What Do You Take Away from FASH455? (Updated May 2023)

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.

First of all, I hope students can take away essential knowledge about textile and apparel trade & sourcing from FASH455. As you may recall from the video, in FASH455:

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 fashion apparel 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 textile and apparel industry, from the impact of COVID-19 on apparel sourcing and trade, the growing interest in expanding near-shoring from the Western Hemisphere, the debate on the textile and apparel provisions in U.S. free trade agreements 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.

Likewise, I hope FASH455 can put students into thinking about why “fashion” matters. A popular misconception is that “fashion and apparel” are 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 class, over 120 million people remain directly employed in the textile and apparel industry globally, and a good proportion of them are females living in poor rural areas. For most developing countries, textile and apparel typically account for 70%–90% of their total merchandise exports and provide one of the very few opportunities for these countries to participate in globalization. The global pandemic, in particular, reveals the fashion industry’s enormous social and economic impacts and many problems that need our continuous efforts to make meaningful improvements. 

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

  • How to make apparel sourcing and trade more sustainable, socially responsible, and transparent? What needs to be done further–fashion companies, government, consumers, and other stakeholders?
  • To which extent will geopolitics, such as the Russia-Ukraine war and US-China tensions, affect world trade patterns and fundamentally shift fashion companies’ sourcing and supply chain strategies?
  • How will automation, AI, and digital technologies change the future landscape of apparel sourcing, trade, and job opportunities? What may fashion education look like ten years from now given the shifting nature of the industry?
  • How to use trade policy as a tool to solve challenging global issues such as forced labor and climate change? Or shall we leave these issues to the market forces?

We don’t have solid answers yet for these questions. However, these issues are waiting for you, the young professional and the new generation of leaders, to write 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

72 thoughts on “What Do You Take Away from FASH455? (Updated May 2023)”

  1. FASH455 has helped me not only gain a better understanding of different trade policies within the Global Textile and Apparel Industry, but really opened my eyes as to how interconnected many different countries are. I have been able to see the world through a different lens and what I have learned has been super interesting. Additionally, it has been really interesting applying what I have learned in class to real world situations, such as the impact of COVID-19 on the Global Textile and Apparel Industry and the impact of the shipping crisis on the holiday shopping season. I now understand why fashion matters and is important to our global economy, as it shapes the economies of many developing countries, as it creates jobs, promotes economic development, enhances human development, and reduces poverty. Overall, I have really enjoyed the course material in FASh455 and will take what I have learned in this course with me to future job opportunities.

  2. Prior to this course I had very little knowledge on global textile and apparel trade and sourcing. Overall I gained more knowledge on how important the global economy and the effect trade and trade policies have on the industry. Going off of that I never really knew about trade policies such as CAFTA and NAFTA and never really realized how there are winners and losers of every trade policy. Another takeaway from this course is learning about all the trade theories such as absolute advantage and overall how they explain why certain countries are exporters of apparel and some are exporters of textiles. My last takeaway from this course is just overall how important the supply chain is and seeing first hand events such as covid-19 and the recent shipping crisis can really effect the supply chain.

    1. glad to learn this! and CAFTA-DR, together with the growing interest in near-sourcing, will remain a hot topic for the fashion industry in the year ahead!

  3. Fashion 455 has taught me valuable lessons about the industry and broadened my total understanding of global trade. I find that we often learn in a bubble and do not look at things from an international viewpoint. This class gave me that broaden look and was very eye opening. Global textile and apparel trade is now very interesting to me and I hope to learn more about these issues that are present in our world, as I continue my education. The topic of this class that I found the most interesting had to do with the overall supply chain and how much we do not know about the industry and what actions are occurring daily.

    1. I hope many years later, when you see news headlines about trade and trade policy, you will still recall FASH455:-)

  4. FASH455 has been my favorite course within the fashion curriculum thus far. The topics regarding trade policy and the global fashion supply chain is very interesting and touches on the important subject of sustainability. In the future, I hope to obtain a career related to sustainability within the fashion industry and this course helped me to gain a better understanding of the possible job options. Not to mention, the guest speakers who were able to meet with us were very engaging and inspiring. I hope to be able to work with trade policy and supply chain challenges just like them. Subsequently, this course has expanded my global mindset and helped me to realize just how much effort goes into making a single product. Now that I fully understand the product development process I am much more grateful for the things that I possess. I am so glad that I was able to take this FASH455 this semester, and I hope to take similar courses in the near future.

    1. Thank you for a great semester also! would love to offer FASH455 season 2 at some point, in which students can conduct original studies and propose solutions for many grand challenges we are still facing. And you should definitely consider the AAFA internship!

  5. This course has stood out to me more than any other courses that I had to take for my fashion major. The reason behind why I was able to take so much out of this course was due to the fact that no matter what path I decide to take in the fashion industry after graduating, understanding the ins and outs of how the textile and apparel industry work is crucial. I especially took an interest in the policies being placed and debates going on in the industry and how those policies and decisions affect the industry financially and how they benefit or damage the trade and sustainability issues going on in the industry. In this course, I learned the importance of when deciding on policies and change, looking at every sector and seeing how the sector will be affected, is critical to examine to make sure there are as few disruptions in the industry and supply chain. For example, one policy that stood out to be, which happened to be one of the last topics covered in class, was CBP’s Withhold Release Orders (WROs) which addressed the alleged Xinjiang cotton made by forced labor. This policy is up to debate about how effective the release order is. Understanding how it affects every sector (the brand, the sourcing strategy implemented, the consumer, and the product) is something every decision and policy implemented should be aware of before going ahead with the policy.
    (Submission Issue)

  6. FASH455 allowed me to learn so much about so many different things. It brought issues of human rights to the forefront, it familiarized me with topics like globalization, and it opened my eyes immensely to sourcing when it comes to textile and apparel. Evidently, I wasn’t knowledgeable of all that goes on behind the scenes when it comes to production and trade but now I am. I feel more confident in my abilities to utilize my knowledge, discuss it, and apply it to the work force.

