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 Textile Organizations, 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 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 forced labor in the apparel supply chain. 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. This is also the message from many of our distinguished guest speakers this semester, and I do hope you find these special learning events enlightening and inspiring.

Likewise, I hope FASH455 can put students into thinking 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, the fashion 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. 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 apparel sourcing and trade more sustainable and socially responsbile?
  • 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 forced labor and climate change?
  • Is inequality a problem caused by global trade? If global trade is the problem, what can be the alternative?

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

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

  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. 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!

    1. I agree with your perspectives on the importance of understanding the historical and geopolitical context of the fashion industry, especially in relation to sustainable fashion. It’s evident that the industry has evolved over time and the current pandemic has further highlighted the need for a more sustainable approach to sourcing. Your interest in the anthropology of sustainable fashion, including the role of multinational corporations and the maker movements, is commendable. Your observation about the current state of the industry, and the fact that the course has left you with more questions than answers, is a sign of a good education. It’s important to continue to seek knowledge and expand your understanding of the industry as it evolves and changes. Keep up the great work!

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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!

  7. 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!

  8. 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.

  9. 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!

  10. As the semester comes to a close, I have gained so much knowledge from FASH455. The topics we have discussed really opened my eyes to the globalization of the fashion industry. The class is super informative and interesting to understand the side of the fashion industry that isn’t per say, “fashionable.” Prior to this class, my other classes barely touched on the concept of globalization in the T&A industry and this class really tied any loose strings; making me understand the entire industry and supply chain from manufacturing to the consumers hands. Professor Lu did an excellent job in teaching this course in an online format and it was challenging and allowed me to think harder than base line knowledge. Although hard, I almost think this class should be taught prior to the other fashion courses so we understand the backbone of the industry and how the apparel products are manufactured with the trade policies in the world. Taking this course during the pandemic was a blessing in disguise. Although I would have loved to be in an in person setting, the online format was easy to adjust to and learn. Furthermore, many of the concepts we have learned about made it easy to apply to the real world because of COVID and how it affects globalization and trade in the world. I learn better when topics are relevant and the discussions we had in relation to COVID, help me understand the concepts better and apply them to my assignments. Thank you Professor Lu for making this class so enjoyable!!!

    1. Thank you so much! really enjoy working with you all this semester! Hope when you see the headline about a new US trade agreement reached or a trade war broke out, you’ll think of FASH455 🙂

  11. Fash455 has been one of the most informative classes that I have taken at UD thus far. Prior to starting this class, I was extremely concerned about how I would do in the class. I realized that as long as you put in a good amount of time and effort, would will do well. Dr. Lu is very accommodating and will meet with you on zoom for any questions or concerns. One of my favorite case studies in the class was about the Rana Plana Building collapse. I learned a lot about how little is done in Bangladesh to protect its workers. There is a lot that can be done in order to ensure that tragedies like the Rana Plaza building collapse will never happen again. For starters need to work on implementing mandatory inspections, remediation monitoring, safety training, and a safety and health complaints mechanism. Companies can do this by working with safety organization such as RMG Sustainability Council.

  12. Fash455 has been an incredibly eye opening and educational course. One of the biggest takeaways I have from the course is that while there are always winners and losers, the industry is almost always striving to create winners and winners. From learning about globalization and the implications of globalization, to learning about different trade theories, trade wars, differences between the textile and apparel industry, and now more recently examining EU, Asia and US more closely, I have gained an immense amount of knowledge from this course that I never had before. One of my favorite topics that we learned about was the differences between the textile and apparel industry, and how developing countries usually dominate apparel manufacturing and how developed countries usually dominate textile manufacturing given the tools that each country has. I feel like learning about this really helped explained why countries trade the way they do, and what patterns it has set, and what patterns to look out for. As always, Dr. Lu has fostered and created a very enjoyable learning environment. It is always a pleasure to be in a class with Dr. Lu because he has so much knowledge that he wants to share with his students! Thank you Dr. Lu for a great semester.

  13. I have taken the most away from FASH455. This course was extremely educational and taught me so many important concepts. What was most eye opening to me was what little is being done within Bangladesh. Workers are being under paid and treated very poorly. The Rana Plaza collapse changed many peoples perspectives and pushed people to realize change needed to be made. Factories need to be inspected and checked up on regularly as well as workers. Workers rely on this job to provide for their families and it is important that they are protected and treated fairly. Globalization was a huge part of this course. I learned the most about globalization by reading articles, filling out the worksheets and following Dr. Lu’s lectures. Dr. Lu made this class entertaining and stress free. I felt the most comfortable reaching out to him for help and he was always more than happy to assist. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge and teaching me so much. I had a great semester!!!

