper products. Globalization has brought so many countries together, and has also stimulated the economies of poorer countries. This being said, globalization may have done more harm than good in America. In the US, globalization is partially responsible for the ever-increasing gap in equality.

    1. I agree with the point you made in your answer to number 3. Although there are many benefits to globalization, it is important to realize that some people could be hurt by it, especially lower class people.

  12. #2 I think there is a huge lack of transparency when it comes to clothing labels. When a garment says made in china the consumer assumes that the product was made in China, however, this often isn’t the entire truth. As we talked about in class companies often source from all over the world in order to create one product. I think that companies would be required to put each of the countries they sourced from on their labels so that consumers can make informed choices when purchasing items. I also think companies should only consider themselves a USA brand if a majority of their merchandise is created in the USA. It is not enough to simply sell and market in the USA. This will help encourage companies to bring manufacturing back to the USA.

    1. I think this is a great idea! Additionally I think this would make consumers more aware of how prevalent globalization is in their every day lives.

  13. #1. I think VF corporation should not bring more souring and production back to the US. Although it reduce the cost of goods. It has also had an impact on the development of the local fashion industry. Local employees may lost their job.
    #4. Covid-19 changed my understanding of globalization costs and debate. The apparel industry is meeting more challenges. After the epidemic, the company understood that it needed to prepare for unpredictable conditions. I think it is necessary for us to resume global trade after the epidemic. In this unpredictable pandemic, the apparel industry has received a huge blow. Global trade can quickly help the clothing industry recover. Ensure that the unemployed have jobs.

    1. Its interesting you say that they should not bring more sourcing and production back to the US basically because it would cost more. I think that is the main reason why companies do go to other countries. If the production was in the US it would make goods more expensive here and no one technically wants that.

  14. #2 I think that VF Corporation can still be considered an American company. To me, a company is more about where the idea or concept is founded or spearheaded rather than the supply chain. If we based things off of sourcing and manufacturing, no company would be pinpointed to one exact country. For the “Made In” label, I still feel they are relevant and important. People like to know where their clothes are coming from. Though the average Joe may not know much about the apparel industry, they know by looking at their tag they can see where their garment is coming from. Additionally, this feature helps with accountability and tracing of goods. It is put on clothing for a reason and still very much so has a purpose.

    #4 COVID-19 has greatly highlighted the impacts of globalization on society. Whether it be newly brought to light ethical sourcing issues or shipping backups due to job losses and weather disasters, globalization impacts how we live and obtain our goods. Though it has been seen by many as a positive thing with benefits including international relations, technological innovations, transportation improvements, economic growth, and a variety of products, this pandemic has shined the light on globalization’s negative impacts as well. More so than before, people are feeling the effects of not being able to get products on time and having less and less income. Though these sourcing, shipping, and economic problems are not to be dismissed, globalization is still needed for a post-COVID world. It may look very different but the transportation of goods across multi-national channels is still necessary. Globalization helps fuel our global economy, provides so many with jobs, and allows for advancements in a plethora of fields. I think over everything else, this pandemic will teach us how to prepare for such disasters and create more efficient supply chains so that things won’t go so awry in the future.

    1. I agree that VF can still be called an American company. I didn’t think of it like this but its true that if every company out there was to be called by the countries they were involved in, so many companies would have an endless list and it would be pointless. So, by called it ‘American’ is fine, as long as others know that is still is involved globally.

  15. #1 I think that VF Corporation should consider de-globalizing just slightly. I think that having such a large supply chain is risky because things happen and come up that they could not have control over, such as the pandemic, and then it makes relying on other countries much more difficult. VF should not completely de-globalize because I think that is just not possible and not worth it because there are positives to globalization such as lower costs and specialization.

    #2 I think that it is okay to call VF an American company since it started that way and is still controlled here. But, there needs to be respect given to the countries that make VF actually possible and VF needs to become more transparent in communicating that. Without this it would be morally wrong to call it an American company.

    1. I agree with the point you made in your answer to question one. I think VF could definitely benefit from deglobalization, however, it is unrealistic to completely deglobalize, because there are still many benefits to globalization.