  7. FASH455 really helped me learn about the Textile and Apparel as a global sector, Theory of international trade and development, US/ Asia/ European textile and apparel industry and sourcing strategy. From all of the learning sectors in this semester, I really like to know about the sourcing strategies and all issues might happen in supply chain. I once had an internship in a supply chain team, but this time I know more and deeper about supply chain and sourcing strategy. This lesson has given me a lot of inspiration and I am also thinking to work in brands/retailers’ supply team in the future. I think it will be a good opportunity to apply what I have learned from FASH455 to future work.

  8. FASH455 has opened my eyes in a new way to just how complex the fashion industry is on every level! In the future, I hope to work in public relations and possibly fashion public relations. Understanding different trade theories, global issues of trade and sourcing, and different T&A supply chains worldwide only help me understand just how much goes on in the fashion industry and succeed in my career. I have a strong interest in fashion sustainability and social justice and talking about the key issues of the social and economic impacts of the apparel sector was very interesting to learn. It is so important for apparel sourcing and trade to become more sustainable, socially responsible, and transparent. More companies need to understand the impact they have on the environment and make changes to help. I am excited to see the changes that will occur in the next five years that I am hopeful with be positive.

  9. Before taking FASH455, I had little knowledge of global aspects from the fashion industry. This course has provided me with deep and enriched understandings of supply chains, sourcing strategies, social responsibility, sustainability efforts, economic and business attributes to trading partnerships, and much more. As a Public Relations Communication major with minors in Fashion Management and Advertising, I feel this course has blended well with my other studies to provide a well rounded insight into the fashion industry. Post graduation, I hope to start a career with marketing and public relations fields within the fashion industry. This class has given me the confidence to understand aspects including sourcing, supply chain efforts, sustainability, social responsibility and more to pursue a career within a related field.

  10. FASH455 is one of the most important courses I have taken during my 4 years at UD. Understanding textile and apparel trade as a global sector is a critical part of the fashion industry. This course has been especially interesting to me because I got the chance to further expand my knowledge on current day issues, and apply my understanding to my own daily life. For example, in this course we have talked about COVID-19 and the effects it has on the fashion industry. It was fascinating to see how much COVID shifted apparel sourcing and trade, and subsequently the industry is still recovering. In addition, with the holiday season approaching we have also learned about the impacts of the shipping crisis and shortages that are currently occurring. With this knowledge, I was able to have a conversation with my friends regarding delays and out of stock items due to shortages and high demand, and educate them with the information I learned from this course. I now have a better understanding of global textile and apparel trade and sourcing that I didn’t have before. The information I learned from this course will continue to help me in the near future.

  11. FASH 455 has allowed me to dive deeper into the inter-workings of the fashion and apparel industry. Learning about globalization, different trade policies, safe and unsafe working conditions and job opportunities has opened my eyes as to what really goes on behind the clothing items we purchase in stores. I have found the T&A trading process to be complex, as there are many steps, countries and people who impact the life cycle of each singular garment. After taking FASH 455 and becoming more knowledgable on the T&A global industry I have realized how much progress can be made within this industry. Whether it be finding more sustainable ways to trade or assuring safe working conditions for workers in underdeveloped countries, this industry can continue to grow and improve. Before this class, I had very little knowledge about the specifics of T&A trade. Knowing more now, I am inspired to help be the change within the industry, and pass on my knowledge to others.

  12. There are various takeaways from FASH455 and information that I was not aware of prior to taking the class. I think an important aspect that the class emphasizes is where our clothes come from. As students, and more importantly consumers, we are usually unaware of where the products we are purchasing actually are manufactured from. I learned from this class that the clothing we wear comes from up to 150 different countries that are made through a complicated global supply chain along with strategic sourcing. In addition to this, another main point I learned from FASH455 is the importance of trade. We would not have the same apparel industry if it was not for trade and globalization. Fashion apparel trade is heavily regulated by trade policy and there are many opinions and viewpoints regarding different rules of trade policies. For example, a topic of debate is that some tariffs have a larger impact on women’s clothing compared to mens which is very controversial. Last but not least, a topic that was essential to class was forced labor and why it is such an issue. Overall, I am not only informed on supply chains, sourcing, and globalization, but also the fashion industry as a whole.

  13. I really enjoyed taking this class! As a fashion major, the global supply chain has been touched on in classes but has never fully been delved into. Whether you want to find a career in global trade or not, global trade is at the base of all jobs in the fashion industry. We are all wearing clothes, so we are all participating in this global supply chain. In addition to global trade theories, learning about trade agreements really opened my eyes to how much goes into how our clothes get to us. In particular, how global trade isn’t black and white. It’s not just about how much it costs or how quick it can get there. Global trade is heavily rooted in politics and global systems. These systems affect every trade deal and every supply chain. Additionally, I thought it was extremely beneficial to take this class from a real industry professional who has a voice in these conversations. Being able to read studies and research done by my professor was pretty cool! I feel like we got up to date and insider info, which makes the class all the more valuable. Overall, I think that FASH455 will set me up with a great toolbox for how to navigate conversations about global trade and supply chains, whether that is in my future career or just my daily life as a consumer.