  14. After this course, I cannot look at a garment or textile without a critical eye. Studying the stages of development, regional supply chains, and current trade patterns diminished my misconception of grouping the textile and apparel industries together. Learning about the EU’s complete supply chain and Asia’s dynamic division of labor, I see few opportunities in the global apparel market for finished apparel products “Made in the USA” to gain market share. The limited export market for US-made apparel presents a competitive job field for prospective professionals. However, we see new service and technology/capital-intensive roles arise and universities preparing students for the changing apparel industry. Onwards, I look to apply the theoretical takeaways as I further my career. Policy tools challenge me to think critically about how we can navigate competing interests, whether between countries or within the T&A sector, that distract from the greater goal of availing globalization to improve the quality of life.

  15. FASH 455 – it was a class that I did not really expect to take. I just needed to fill a university breadth requirement, I didn’t actually “need” the information that I would learn in this class. From the perspective of a non-fashion major, I think I gained a lot of insight into an industry that I was interested in. In high school, I was a heavy believer in retail therapy and every weekend that I had a few hours to kill, someone could catch me at my mall. I never saw anything behind the clothes, I just saw a price and an outfit that I would be wearing to either school or an event. Taking FASH 455 shaped the way I now shop. I find it harder for myself to buy clothes just because it was a really cheap price, now I take a look at the brands and how ethical and maybe sustainable they are. Now when I look at clothes I think about what it took for the garment to physically be in my hand and how it got there. It really opened my eyes as to how much we really do not know about certain industries. To the unknowing eye, no one would think that the fashion industry is a world wide effort. Many countries are apart of it in some way, shape, or form. If I had to pick my favorite part of the course it would be learning about the US manufacturing textiles. We always saw so much backlash for outsourcing apparel manufacturing, but no one was talking about the higher level jobs they were getting replaced with. I think the biggest takeaway is that you do not really know a lot about something until you take a deeper dive. Dr. Lu did a great job in teaching this course and if I was a fashion major, I would definitely want to take him again.

    1. I found your response very interesting as a I have always been a fashion student at UD, so it is insightful to hear what others outside of the major think. You made a really great point that I actually just learned more about in my anthropology of clothing course, which is how a lot of people don’t realize the journey our clothing has taken. I learned there is a term for this called commodity fetishism, which is this experiential gap between the production and consumption of clothing, all mostly due to globalization.

  16. Fash 455 has been such an informative class!!! There are so many facets to textile & apparel sourcing and trade that the common consumer does not realize. Even as a fashion major, I think this class really reveals the “behind the scenes” of how our clothing actually gets to the retailers. I think there is a common misconception that all of the U.S.’s textile and apparel is outsourced from Asia, however I was surprised to learn about the U.S.’s robust textile industry and its connections/ FTAs within the Western Hemisphere. Another big takeaway from this class for me was learning that the U.S. textile industry is often at odds with the U.S. apparel industry– they are not synonymous. The U.S. textile industry prefers more strict RoO, like yarn-forward so that there is more business for their textile exports, whereas U.S. fashion brands and retailers prefer more liberal RoO so that they have more flexibility where they can source apparel from. There is soo much more that I have learned from this class that will definitely make me think more critically when consuming apparel and when reading the news about different global trade agreements. Everyone wears clothes, and so whether or not they realize it, global textile & apparel trade and sourcing affects them. Even though Dr. Lu has mentioned that this may be the most “unfashionable” fashion class, it may have been the most surprising, informative, and applicable to the real world and I am glad that I had the opportunity to take this course with him!

  17. Taking FASH455 was a great way to learn the breadth and depth of the fashion trade in both the macro and micro worlds. I did like fashion before, but before taking this class I did not know that the fashion trade would involve so many theories and historical events and happenings, such as trade wars and tariff wars. I also found out that Professor Lu is very knowledgeable and he has a lot of information. So I learned more and more interesting knowledge from Professor Lu’s class. I was concerned about the importance of the textile trade in the world trade of goods. Textile trade has long been complex and the industry needs to pay careful attention to the sources and production methods throughout the supply chain to determine if there are quotas on imports or if tariffs apply to import rates. Indeed the global industry expects compliance with international rules under the WTO framework. U.S. import and export policies have increased the complexity of the global textile sector and created new challenges for businesses around the world.