  16. #2. We should still call VF Corporation an American company. I think “Made in ___” still matter today, because this represents the country’s own production technology and quality.
    #5. I think the world is facing the threat of a pandemic. There is a need for convergence and common development of views among social groups to turn negative factors into positive influences.

  17. #1 I don’t think VF corp should de-globalize their business because globalization has allowed them to streamline their channels and work together with manufacturers to produce products and easily distribute them around the world. Bringing their production back to the US could be beneficial but it will also be more costly and they would have to restructure their textile network.

    #3 Globalization has a lot of good benefits including lower costs however it’s not the sole benefit. others include streamlined distribution channels, vertical integration, partnerships with other businesses and more. Although most of us don’t see the benefits first hand there are cheaper garments, local economies growing and continued innovation. Those who lost their jobs may not gain direct benefit for globalization but the community they are apart of will and so will larger society.

  18. #2. As an American company, VF Corporation certainly does a lot of business out of the US. Although they may benefit from globalization and the ability to outsource it does not mean that the positions located in the US are not relevant. Someone needs to arrange and organize the course of the garments from one country to another. It is interesting how sometimes an article of clothing will only say “Made in Mexico” for example even if the textiles were sourced elsewhere. I think that it would prove to consumers how prevalent globalization is in their day to day life.

    #4. I think COVID-19 has show how interconnected the world is thanks to globalization. The pandemic has affected the entire world and due to globalization we have the ability to gain knowledge and solutions through our open communication with other nations. Although on the other hand it can encourage those who are interested in an end to globalization to focus on our country and the ability to source within. This point could certainly be argued on both sides.

  19. #1 – It does not make sense in the current financial and supply environment for VC to de-globalize. Currently, fabric sourcing for cotton is much cheaper in mid-income countries (India, China) that can produce vast quantities of cotton with a low-cost workforce. What can add to that development is also the fact that the technology for cotton production in these countries is comparable to the technology available for producers in the US. Agricultural equipment in China and India is comparable to that of the US, though not nearly as large as most farmers do not own as much land as the average American farmer. There are concerns about the effect cotton farming has on the local soil and environment since it uses a lot of the water (The Aral Sea dried up because of cotton farming in the desert), but that is more of finding more eco-friendly substitutes for cotton.

    De-globalizing the company would mean that the company would have to utilize a labor pool that costs more per worker. This would only make sense if the labor pool is highly productive, which means that the process of making the clothing is highly automated, and the cost of implementing the automation and moving the plant is a lot cheaper than the current model and does not impact the profit margin for the company. This is why VF only currently has processes that can be automated in the US – the making of a logo, the printing, and the distribution. Sewing is an operation that is not easy for robots today to do because they are skills that require a lot of fine motor skills that robots have a harder time doing today. That is not going to happen anytime soon.

    The only area where deglobalization can actually happen is in making the bulk fabric. Thanks to innovations in fracking and oil production in Texas and the Marcellus shale, the US is becoming an energy-independent country that can produce oil that can be exported to customers in Europe and Latin America. China often has to source its oil and gas from Malaysia, Iran/Middle East, and Russia, which leads to larger lead times. This is what is driving oil prices lower globally. These are the base ingredients used to make most of the synthetic polymers used in clothing today. Since the US has a highly-skilled labor pool that can put in the equipment, the plants and pipelines to make polymers from the oil and gas, it makes sense to put the fabric facilities in a place where the distance from the supplier is much closer. Lead times are much smaller due to the reduction in transportation times, and money is saved since fabric production can be automated. Oil and gas production in the US can also help with leather goods, as they are feedstocks that get turned into tanning agents, and the US has a lot of cattle. This can help companies be able to put in their facilities now.

    However, in the future, companies should be more sustainable, and often times that has to come from sourcing and fabric production. Many chemical manufacturers that make the polymers are looking to source from agricultural and biological waste, and are building their facilities in the US and Europe. This can allow developed countries to produce cotton substitutes (materials that have the feel and look of cotton but aren’t cotton) that can be much cheaper than having a cotton farm. The same thing is true for silk and satin. There is a lot of biotechnology that can make US natural fibers much more resilient. Also, developed countries have an established infrastructure for recycling products, which means that old clothes can be reused to make new clothes rather than be put in thrift stores or shipped to developing countries. Thus, most sustainable fabric suppliers would probably be best putting operations in the US. So, it would make long-term sense for VF to move some operations to the US. Being sustainable is really a good marketing point. It is what made companies like Patagonia world leaders in the marketplace.