  14. I would like to start off by saying I really enjoyed this class and everything you taught us throughout the semester. The reason I chose to major in fashion merchandising is because of sustainability and finding alternative ways to make the fashion industry less polluting, and more worker friendly especially in places like third world countries. I feel like this class furthered my knowledge about different sectors within the fashion industry like the apparel sector and the textile sector and how these different sectors provide jobs for different countries based on what their good in like technology or labor. I really learned how countries work together in order to supply our consumers with products they want and need and how complex some supply chains are in order to get the best quality at the best price for their market. Overall, I can go on and on about what I learned in this class but what I am most excited for is taking this knowledge into the real world and apply it to whatever job I get in the fashion industry.

  15. Not only has FASH455 been one of my favorite courses throughout my 4 years at UD as a fashion major but I truly believe it’s been the most important and eye-opening course I’ve taken in relation to the fashion industry. FASH 455 has taught us to look beyond what we think we know about the industry and dive deeper into the logistics of how the entire supply chain functions and interconnects worldwide. The topics we have learned and understanding globalization, trade & policies, tariffs, supply chains, rules of origin, and many more are critical knowledge we need in order to make difficult decisions, overcome challenges, and make action plans once we enter the industry. We truly are the future and I’m most interested to see how automation intelligence and digital technologies will change the future of apparel sourcing, trade, and job opportunities. We already see with Amazon how data science has allowed the company to rise to the top due to its important role within Amazon’s strategies and logistics in order to readily provide for the consumers. I think in 10 years fashion education will incorporate courses focused more on data and consumer analytics as it is increasingly becoming a main strategy fashion brands use to provide for their consumers. I’m interested to see what the future holds and excited to take the knowledge and information I’ve learned within this course into the real world within the fashion industry!

  16. I went into FASH455 not really knowing much about the class and thinking it wouldn’t be something I’m really interested in. It turned out to be one of my favorite classes ive taken at UD. I will be leaving this class with so much knowledge that will help me in my career. This class has completely opened my eyes to a whole new part of the fashion industry that, up until this class, I have overlooked. I learned how much sourcing not only effects the fashion industry but impacts almost everything. I found it super interesting to learn about the effects COVID has had on sourcing and how it will continue to impact it for years. I never realized how much we trade and source across the globe. I loved learning about this because it creates a connection in the world that I never knew about. Thank you so much for an amazing semester!

  17. Throughout the semester, FASH455 has given me a deeper understanding of the fashion industry as a whole. Specifically, the class discussed how the supply chain functions through trading and sourcing worldwide. Prior to this class, I barely knew anything about the global T&A industries and the concept was never really discussed in my other fashion classes. Now I am aware of the steps it takes for clothing to get to consumers. The global textile and apparel industry is extremely complex and there is not always a clear solution to their problems. There are other countries, economics, and politics that come together to create the global trade sector. But this is not without its faults of changing trade deals, tariff wars, or alleged forced labor. Overall, I believe that this class has taught me so much about the textile & apparel industry and the effect it has on the world. This class has also inspired me to expand my knowledge on current issues in the industry and stay informed.

  18. Taking Fash455 has been a really informative experience. It not only expanded my knowledge of apparel sourcing, but government policy as well. I personally do not keep up with politics and I am glad I now have a better understanding of US trade policy as well as whats going on in the world right now. For example, I had heard about the crisis with the Uyghurs in China, and I am glad now to understand the problem more and the severity of that problem in our world today. The videos helped show visual examples to our information for a better understanding. Each guest speaker gave me real world examples of applying our class topics. The topics were easy to understand and I understood the importance of each topic. If I get into the fashion industry with a brand, this class will help me understand what goes behind each decision. Each design decision is fueled by monetary purpose. I really understand the importance of fashion students taking it.

  19. FASH455 has not only been one of my favorite classes taken at UD, but also one of the most important, influential classes I have taken! Prior to this class I understood the issues surrounding tariffs but was not aware of any past precedents or theories. This class completely opened my eyes to the global T&A industries and how everything is connected, therefore extremely complex. I learned so much valuable information in this class that I know I will take with me throughout my career. Additionally, this class inspired me to become even more aware of the current external challenges the fashion industry is facing and will continue to tackle in the upcoming years.

  20. Before taking this course, I knew little to nothing about the Global Textile and Apparel industry. Throughout the semester we have analyzed and evaluated many different theories, functions, and strategies that surround the industry and keep it going on a daily basis. I have learned about the complex in and outs of textile and apparel industries and have really enjoyed all of the content in this course!

  21. This course has been the most memorable for my minor in fashion. This course taught me a great deal about the textile and garment industry, which is important in every industry and field. I was especially interested in the sector’s policies and discussions, as well as the financial impact they have on the industry and the extent to which they help or damage trade and sustainability issues. As a result of this training, I now understand the need of considering the whole supply chain when formulating policies and implementing changes in order to minimize supply chain disruptions. CBP’s Withhold Release Orders (WROs), used to restrict the importation of Xinjiang cotton purportedly produced by forced labor, was one of the measures that stood out to me. I was also taken aback by the number of supply-chain issues that have arisen, as well as by the amount of time that companies are devoted to preparing for and recovering from a pandemic of this magnitude.

  22. FASH455 has been one of the most rewarding and beneficial classes I have taken so far in the fashion program. This course helped connect the real-world work with the work we have been practicing in the textbooks. Learning about trade policy and globalization has widened my perspective on the industry of fashion. This industry is essential to so many developing countries, and it’s the policies we are debating or discussing today may allow countries to have new opportunities. I think my most valuable conversation in this class was the “flying geese model.” This model helped explain visually the evolution and the future evolution of the fashion industry. It helps process how different countries can benefit from the fashion industry and predicts the pattern these countries will follow. I think what I found most surprising was the possibility of debate and each factor affected when a country creates strategies. The production chain is so long that so many people are involved in decisions. I am grateful to have had this class with Professor Sheng who opened the floor to all opinions and comments allowing us all to learn!