  18. Coming into FASH 455 as a senior, I felt like I already knew many concepts about globalism, trading, tariffs, etc. based on previous classes that are required of fashion merchandising majors, such as FASH 355 and FASH 210. But, after taking FASH 455, I’ve learned that there is so much more to the global fashion industry than just the major exporters and importers putting tariffs on products and implementing social-responsibility at factories. For example, I’ve always known that the United States was never a major manufacturer in my lifetime, but always assumed that it was because we never needed the particular industry to help the economy, as we are masters of marketing and retail and have thousands of other industries to help to economy as well. Although this is true, it’s really because of poor infrastructure, little to no investment, and the low rates factory workers were getting paid. These reasons paved a way to use China and other countries as manufacturers, hence why known to not produce apparel anymore. This class has especially been important since the pandemic has sustained itself the past year, as this has greatly affected the global fashion industry. American brands weren’t paying for cancelled orders that foreign manufacturers were creating for them, creating a distrust between buyers and suppliers, all while e-commerce usage has significantly gone up. Many retailers at this point needed vendors to send products directly to the consumers, so much compromise and communication was necessary during this time. This pandemic has shown the industry that in order to successfully continue with business, everyone needs to compromise and work together in order to fulfill consumer needs.

  19. I came into FASH455 as sophomore with little knowledge about the global textile and apparel industry, and this class has opened my eyes to how complex the industry really is. Although I’ve always known it was a global industry, I never realized how much really goes into making garments, and how decisions are made in regards to the production of apparel and textiles. Specifically, I found it fascinating to learn about the three primary T&A supply chains, the western-hemisphere supply chain, the flying geese mode, and the intra-region T&A trade in Europe. I really enjoyed learning about how different countries are interconnected and how they all work together to create a product. I never thought about how the economic state of a a country relates to the products they produce, such as how devleoped countries commonly produce textiles and developing countring produce apparel. It was very interesting to learn about what each country has to contribute, regardless of it is a wealthy country, or a country that is still developing. Along with this, FASH455 has sparked my interest in supply chains. I am a marketing major with a fashion mangament minor, but after this class, I have considered adding an operation management double major. I would love to extend my knowledge in supply chains and global production, and believe adding this major would help me do so. Overall, not only have a found the course content extrememly eye opening, but I have also gained a new interest in a sector I didn’t know much about prior to this class.

  20. I really enjoyed FASH455. Throughout the semester my critical thinking was challenged to think in new ways and from this I think I gained a new perspective and took a lot away from the semester. One big thing I learned was understanding the supply chain better and just how much globalization has become a huge part of our world today. We have all become interconnected through trade and sourcing and a pandemic has caused on to think differently about this, being a major takeaway for me this semester. Another thing I learned this semester was the different trade policies in place around the world. I really enjoyed learning about the different countries around the world ad how their trading and sourcing works. I liked seeing the comparisons between different places and then making my own conclusions on trade policy. I am a marketing major, so my fashion classes are limited. I am a minor so I have taken about 6 (I think) classes for it. This was by far my favorite class. I think what interested me the most was that we looked at apparel and sourcing on a global level and we expanded our horizons to much more than the U.S. My last takeaway that I will talk about is to overall think differently about the apparel and sourcing industry, that there is a lot to change and or improve, but a one size fits all solution is not the way to go. There are many details and little parts to the whole industry that need redefining. I think this takeaway for me also included to think more about this industry and these topics as both a consumer and someone potentially working in the industry. Thanks for a great semester Dr. Lu!

    1. one of the best decisions I’ve made is to open FASH455 to the entire UD community so that I have the chance to work with talented students like you guys!

  21. As a part of Fashion455, I have learned a lot about the world of sourcing and trade, as well as the reasons for some business decisions. The COVID-19 pandemic impacted the fashion industry greatly yet created an opportunity for companies and nations to create a positive change globally. A lot of assignments helped foster my learning by asking for opinions and ideas. I find that discussing issues leads to further understanding of topics. Sourcing is interesting, and this information will be of use to me in more ways than one. Furthermore, I have learned sustainability is crucial when studying fashion. Thanks for the knowledge Dr. Lu

  22. FASH455 has definitely been one of the most informative fashion courses I have taken at this university. FASH455 had a way of proving the strong relationship between the fashion industry and current political events around the world. My biggest takeaway was how the COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed globalization throughout the industry. This pandemic is a major historical event that no one could have predicted nor prepared for. Every industry around the world was disrupted by this virus. It has been very interesting to live through these times and see first hand how the industry has adapted throughout the pandemic. I learned so much about the supply chains and just how important globalization and sourcing is to creating the industry we all know and love. Without this course I would not be as well informed on these topics.