    #3 – Globalization not only brings cheaper products, it can also bring better products. An example is the rise of German and British cars along with the lower-cost Japanese and Korean cars in the American market. German cars and British car companies like Land Rover are known for their performance and better quality. Go to any upper-class neighborhood, and most people have a Range Rover, Mercedes, Audi, or BMW in the driveway, not a Cadillac or Lincoln. Another good example is High fashion. 30 years ago, brands like Louis Vuitton and Hermes did not have access to global markets as easily as they do now. Consumers in China can get better quality handbags, shirts, and shoes than what was sold before.

    Convincing others is something that is more difficult. We can’t tell garment workers that they can consume more because their job got shifted to Asia. They know that money runs out fast if they don’t work for it, and many of them work paycheck to paycheck. We can tell garment workers that they now have to ability to better provide for their families. Many garment workers in the United States would probably want to work somewhere that is not as strenuous if they had the education and resources to do so. Providing training programs where they can learn applicable skills – college or trade school – can equip them for in-demand jobs in the real world. Things like owning a business, working in a trade, or being a logistics agent could help them provide for their families better. Rather than give an argument, there needs to be more of a system that addresses their needs and helps them out effectively.

    1. That was great insight for your answer for #1, I agree that it is probably very hard for many companies to deglobalize right now as it is usually way too expensive and not readily accessible for their needs, however, I do also agree that in the future, companies should shift into more sustainable practices that allow them to localize their production.

    2. I agree with your first point to question #1; why de-globalize when we can continue to output the same quantity at a lower cost-per-person? With your comment on machine sewing—I think instead that we see factories changing operations from human labor to machines to produce high quantities of garments at lower costs by using fewer people and more automation.

      *Reading the rest of your response, however, I never questioned why VF limits automation to the US for only specific processes. In other words, I used to faultily bucket the processes for automation and human labor as mutually exclusive events when I should have questioned how we can re-distribute opportunities across borders depending on the garment specifications.

    3. I think your question #1 is amazing! I think it would be rough for companies to deglobalize right now.

  20. #1 I do think VF should consider deglobalize. Although production costs and materials are cheaper in other countries, there would be some benefits to moving some of the sourcing and production back to the US. First of all, it would give the company more control over their supply chains. There is less of a chance of an transportation issue occuring when all of the factories are near each other and if an issue does arise it is easier to fix it. Along with that, it is more sustanible and environmentally friendly to not have differne production centers all over the world. Lastly, it would create more jobs for Americans which may look good for their brand of being an American company.

    #4 Covid-19 has changed how I view globalization, specfically the benefits and costs of it. One huge costs of globalization is that in the event of a global crisis, such as COVID, the entire system can be thrown off. It was clear that the world was not prepared for an global pandemic, and many companies suffered because they didn’t have assess to their factories around the world. However, a benefit of globalization is the technology that has arisen from it. Although people were not able to travel due to the pandemic, technology played a huge role in the communication between factories and companies. I think we will definitly need globalization in the post-COVID world. Although there may be more sourcing from the US, there is too many benefits such as economic growth and competetion that come from globalization to get rid of it.

  21. #2 Even though the VF Corporation is globalized, I still believe it should be considered an American company since that is where the concept of the company originated. I think the company can still be globalized and collaborate with other countries while maintaining the label of the country it was founded in. I also believe that the “Made in” labels are still important, however, I wish more of them would specify the different countries that have been involved besides just the manufacturing country- that way more people can be aware of just how globalized the textile and apparel industry is.

    #4 COVID has definitely made me more aware of globalization, especially near the beginning when many fashion companies came under fire for having to cancel a lot of their orders and left many factories workers out of work, unfairly paid, or if still working, without proper ppe. This shed a negative light on globalization, however, I have also come to appreciate it during COVID for all the technological efforts made to keep communication going when physical contact was not an option. I think we will still need globalization in a post-COVID world because globalization helps keep those relationships with other countries and not one country can solve all of the world’s problems.