    1. Great to learn this! Indeed, I hope FASH455 offers a new perspective that helps students understand what’s going on in the real world—the evolving trade patterns, the current events, and hot button debates. As you can see, “fashion is possible because of international trade and trade policy”.

  23. In my opinion, FASH455 has been one of the most meaningful and informational classes I have taken at the University of Delaware. Coming into class everyday and hearing about real-world situations and policies is something that I have not had in any other course. Learning about what is happening in the industry today is so important and without this class, I would not have that knowledge. Until this course, I was unaware of how important the fashion industry really is for so many developing countries. The decisions we make as an industry have an impact on the lives of so many others, and I am going to take that into account as I enter my career.

  24. FASH 455 has given me the opportunity to really delve deeper into the inner workings of the fashion and apparel industries. Learning about trade policy and globalization has broadened my perspective on the fashion industry and the textile and apparel industry. The textile and apparel industry is critical to many developing countries, and the policies we are debating today may provide new opportunities for those countries.  Before taking this course, I did not really know too much about the T&A industry too well, but it was very interesting to see how important it is and that it is crucial for the fashion industry. My favorite part of this course was probably the case studies and the discussions with those. It was great to form my own opinions on the topics we learned, and then go and hear feedback from my peers to broaden my knowledge and come up with different ideas that I hadn’t thought of yet.

  25. Prior to this course I had believed I had a decent understanding of the global T&A industry, turns out I was wrong! There was a vast amount of information about global textile and apparel trade and sourcing which we covered in depth within this course. Now I can truly say not only do I have an understanding of the T&A industry, but I have developed a big-picture version of it within the 21st century world economy through my learning in 455. Understanding globalization, trade theories, supply chain, trade policies and more have given me a new perspective as a future professional and as a consumer. I enjoyed not only the content of this course, but the way in which you ran class as well. Case studies and discussions allowed me to apply my learning and ask hard questions. I have been able to put into perspective why fashion matters and look at sustainability in a realistic manner. There are many challenges in this growing industry and I can’t wait to be a part of them. I truly feel this class has given me adequate preparation to go into the industry and will be beneficial for me in my future career.

  26. FASH455 has been a class where I have been able to learn about the fashion industry outside of just the clothes. In this class I have learned about the ins and outs of the industry and how much goes into each step of the production process. One thing that I really enjoyed learning about in this class is about how much the US needs to change. Sustainability and ethical responsibility are extremely important to me and after learning about all of the things that go on in other countries. Specifically, when we learned about the Rana Plaza tragedy. It is terrible to think that the fashion industry is just looking past things like this and not doing enough to make change. Another country that we more recently discussed in class is China, and how important different regions of China are to the fashion industry. Although they are important, they are being extremely unethical and have caused many issues within the production process with US fashion brands. Issues like this, are what intrigued me most about FASH455, and the knowledge that I now have of these issues are what I will bring into the industry as I enter it.

  27. FASH455 has opened my eyes about so many different aspects of the fashion industry, specifically in the global textile and apparel industry. There were many trade deals that I had heard of before, but never really fully understood them until taking this course. There are also many issues surrounding the global textile and apparel industry that are double-edged sword because of the ethical and business standpoints on each side. This course also walked us through the steps a country takes when moving from a developing country to a developed country and how that affected the supply chain. Finally, this class also helped me to understand how all countries are connected through the textile and apparel industry because of trade, sourcing, and globalization. If we did not have business with other countries, the clothing we purchase would cost way more than what we pay now, as well as the supply and demand of goods would totally change.

  28. This course has entirely changed the lens of which I perceive the textile and apparel industry. For so long I felt silly learning about textiles and fashion terms when such big events were taking place in the world around us, such as the COVID-19 Pandemic and the war between Russia and Ukraine. Thankfully, this class was able to show me just how
    important the textile and apparel sector is globally and economically through the complex trade policies and agreements that help build foundations for countries worldwide. All in all, I have a better understanding of how things are made and what type of processes must be assed in order for the not only clothing, but all sourced products to get into our hands today. I hope ten years from now we have made significant progress in making the textile and apparel industry a transparent and sustainable global sector. I presume fashion education will still be consisting of how to make things greener than they already are, as well as how technology can be to our benefit. I also envision students will discuss the history of the trade agreements still being sorted out now such as CAFTA-DR, and hopefully thinking of ways to implement new and improved agreements. The world is everchanging and evolving, as the future of the industry we must allow and encourage industry policies, processes, professionals change and evolve with it.

  29. FASH455 has really opened my eyes to aspects of textile and apparel trade and sourcing that I have never thought of before. I have learned the importance of trade agreements, and been able to gain a new understanding of the ins and outs of sourcing in the industry. After the shift the COVID-19 pandemic caused in the industry, I believe this course is more important than ever. This industry is global, and it is important to acknowledge the trade relationships between different countries. Learning of tragedies such as the Rana plaza collapse as well as the forced labor issues in Xinjiang has completely changed my view of production and showed me how important it is to pay close attention to companies sustainability and traceability. Overall I learned the importance of globalization; without the globalization of the industry, it would not be what it is today.

  30. FASH 455 helped change my perspective on the fashion industry. The fashion industry is incredibly complicated, and there are a variety of factors that create tension and harmony in various ways. There are rarely ever easy answers to issues within our supply chain, and we all have to be aware of these issues to play our part in the global fashion industry. The supply chain is ever evolving with different implementations of technology and various external circumstances like COVID-19 has changed how the supply chain will function forever. Trade laws are complicated, and there are so many economic, technological, and political factors that are involved with global trade. This part of fashion is essential, and there are so many applications within any role we will play in the fashion industry. I am so grateful for this class because I feel it has really prepared me for my sourcing internship in the summer and my eventual career in fashion after I graduate. It has definitely reignited my passion for the topic, and I cannot wait to see where the fashion industry will take us.

