Video Discussion: The Changing Face of Textiles and Apparel “Made in Asia” (Updated December 2022)

Video 1: China’s textile industry going global

Video 2: Smart tech at E China clothing factory

Video 3: Vietnam’s textile and apparel industry amid the pandemic

Video 4: How H&M’s Recycling Machines Make New Clothes From Used Apparel in Hong Kong

Discussion questions:

  1. How are textiles and apparel “Made in Asia” changing their face? What are the driving forces of these changes?
  2. Based on the video, why or why not do you think the “flying geese model” is still valid today?
  3. How to understand COVID-19’s impact on Asia’s textile and apparel industry? What strategies have been adopted by garment factories in Asia to survive the pandemic? What challenges do they still face?
  4. What is your evaluation of Asia’s competitiveness as a textile and apparel production and sourcing hub over the next five years? Why? What factors could be relevant?  
  5. Anything else you find interesting/intriguing/thought-provoking/debatable in the video? Why?

Note: Everyone is welcome to join our online discussion. For students in FASH455, please address at least two questions. Please mention the question number # (no need to repeat the question) in your comment.

Author: Sheng Lu

Professor @ University of Delaware

9 thoughts on “Video Discussion: The Changing Face of Textiles and Apparel “Made in Asia” (Updated December 2022)”

  1. As we saw there is technology being produced to invoke a more sustainable way of consuming (as seen in Video 3) is it possible to implement this technology on a larger scale or do fashion brands and companies have too much control over the current apparel market?

  2. 1. I believe with the flying geese model, textiles and apparel “Made In Asia” are able to continue to change their face. The flying geese model is another example of how developed countries focus on capital and technological intensive practices such as textiles while less developed countries focus on more labor intensive practices such as apparel. This allows for “Made In Asia” regions to continue to grow because as countries become more developed, they can grow their economic status and their capabilities. This allows for countries who are less developed to take over the apparel sector and continue their growth in the industry

    2. The flying geese model says that more advanced economies engage in more capital and technology-intensive production processes while less advanced economies engage in more labor-intensive production processes.  Based on the videos, especially the first, you can see the difference in production procedures and the responsibilities specific countries take based on their economic status.  The factory in China seems to be more technology focused, and their textile companies become important players in creating job opportunities in countries that have more of a focus on labor-intensive production.  While I do believe that automation has decreased the amount of dependence more developed countries have on less developed countries, I do believe the “flying geese model” is still extremely relevant in the textile and apparel industry.  

  3. 2. The “flying geese model” is described as a regional division of labor among manufacturing between East and Southeast Asian countries. Under this model, more advanced economies undertake the high capital and technology-intensive production processes while the less advanced economies engage in the more labor-intensive productions. I believe that the flying geese model is still valid today because it is being applied to manufacturing as it is experiencing technological advancements. It is evident that the videos support the flying geese model because they demonstrate how textile and apparel manufacturing moved to newly-industrialized economies, such as Hong Kong and other Chinese cities, and even to less developed countries such as Vietnam. In Shaoxing, China, an international textile hub opened and has established itself as the largest cloth market in Asia, becoming a popular gathering place for textile trade globally and exporting textiles to more than 190 countries and regions. A smart factory has opened up in Xiamen, China, with technologies that enable clothing production to be much easier and more efficient. Textile industries in Vietnam have shown strong resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic, as they were able to diversify their product lines and were better prepared to deliver export orders compared to their counterparts in Cambodia, India, and Indonesia. Overall, the flying geese model is still relevant today with the focus on implementing technology into factories to make them more efficient and sustainable.

    5. As someone passionate about sustainability, I found Video 4: “How H&M’s Recycling Machines Make New Clothes From Used Apparel in Hong Kong” extremely interesting. I was unaware that H&M, a fast fashion company, was striving to solve the problem of textile waste that it helped create. The facility in Hong Kong is the first in the world to turn used clothing into new garments all in one place. With less than 1% of used clothing being recycled into new garments, their focus is to work on eliminating apparel that ends up in landfills and waterways by employing a recycling process. Although it takes three days to recycle one garment, this kind of technology has the potential to be a global solution for textile waste. H&M has claimed that they are serious about recycling, setting a goal to use only recycled polyester by the end of the decade. Additionally, the H&M Foundation has invested $12 million into these technologies that are able to recycle polyester, and the company plans on building a larger factory that can recycle over 3,000 pounds of clothes per day. However, H&M says that it does not have plans to reduce the production of new clothing and wants to continue growth by selling cheap clothing. How can H&M create meaningful growth for their company while still taking measures toward sustainability?

    1. Great thoughts! I am attending the texprocess this week and feel impressed by Asian garment and textile factories’ commits to new technologies and keeping their production competitive. It convinced me that the flying geese model will continue. Meanwhile, the emergence of textile recycling presents a new opportunity. Because the supply chain is totally different, its implications for the future of made in Asia is also interesting to watch.

  4. The “flying geese model” suggests how apparel manufacturing has moved from industrialized countries such as Japan, to newly industrialized countries, such as South Korea to China, and now to even less developed countries such as Vietnam. These four videos focus on textile and apparel industries in many different countries. In the first video we see how China’s textile industry is not just in China anymore. It has gone global. Chinese textiles are exported to Italy and other European countries. Farming towns in Africa such as Ethiopia have been industrialized and now have factories for Chinese textile manufacturing. I think this Video 1: China’s textile industry going global supports the “flying geese model” because it shows how less developed countries such as Ethiopia have industrialized recently to become a part of the textile industry supply chain.

  5. These videos support the Flying Geese Model by showing that more advanced countries can produce textiles in more efficient ways. The first video shows that Chinese investors are bringing the knowledge of textile production to less developed countries to try and bring infrastructure. China is also advanced enough to produce smart factories, as shown in the second video. Smart factories allow production time to be significantly reduced and the production process to be tracked via RFID hangers. I think Asia is a good sourcing base for US fashion companies because materials can be sourced for significantly lower costs. This allows prices to stay low for consumers and brands alike. However, there is a dilemma, as it does not benefit US fashion companies, as they will still have to pay tariffs on these items.

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