    1. I agree with your opinion on that we still need globalization. Just from going through the effects of COVID-19 and seeing how many items we could not get was concerning and scary. It definitely made me gain respect and appreciation for globalization and how fast and cheap we are able to receive our products. However, going through COVID-19 also made me realize we need a little bit of change. I never want to be stuck in my house not being able to have access to things we need (for this instance, sanitation supplies) again. Thus, I am still for globalization, but just a little bit less. I want a lot of our companies that we rely on to become a little more independent so if something like this were to happen once again, there is not a scarce amount of inventory. I would like our companies to be able to function if they were to not have access to overseas workers and supplies.

  22. #1 I personally think VF Corporation should not de-globalize its supply chain because this will make its product harder to survive in this intense competition market. Globalizing its supply chain can simply cut down the production cost and make the business more profitable in the long-run. It also helps the global economy to grow as a whole, so not only the people in the United States benefit from the process but every actor who participated in the process from the manufacturing textile complex to the distribution chain can benefits.

    #3 Globalization not only helps get the cheaper product but also improves the quality and market efficiency. However, it also creates losers and it is unavoidable. It is hard to imagine those US garment workers in their mid-30s and mid-40s lost their jobs in this competition and faced not only financial hardness but also their skills may not catch up with the technology advancement. Rather than trying to convince them, I think real support from the government to improve their skills and prepare them for the next jobs are necessary such as training programs during the period when they are unemployed.

    1. There is another way these US garment workers can look at losing their jobs as a benefit. Obviously manufacturing, producing, and sourcing from other countries makes the product cheaper. If we were to perform these processes in the U.S it will be significantly more expensive. Thus, many average Americans won’t be able to afford these goods with the salary they earn. For example, Walmart carries many products for very cheap. If these products were to then be processed in the U.S, many Americans won’t be able to spare the money for them. Therefore, these US garment workers are in some way benefiting from globalization.

  23. #1 In my opinion, I think VF Corporation should de globalize its supply chain for many reasons. First, what if there is an interruption in the supply chain, like the catastrophe of COVID-19. We manufacture so many products overseas, so, when COVID-19 hit, we were unable to receive our needs. Companies should look to become more independent and less dependent on other countries in order to ensure they can still function as a company and distribute their products to their customer in case their suppliers, manufacturers, and distributors are unavailable. Another reason VF Corporation should de-globalize is to give more jobs to U.S workers. By producing products in other countries, the company is taking away opportunities for Americans. This leads me my next point of why VF Corporation should de -globalize. Many companies produce their products in other countries because it is cheaper. This is concerning as they are taking advantage of the labor force in developing companies.

  24. #2 After looking at that map to see where VF Corporations products are being manufactured and sourced, I don’t think VF Corporations should be called an American company. In my opinion, I feel to be called an American company most of the processes being done to the products should be occurring within the U.S. However, this is not the case for VF Cooperating. Most of their processes are happening overseas. This can also be looked at taking advantage of these overseas operations. All these workers are in developing countries making the product, and not getting credit as there is an American label covering it. I think they at least need to make half of their processing centers to be reestablished in the U.S.

    Yes, I think the “Made in —–” label still matters today. This is a way for companies to show transparency to their customers as to where their products are coming from. Depending on how much the customer is concerned, the customer can then choose to buy apparel from these companies or to not.

  25. Responding to question 2, I do not think that VF Corporation should be considered an American company, given that they not only distribute to the U.S but to other countries including Belgium. Also, majority of the work that is done in the production of these products were done in countries outside the U.S. Despite all that, considering VF an American company also makes sense seen that their headquarter is located here. In my opinion the label “Made in _____” does not matter. Reason being globalization has been spreading rapidly over the years and many countries get involve and play their part in the process. As a result, saying a product is made in one country is not entirely true.
    COVID-19 Has helped me realize how unprepared most companies and countries were in terms of the actions they took. Many companies were completely shut down, countries ban travel and also imports and exports. The pandemic has cost a decrease in revenues for companies and for some that was solely online like amazon and currier companies, they were benefitting a great deal from COVID-19. I do not think that the world can do without globalization even after Covid. Globalization has made the world a better place and has made things much more easier than how it used to be and that’s what the world needs.