  31. Before taking this class I had little to no knowledge about the global T&A industries or the supply chain. I felt that this class really gave me a deeper understanding of those aspects and honestly just more knowledge of the fashion industry as a whole. I was able to learn about what really goes on behind the scenes of production and trade within the textile industry which I am thankful for because it was such an eye-opener. I now feel confident in informing and teaching others about the topics we learned in this class and I can also now apply this to my further learning and whatever I plan to do in the future.

  32. FASH455 has taught me so much not only about trading and sourcing within the fashion industry but so much about trade policy and the way it interacts with various governments and economies around the world. It was so interesting to see the background on why certain countries are importers vs. exporters as well as why some assemble textiles and others manufacture apparel. I have learned so much within this class and feel I have gained a much more global understanding of all the parts that go into the T&A industries. I feel confidently in my abilities to discuss and question these topics and policies with others and within my career.

  33. Admittedly, I did not intend to enjoy FASH455. However, this class has been one of the most informative, holistic, and thought-provoking courses I have taken at the University of Delaware. Most people associate the fashion industry with superficial glitz and glamour, often belittling its impact. FASH455 dispels those myths. It proves that economies heavily rely on the complexities of the global textile and apparel industry to thrive. From the wealthiest countries to developing nations, each plays an integral role in the supply chain. The debates raised in this course will help us to make informed sourcing and merchandising decisions that consider political, social, and economic factors. I hope that as future leaders of the fashion industry, we will apply the key learnings from this course to shape a more ethical, sustainable, and diverse supply chain– one that prioritizes people, spreads global wealth, and innovates production.

    1. Such valid points you make Hollan! You are so right in that the fashion industry always has a facade keeping the public unaware of all the true realities behind it. Most people go to the store and don’t even think twice about buying their clothes. If only people sometimes knew the truth of where their Shein clothes are coming from…

  34. FASH455 has taught me a multitude of things that I will carry with me throughout my entire career (and outside of it, as well). Prior to this class, anything that had to do with trading and tariffs was always so confusing for me to follow and understand. This class really broke everything down into much more understandable terms and has helped me to not be so scared of things that have to do with trade, trade wars, tariffs, etc. I also will continue to educate people now that I know that textile and apparel are in fact two different things often understood as the same thing. Our clothing comes from all over the world so being able to understand the behind the “seams” of our clothing is also something that I will always take with me and think about when purchasing apparel.

  35. FASH455 has taught me a lot of valuable lessons that I will carry with me for the remainder of my academic career and beyond. Before this seminar, everything involving trade and tariffs was always difficult for me to follow and comprehend. FASH455 helped me comprehend ideas related to trade and tariffs by articulating things in much more comprehensible language. I will also continue to educate others now that I am aware that textile and clothing are two distinct entities that are frequently confused. Having greater knowledge of these topics will enable me to speak out about the new facts I’ve learned. Having a better understanding of trade will con-side with any job I am presented with. I would recommend that everyone who will be taking this class take advantage of the many resources Dr. Sheng Lu has provided for this course. Dr. Sheng Lu has made these courses informational, interactive, and overall a pleasant and well-thought-out experience. This class has been one of my favorites!

  36. I want to thank you, Sheng Lu, because I really have learned so much from this course. I have had so many different types of fashion courses throughout my three years here so far but none that taught me introduced me to the global textile industry. I had no knowledge of sourcing and trade and that aspect of the fashion industry before this semester, which is so important. I definitely believe that no matter what position you hold in the industry or what you are studying, understanding how trade and sourcing work is always relevant. During multiple of my internship interviews, they were very interested in hearing more about our group discussions in this course. I also enjoyed how active our class was. I loved learning from my classmates and hearing about what they had to add to the group discussions. This course has encouraged me to try to step out of my comfort zone. My favorite part of the course was the case studies, the articles about conflict and the ways we can solve them were very eye-opening to me. There are so many issues happening all over the world that I am not aware of.
    I also am very grateful that I got to take this course post-COVID. The pandemic has had an enormous impact on the apparel industry, especially the global aspects. There have been such huge adjustments since the pandemic started.

  37. I have learned so much from this class and really feel like I understand a little better a side of the fashion industry that I had never really thought of much before now. I interned at Burlington this summer and sat in on numerous meetings where we talked about supply chain backups and the effect of tariffs on costs and getting products to the stores. We also had meetings with vendors about how they were moving production out of China and what that would mean for us. I listened in on these meetings and understood on a basic level what they were talking about but I did not understand why these topics are important to us as retailers or just how important they are. Now I will be able to start my job this summer with not only background knowledge about what is going on in the sourcing world but also the ability to be an active participant in these conversations. Now I know vendors may be moving factories out of China due to political tensions, high tariffs, or a shift to regionalization for example. This class taught me that the fashion industry is an incredibly complex entity that involves countries and people from all over the world and from all walks of life. Wealthy countries like the US who produce textiles all the way to developing countries like Bangladesh who produce the apparel are integral to the industry that I am entering. I honestly think I would not be nearly as prepared to start my career if it wasn’t for this class. Thank you Professor Lu!

  38. FASH 455 was very insightful, and was very interesting. I want to have my own fashion brand one day and learning the various roles within global trade and textile industry. The material in this class has taught me to analyze trade policies and the various parties they affect and how they are affected financially, politically, and economically. It has also challenged me to think about how policies can be improved to protect the parties whose voices go unheard (i.e. garment workers, factory owners, consumers, etc.). I truly like being challenged and stretching my knowledge consistently. This course has forced me to think about the future and what my company and I can do to improve the fashion industry and still benefit from doing business globally.