  23. I personally really enjoyed FASH455. One of my main takeaways from the course was just how much countries rely on each other for certain goods/necessities. I already knew from previous classes that we live in a very globalized society, but this class really solidified my understanding of how complicated the global trade process is. If two countries have tensions with each other, for example, import/export of a certain good could be completely halted, and this could easily send a society into complete distress. We as countries heavily depend on each other to keep our societies functioning properly. We need to work together to help each other out as well as for the greater good.

  24. FASH455 provided me with a new perspective on the fashion industry as well as give me insight into how global trading and sourcing work. One of my key takeaways was the importance of globalization to companies’ supply chains and how it’s defining the fashion industry’s future. Additionally, how the pandemic has reshaped supply chains and created a lasting impact o the fashion industry that will influence the way things operate for the foreseeable future. I found it very interesting to learn about all the different trade policies and agreements as well as what they mean and how they influence trade. I also really enjoyed being able to learn about trading and sourcing in real-time addressing all the current events and discussing ideas with classmates. I never really understood how trade between countries works and the purpose of trade agreements but after this class I can confidently say I understand why countries implement trade agreements and what they mean for producers, suppliers and retailers.

  25. Prior to taking FASH455, I had limited knowledge in the sourcing field of the fashion industry. While I was educated on runway trends and the business of fashion, this course expanded my knowledge in the supply chain. For example, I was not aware of how much economy impacts the supply chain; I did not know that developed countries tend to produce the apparel while countries struggling in their economy tend to produce the textiles. It is amazing how countries interact within trade and sourcing and how crucial it is to maintain good relationships. Globalization is a huge factor in fashion. Because of this class, I have a better understanding as to why the pandemic caused such a disruption in the apparel industry. While this course would have been beneficial at any time, I am glad that I took it during such a pivotal time in the world. Additionally, I learned about countries other than just the U.S. I am not sure if any other courses that I have taken have emphasized the importance of other countries in the supply chain. While this course did not focus too much on fashion in terms of trend, it was crucial to learn more about what is truly behind our clothing. Dr Lu did an amazing job at keeping students engaged and informed about the current climate of the fashion industry. I would consider myself far more knowledgable in globalization and I feel confident that this information will benefit me as I continue to study fashion. Thank you for an eye-opening and fun semester, Dr Lu!!

  26. Coming to UD I had a basic understanding of what fashion merchandising was, but I never expected that there would be so many paths within the fashion industry that I could choose to work in. The global aspects and trade within the t&a industries are topics that I never thought I would be very interested in, and I was definitely wrong. As someone who grew up in Washington DC, and surrounded by politics it’s very interesting to see the effect that the president in office has on the fashion industry. While I do not plan to work directly within the t&a trade policy aspect of the fashion industry, I do hope to one day start my own garment business. I now understand that trade will have a huge effect on it. This class showed me the importance of doing research, understand a country’s government, and creating a relationship with a factory before you source from them. While price is important, social issues, tariff costs, trade agreements, and environmental issues are equally if not more important when it comes to choosing where to source from. Another topic that will stick with me from the course is labor-intensive vs capital-intensive. These concepts are so closely tied to what a country decides and is able to manufacture, and gives such a logical and interesting explanation for why countries create products when others don’t. This class has truly been a pleasure to take, and I’m excited to take the information I learned into the fashion internship I have this summer.

  27. All in all, I think FASH455 has been the most eye-opening fashion courses that I’ve taken. Before this course, I was almost completely unaware of just how global and interactive fashion and trade in general truly is. I had never even considered how many countries are involved with the creation of just a single garment, and now that I know this, I feel much more aware and educated in the field of fashion. I am also glad to have learned what a large role a country’s government can play in their trade policies and their relationships with other countries. This course did such an exceptional job at revealing just how intertwined fashion and governments can be, and it highlighted the fact that fashion is so much more than just a customer picking out a shirt at a store. Having learned as much as I have in this course, I feel so much more prepared to go out into a career involving fashion. I fear that had I not taken this class, I would have been extremely unprepared to work in this field! Thank you so much for such an informative semester Dr. Lu! I can’t wait to take all I’ve learned out into the real world with me!