  26. #1: Questioning whether o shift the movement of goods, people, and capital becomes necessary with COVID-19: an unprecedented driver that restructures supply chains, reduces sales and increases the buildup of unsold garments. In an ideal world, VF would implement speed tactics by re-shoring to shorten lead times for its lifestyle products popular amongst western consumers in the States. We could jump on the opportunity to de-globalize the supply chain, albeit at the expense of investing into moving manufacturing from Southeast Asia to the Western Hemisphere, without growing competition. VF should also consider if sourcing materials from the US is sufficient for sourcing materials for brands like The North Face and Timberland; said differently, VF should consider if the US is the best option for sourcing textiles like nylon, wool, and leather. While this move helps blue-collar workers in the west, we should question the ethics of taking away opportunities in developing countries, where garment workers rely on low-wage jobs to support their families. The responsibility of distributing economic opportunity remains at stake, too.

    #3: Not the sole benefit but, rather, one benefit (though unsustainable) of globalization, cheap labor overseas may supersede the cost of higher wages for the same productivity. Other efficiency tactics include specializing in producing goods to gain a comparative advantage, collaborating across borders, and gaining the ability to “make anywhere, sell anywhere”. The latter threatens both ordinary Americans and US manufacturing employees; American workers compete both with developing and emerging markets in a saturated, high-pressure T&A sector; The same income distributes across more people. As we question the differences in measuring wage competition to the cost of living, we can also argue that globalization allows for cheap imports (thus allowing for cheap consumer prices compared to those of domestically produced goods). In the wake of COVID, we also see globalization promoting self-started service-oriented opportunities in consulting, tech, and software, for example, in addition to the importance of problem-solving and creativity – neither of which require STEM degrees. Younger generations likely have the skills necessary to adapt to the new norm, whereas older generations may struggle more in the competitive data era.

    1. excellent comment!
      A quick follow-up comment on question #1: VF not only leverages a global supply chain but also sells its products around the globe. For example, here is their latest business growth strategy:
      2) the downsizing of us textile and apparel production–let alone the shrinking production capacity of accessories such as zippers and buttons makes it very challenging to achieve near sourcing.
      We will go deep into the patterns of textile and apparel supply chain in the course. stay tuned 🙂

  27. #3: I think that there are a handful of benefits of globalization,there is way more to it from just creating cheaper products. Globalization has provided nations with products as well as technologies that their own countries could not provide. It has also been a stimulator for poor economies by providing jobs.

    #4: COVID-19 has changed my understanding of the benefits, costs and debates of globalization because I have seen the importance of globalization and how we must be prepared in time of crisis. During the lockdown, there was a major delay and even hauts on imports and exports. A lot of countries depend on one another for certain items, which leads me to the next question. I do think globalization is important and needed post covid. Nations depend on each other to get the cheapest/ best outcomes.

  28. #1: I believe that VF Corporation should move their supply chain and sourcing closer into the US. This will eliminate many carbon emissions that are created when things have to be shipped overseas because there will be less travel time required of the resources. This would be beneficial since VF Corporation has many brands under their umbrella that market themselves as “sustainable” brands so it would benefit them to practice what they preach. This might also cut down lead times for the brands to produce and distribute their goods.

    #3: While being able to get cheaper products can be a benefit to globalization, there are many other things that globalization does. Globalization helps expose us to new markets around the world and helps us learn about different resources that can be used within the textile and apparel industry. While it is unfortunate that some people have lost their jobs due to competition and the introduction of automation in the textile and apparel industry, this doesn’t mean that they can never work again. Globalization helps build a network around the world so there is the possibility for these people who are now out of work to get recruited by a global brand to do work for them. There is also the possibility that there will be a need for people to know how to operate the machines and automation that are being introduced so if people are willing to learn and become educated about these machines, then this opens up a whole new job market for them.

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