  39. I took so many things out of FASH 455, with all the other fashion courses I have had to take these past three years this one really opened my eyes the most as to what it is really like behind the scenes of so many companies. I never realized how much every decision matters so much, like where to source your materials from, where to produce your clothing, the labor laws in different countries, the tariffs on clothing in so many countries and so much more. It opened my eyes to how challenging it really can be to own a clothing brand. I never realized how many policies and agreements you have to think about when you are choosing where to make your clothing and how much research you have to do to make sure your sourcing ethically and sustainably.

  40. FASH455 was not like any other fashion class I have taken at UD. I really liked that we were able to take this class during a time period when there was so much going on in the global textile and apparel trade. It was very interesting to watch in real-time how what we were learning is currently affecting the industry that we are in. I had very limited prior knowledge about tariffs, trade agreements and laws, and even about the largest importers and exporters. I was able to learn different perspectives of what is occurring in our class discussions, which has helped me form opinions of my own about the apparel and textile trade. I have really enjoyed the classes I have taken with Sheng Lu, this will definitely be a memorable class and I will use what I have learned in my future career.

    1. I completely agree with you. Compared to all of the fashion classes that I have taken here this was the most unlike like any of them, which made it even more interesting. Like you, I had very limited knowledge, and now I am leaving this class with a much better understanding, as well as the ability to come up with my own ideas on the topics learned.

    2. I completely agree with you that FASH455 was unlike any other fashion class I have taken here at UD, making it even more interesting. I was not too aware about the topics in this class, but now I am leaving with a better understanding, as well as the ability to come up with my own ideas/beliefs on the topics learned.

  41. FASH455 was the first fashion course I had ever taken at U.D, and I can honestly say that it was one of my favorite courses that I have ever taken here. Prior to taking the course, I thought of the global T&A trade in a very linear way. Quite frankly, I assumed China produced textiles, which were sent to other Asian countries to be turned into apparel before getting shipped to the U.S. Never had I heard of CAFTA-DR, and I wasn’t even aware of the scale of our T&A supply chain in the western hemisphere. Now, I truly understand the complexity of the global T&A supply chain and how globalized it has become, and I thank Dr. Lu for that immensely. Although I am no fashion major, I plan to use what I learned about globalization and government policies to help me in my future career, as globalization is all around us and not just limited to the fashion industry.

    1. I agree completely with you! I always thought of trade as very two dimensional and just made my own assumptions of where products were sourced and now I know its more complex than that! Dr. Lu is an incredible professor and makes it clear how passionate he is about this course!

  42. I think FASH455 has really changed my perspective on textile and apparel trade and sourcing. In my previous classes, I had heard of globalization before and knew the textile and apparel industries both sourced from other countries, but I was not aware of the complexity of it. I think it’s really interesting that no matter what trade policies or agreements are set in place, there will always be winners and losers and that the textile and apparel industries do have some similarities, but they are very different from each other. Overall, everything I have learned in this class will be super beneficial for my future career in the fashion industry, and I hope to take what I have learned and pass this knowledge to others.

  43. Taking FASH455 was one of the best decisions I could have made. I truly enjoyed the course material and feel that I have learned a lot of valuable information. Mainly I learned just how global the fashion industry is, which was touched on in the video above. I think I had not realized just how much the fashion industry relies on other countries and trading patterns to keep afloat. Learning about all that goes into sourcing materials and where best to manufacture products based on different trade routes, trade agreements, and tariffs was extremely interesting. I was very unaware of all that went into garment production and since feel like I have a pretty good understanding of the entire process. Since I plan to work more in the business side of fashion, I think the trading and economic information I learned through this course will be extremely helpful in my future. I also feel like this opened my eyes to where I would like to see change within the fashion industry between trade agreements, workers rights, sustainability practices etc.

  44. Fash455 really helped grow my knowledge when it comes to international trade and sourcing, but also helped me gain a strong foundation of basics to help further my understanding in my career. Such as learning that a countries role in the T&A industry directly correlates with where they are in the economy. How we should look at a countries comparative advantage to determine where to source from, such as looking for a country with abundant labor to make apparel and a country with high capital to source textiles. I also found it interesting to see how interconnected all of the regions of the world are in the industry and how each plays an important part, which is why trade deals, tariffs and wars are so important to the foundations of the fashion industry, and we as future members of the industry should pay more attention to them. I will use the knowledge I gained in this class to help understand more about what my vendors will be going through when I start my career as an assistant buyer after I graduate. This has been one of my favorite classes I have taken at UD and I wish I could have been in it longer than a winter session!

  45. As FASH455 wraps up my minor classes here at UD, I can confidently say that I now deeply understand the ins and outs of fashion management and how textile and apparel trade and sourcing are extremely relevant to it. Going into this class, I was honestly not very interested because prior to it I didn’t understand that relevance. As the course began and went on, I found myself very curious about the topics we discussed throughout. My favorite takeaway was realizing how interconnected the world is because of economics and, more specifically, of course, textile and apparel trade and sourcing. The global supply chain is so complex and diving into supply chains such as the Western Hemisphere’s or the EU’s, was interesting to learn – it is mindblowing how calculated everything is, down to as minuscule as a fiber. With my new knowledge of textile and apparel trade and sourcing, I have a new outlook on the fashion industry because, for example, there are tedious factors I never would have thought about like yarn-forward rules of origin or free trade agreements like CAFTA-DR. I also liked learning about more current events, such as how the Biden administration is deciding to deal with the tariff war with China and what the implications of his decisions might be for US fashion businesses and our relationship with China. There are so many more topics I thoroughly enjoyed learning about and I am glad I gave it a chance when I was hesitant!