  28. One of my main takeaways from FASH455 will be the knowledge of global sourcing, especially how it affects developing countries like Bangladesh. From a personal level, my mom used to work in the textile industry before she had me, which happened to be at the same time that the US textile industry was starting to transition to fully outsourcing to China, and the start of the decline of “Made in the USA” textiles. Hearing about the industry from my mom’s perspective and then taking a class centered around the same topic 20+ years later definitely opened my eyes to how deep rooted this industry is. One of my favorite topics that we learned about what the Rana Plaza tragedy and what has come from it. I have become very invested in the progress of treatment and changes that are being made in order to ensure a tragedy like that never happens again. I think one of the first steps towards ensuring a tragedy like that doesn’t reoccur, is to hold all factories and the governments of these developing countries accountable. If these countries and factory owners refuse to comply, Western fashion brands and retailers should strongly consider ending their business relationship while also advocating for these under treated workers.

  29. FASH455 has been a great class for me to learn and experience the ins and outs of things about the fashion industry that I was not previously familiar with. I am very interested in all things fashion and knowing more about the industry and how it works is something I value. I want to work in the fashion industry after college so learning about how it works and the steps that are put into actually manufacturing the clothing I will be working with is an important skill to have. One big takeaway from this course is the magnitude of global trading and how the future of the fashion industry is constantly changing. The pandemic has played a large role in this shift and has shaped the industry into an even more complicated puzzle. The sourcing within this industry has expanded even more and created an even larger web of companies working together to make this industry as strong as it is. Trade agreements are something I also learned a lot about and began to understand the importance of. Countries rely on one another a lot to trade and work with for their industries to grow and work well.

  30. Prior to taking FASH455, I had little knowledge of what really happened behind closed doors in terms of the textile and apparel industry. Dr. Lu has expressed his charisma for the topic in a great manner, where I feel we are all able to walk away with a lot more knowledge on this topic. I never truly understood or took the time to understand how many stages come with creating a garment; in addition to the amount of countries it must go through. With this chain comes with a lot of conflicts like tariffs, agreements, trade policies etc. Also, COVID-19 has caused a rift in the global supply chain for the fashion industry. This new, unexpected demand for speed and efficiency will forever change the practices and policies of the industry. It has also led to a shift in increased investments on automation; hopefully, this does not cause the reliance on workers too drastically.

  31. Fash455 has been such an amazing course to take. I have learned so much throughout this course that I have never even thought of. People think fashion is all about models and clothes and accessories when in reality its much much more than that. This class I believe should be a requirement for everyone at the school to take. This class was able to open up so many new doors of knowledge and relevant topics that more people need to know about. I never really knew about how much went on in order for a certain product to be produced. A huge takeaway from this course is how huge global trading is and how much so many governments fight over tariffs and pricing. I never understood what the point of tariffs even were or agreements between countries and why they needed to be set into place.Now I can confidently say I can explain it to anyone who asks me why these regulations and rules are set into place. The industry is constantly changing. Due to COVID-19 so many more people have switched over to e- commerce being there preferred way of shopping. Covid also affected so many different companies globally. I also really liked learning about the different trade policies in all different countries and how so many countries are interconnected through this.
    Dr. Lu did such a wonderful job teaching this class. I liked our weekly discussion assignments we had each week to really get us thinning and prepared us for what we were going to dive into each week. The articles were always something new and interesting. Even though this class wasn’t the most “fashion” revolved class I think it was really eye opening and showed us issues that people would never even think of when they pick up a T-shirt that was made in Bangladesh but the fibers were from a different country and it was sourced from somewhere else!

  32. FASH455 was a course that was different from all others I have taken at UD. As my senior year comes to a close, I can genuinely say this course was my favorite fashion class I have taken. Each course taken to complete my major and minor all touched around similar concepts. We would briefly discuss discrepancies in the industry, and move on. For starters, we learned about globalization. One of my favorite aspects of this course was that it showed both sides to each point presented. This helped me to draw my own opinions on each topic. What struck me most about the globalization topic was that the industry was able to expand, and how extensive the production of a single pair of shoes could. The next topic involved the idea of mercantilism. I was able to draw a close connection to China and the theory. China’s goal is to create a trade surplus and make itself better off than other countries. With that being said, the US needs to focus on bringing industry back otherwise they could face financial ruin. The next piece of the course involved learning about imports of used clothing to East African Countries. This led me to draw the conclusion that used clothing imports hurt EACs and prevent them from developing strong industry. We learned about PPE production in the US, and the Berry Amendment has the potential to be altered to help protect the US manufacturing industry. One of the most surprising learnings of the semester is that consumer patterns are changing. Consumers now value transparency over fast fashion, which shows a new interest in preserving garment workers. Finally, we learned that countries worldwide have agreements with other countries to preserve industry. The course allowed me to expand my knowledge on topics I had been made aware of, but had yet to fully learn about. I am happy I had the opportunity to take this course. I loved hearing differing views from my classmates. I think this course was offered during a unique time as much of what we learned was able to connect back the the pandemic. I thought this course helped me to look at the world and genuinely want to change it for the better. Thank you Dr. Lu!! I am going to miss your course!!