  46. In FASH455, I learned and examined the phenomenon of globalization and its implications, discussed various trade theories, explored different T&A supply chains in the world, and looked at critical trade policies that matter to the T&A sector. Through these studies, I gained an understanding of the significance of trade in the fashion industry and how it plays a role in the global economy and international business. By examining trade policies, I also learned how trade can shape the T&A sector and impact various stakeholders, such as fashion companies, consumers, and governments. Overall, this course provided students with a comprehensive understanding of the importance of trade in fashion and its impacts on the industry and the world. Before Coming into this class I was very unaware of how important trade is in the fashion industry.

  47. In FASH455 I learned that the COVID-19 pandemic had way more impacts in the apparel sourcing and trading industry than I originally thought. I was especially interested in the impacts that are still presently in the process of recovery. For example, companies who relied on one country for sourcing were in a bind as each country was progressing through covid regulations at a different pace. Which ultimately may have produced a positive outcome of a push towards fashion companies looking into new sourcing strategies and diversification efforts. I was surprised to be genuinely interested in topics that I had no idea about before. Being able to understand content about international trade in a broad manner makes me feel much more confident going into my future internship and I feel like I will actually be able to add to the conversation. After learning that the production chain has so many factors and steps involved, it makes sense hearing that sourcing jobs are in such demand. I am relieved to have gained the knowledge that I did while learning throughout the course and I see myself coming back to this blog in the future to learn more!

  48. In taking FASH455 I have taken away so much new knowledge on not only trade in the US but internationally as well. I really enjoyed learning about the tariff war between China and the US as I never know how unfair China’s trade procedures were as I buy products from China more often than I realize. Hearing about these trade laws from experts in the industry also was eye opening and interesting to hear new prospectives and have the opportunity to ask questions and hear their personal opinions on textile and apparel trade practices.

  49. After taking FASH455 I most certainly gained a better understanding and more knowledge about textile and apparel trade and sourcing. I am super eager to use what I have learned in this class as I start working in the fashion industry. Being part of my job after college involves working and communicating with manufacturers overseas. I feel like this class has suited me well for my next role and future careers. In FASH455 I really enjoyed learning about co-oriented many countries and all the many benefits and disadvantages that come with global textile and apparel trading and sourcing. This class really opened my eyes on the significance of the global economy and the effect of trades and trade policies that I previously had no knowledge on. I also really enjoyed taking this class after the COVID pandemic because it helped really show how badly the global economy was affected by the terrible event, and it helped even more to understand with all the visuals and statistics that were shown in class.

  50. FASH455 has really expanded my knowledge on textile and apparel trade and sourcing. Before this class, I was not aware of everything involved in the process. I was particularly interested in the topics regarding sustainability, transparency, and social responsibility. It was interesting to hear about how far many factories have come in addressing these issues, yet there is still a lot of work to be done. For example, in the beginning of the semester we discussed the disaster of Rana Plaza, which was really eye opening in terms of the importance in making sure safety of the employees is the number one priority in trade. Videos, as well as guest speakers, further got the ideas/topics of FASH455 across, as we were presented with real life examples/scenarios. I thoroughly enjoyed this class, and hope to continue to gain more awareness of what is going on in the fashion industry, in terms of globalization, trade, tariffs, etc.

  51. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed FASH455 and gaining a better understanding of the global apparel trade and sourcing. While I am completing my fashion minor, prior to this course, I had very little knowledge on the apparel and textile industry, especially internationally. While learning about the background of the US apparel and textile industries, I found it extremely interesting to see how the international apparel and textile industries, such as in Asia and Europe, are operated. Prior to this course, I had the expectation that most everything comes from China, and I loved getting to dive deeper into different trade structures, and where apparel and textile industries thrive. I also found it very beneficial to get to hear from numerous guest speakers to get real life examples of what goes into these industries. Through the two case studies, and multiple reading assignments, I was really able to gain a strong understanding of the global apparel industry, and I definitely believe this will help me in my career path in the future.

  52. Prior to taking FASH455, I thought I knew much more than I truly did. This course has taught me so much about apparel trade and sourcing and showed me how relevant it is to everyone’s lives. As mentioned, people wear clothes every day, but they are wearing so much more than just fabric on their bodies. I gained such a deeper understanding of the interconnectedness of different countries and their reliance/dependency on one another. It was very interesting to learn about the different trade theories, policies, and tariffs. It was very valuable to learn about the sort of “political” side of the fashion industry, and how different regions must work together in order to please consumers as well as profit for themselves. Coming into this course, I did not think it would be a class that I loved, but I truly did. As time went on throughout the semester, I realized how vital all of this information is, and it is genuinely very interesting.

  53. To me, FASH455 was a very insightful course that has been very different than any other course I have taken at the University of Delaware. When registering for FASH455, I thought it was going to be similar to a majority of the FASH classes I have already taken. However, this course opened my mind and taught me the multiple factors within the fashion industry and how much is taken into consideration when producing and sourcing textile and apparel garments. I found it very interesting to learn about trade and sourcing politics because throughout my time at UD, I never was in a class that touched on this subject and I felt that I was truly learning something new each time I attended class. Learning about these trade and sourcing politics and policies such as CAFTA-DR really opened my eyes and gave me the opportunity to view the textile and apparel industry in a whole new light. I came to learn how much the US government and global economy has an impact on the fashion industry and economy from a sourcing standpoint and how these factors impact the supply chain and consumers lives. I truly learned that fashion is beyond trends and styles and has much more government involvement than I could have imagined. I also think that having debates in class on sourcing policies on whether they were right or wrong and how they should be addressed was very beneficial when it came to understanding trade theories and policies because it gave me a better understanding of how these are applied in real world situations every day. Ultimately, this course showed me that there are many more careers in fashion than I could have imagined such as sourcing careers and careers in the government throughout the T&A sector. I never thought about pursing a career in that field of fashion, however, it is something I would consider pursuing in the future.