  33. Going into FASH455, I honestly had no interest in sourcing and also had no clue what it truly entailed. However, as the semester comes to a close, I now feel more informed on the subject than ever and actually care about the subject matter. I have learned so much about trade policies, supply chain management, globalization, tariffs, trade agreements, and more. This course has opened my eyes to a totally different side of the fashion industry. I now know how much politics and international relations affect sourcing as well as how interconnected we all are. It has been extremely interesting to learn about how COVID has shaken up the industry as a whole and more specifically from a sourcing aspect. This pandemic has brought the fashion sector’s faults to light and made countries reevaluate how they operate. I think I most enjoyed learning about globalization since I find it fascinating how heavily reliant each country is on one another. I will never look at my clothing the same way again or simply see “Made in China” when I look at my tag. I feel confident going forward that I can hold solid conversations about trade agreements and policies and how they affect the industry. Also, I feel passionate about talking about where the industry is headed in terms of ethics, sustainability, and technological advancements. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the content of this class as well as its structure. I never dreaded attending class and loved our open discussions. Dr. Lu not only made the material interesting to learn but facilitated comprehension in such a positive and encouraging way. His smile when teaching said it all! Whereas before this class I was strictly looking for jobs in buying and merchandising, I am now also very interested in sourcing! This would’ve never been possible without Dr. Lu. To Dr. Lu specifically, thank you for being such a kind, wonderful professor who truly cares about his students! You made my last semester that much better and I will greatly miss your course.

  34. I’ve learned so much from FASH455 in these five weeks. Prior to this class, I barely knew anything about global sourcing in the textile and apparel industries but I quickly realized after a week in this class, how important this subject is for our industry. Even just learning the essentials and somewhat basics were hard at times and difficult to grasp but you made it attainable to comprehend those deep topics. Also, as the world is slowly shifting out of the pandemic, it was such a relevant topic as well as the political aspect, it’s a very prevalent topic being discussed every day. I’m very grateful that this class was asynchronous but you scheduled those weekly Zoom discussions which helped me a ton to talk through what we had just learned for the week and hear all the different perspectives. It was amazing to hear you so passionate and knowledgable that created those meaningful conversations every week. From globalization, to the trade theories, to the primary supply chains, and trade agreements, it’s true fashion wouldn’t be possible without global trade. As we all are about to head into the fashion industry, this class will be highly rememberable and I’ll forever be grateful for taking it. This will actually be useful for any direction I go in the industry even if I don’t want to exactly work for textile companies and factories. Thank you so much!!

  35. I have thoroughly enjoyed taking FASH455. As a fashion minor, this was my fourth fashion class I have taken at UD. This class was starkly different than the other FASH classes I have taken. While the other classes have focused more on the actual garments and construction of the clothing, this was the first class I have taken where I have looked at the fashion industry as a whole and realized the intricacies that people do not realize when they think about the fashion industry. The T&A trade industry is a complicated web of different countries and economies working together to both help and benefit from each other all with the goal in mind of creating a cohesive product. I have enjoyed learning about this and I think it is something that more people should seek education on.

  36. Prior to taking this course, I was very unfamiliar with the topics of apparel trade and sourcing in the fashion industry. However, this course has given me so much knowledge about such topics and I found it extremely interesting to learn about. This class has not only informed me about the phenomenon of globalization and the introduction of many trade policies, but it has helped me better understand how important the T&A industry is and the impacts it has on what we know as fashion. Before taking this course, I knew that there was more to fashion than just designing and sewing, but I never understood exactly what happened behind the scenes. There are so many critical parts to this industry that aren’t typically talked about or even thought of. For example, we don’t necessarily think about the 120 million workers employed in the textile and apparel industry worldwide, as well as the ever changing trade policies and relations all over the globe. I now realize that the fashion industry is not all the glitz and the glam, but the technology, globalization, and innovation that is constantly changing. It’s safe to say that after taking FASH455, I now look at the fashion industry with open eyes and have a whole new understanding of just how complex it really is.

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