  54. I really enjoyed taking FASH455 this semester, and will carry the information I learned throughout my future career in the fashion industry. Firstly, Dr. Lu is an impeccable professor with real field experience and a wealth of knowledge on every topic we touch on. His passion for the material and students, as well as his real life experience makes the material understandable and applicable to every part of the industry. For me, learning about the Rana Plaza tragedy in depth was really interesting, because other classes touched on it but didn’t go into it the way we did. This tragedy was an example of the greed and carelessness of large fashion retailers in the world, and as we learned about how the global supply chain operates, we see how supply, demand, and fast fashion can not only affect the clothes we wear, but human lives. Every piece of clothing we own is much more than a shirt or pair of pants. It has a story, and has travelled through many parts of the world to come to us. Another important thing we learned about was trade agreements, such as CAFTA-DR, which was interesting to learn about because I never realized how countries have to form these legal documents and abide by specific rules in order to work with each other. Overall, this is a really interesting and impactful class, and is the best class within the fashion department! It is so important for fashion students to take this class to see Dr. Lu’s worldly perspective and learn how the world of fashion works behind the scenes, and that the industry operates far beyond what we think we know.

      1. I found FASH455 very interesting because being a fashion major, I didn’t think of this part of the industry. It makes me think of looking more into our clothes before we purchase. Also, I think others not in fashion industry should learn this as well because it’s important to know when electing for government officials. Professor Lu, was a great professor especially when explaining a topic that can be difficult to understand. I remember when I heard about Rana Plaza, that the industry has more problems than what I knew. I have never learned in depth about tariffs and other countries economy just because I had no interest in learning. However, this class made me learn and form my own opinions about certain topics that could be brought up at my future job.

  55. Going into taking this course, I really had thought I knew all I needed to know about the fashion industry. But, honestly, FASH455 taught me more than I could have thought. First of all, I would like to thank Dr. Sheng Lu as he is one of the most passionate and knowledgeable fashion professors I have had in my four years at UD. He brought his real life experiences into the classroom and also gave us the opportunity to talk to a couple of guest speakers that are relevant in the industry. I found that learning about the trade and sourcing politics was extremely interesting as this was the first course I have taken that went in depth about the political side of the fashion industry. In the beginning of the semester, we went into great explanation of the Rana Plaza tragedy in Bangladesh and how it truly shook the fashion industry. Since the tragedy, the industry has been working on implementing safety in factories. One of the guest speakers we talked to works for a company where she got to go to Bangladesh and see in real-life the actions being made since the Rana Plaza tragedy; this was very cool as we got to talk to someone in the industry that is extremely involved and got to hear her perspective on the tragedy and the politics behind it. Also, I never had learned about trade agreements like CAFTA-DR, which was interesting because I didn’t know that countries had to have legal documents and have to follow very specific rules when it comes to trading with one another. These trade agreements are very complicated and have several rules involved with them, so I think it was vital that we learned about these topics. After taking this course, I see why it is necessary to take, since I came into the course so naive when it came to trade and sourcing in the fashion industry. When people think of the fashion industry, they think of it as designs and looks, and this course really showed that there is so much more that goes into the industry than the majority of people think.

  56. Throughout this semester in FASH455, I have learned so much insightful knowledge that I will be apply to take with me once I graduate UD and apply to whatever my future career is. FASH455 has really increased my understanding of the textile and apparel industries and sourcing. Prior to this course, I was unaware of all of the steps required and all the background that went into the industry. I was especially intrigued by the subjects of sustainability, transparency, social responsibility, and sourcing. It was amazing to hear how far many factories have gone in addressing these challenges, despite the fact that there is still more work to be done. One of my favorite discussions we did this semester was most recently, on the Section 301 tariff. Originally, I did not think I would be interested in the subject, however, learning all the pros and cons and gathering a better understanding of why it is so important was extremely vital information. I have learned much more in this course than I knew I was going to and I greatly appreciate all the effort Professor Lu has put into our learning. Thank you for a wonderful semester and I look forward to taking this information with me in the future!

  57. When taking this course, I never realized how much trade and policy affect the fashion industry as a whole. This class allowed me to take a deeper dive into sourcing from a global context, as well as how social responsibility and transparency are the utmost important factors when considering a place to source your products. I especially found it interesting when we talked about the CAFTA-DR region’s trade agreements because I have never heard of this topic before taking this class. I did not realize how much politics play a part in fashion as we saw with the Section 301 tariff that is still in place to this day. Overall, I have learned so much information that I hope to take with me as I enter the industry and I am beyond privileged to have taken this class with Professor Lu!

  58. At the beginning of the semester, I remember looking forward to learning about topics such as the fashion apparel supply chain and fashion companies’ sourcing strategies. I can confidently say that I have successfully expanded my knowledge on these topics along with those related to the world economy, learning about trade and supply chains from a textile and apparel point of view. After gaining a general knowledge of how the supply chain works exclusively through business courses, it was beneficial to learn about sourcing and the supply chain more specifically as it relates to the fashion industry. This course has also introduced me to current policies that regulate trade and sourcing, which has enabled me to better understand the reasons behind how certain components of the process work. As someone who will eventually have a job in some aspect of the fashion industry and would like to have their own business one day, it is important to know where to source certain products and have a strong understanding of where in the world specific textiles are produced and manufactured. Thank you Dr. Lu for sharing your incredible knowledge with us and for making this a very informative course!

  59. Although I have learned so much about the fashion and apparel industry throughout my education at the University of Delaware, this course is something that took my interest in fashion and took it to a whole other level. FASH455 has taught me so much about a side of the industry that not many consumers know about or even think about when they reflect on fashion and what purchases they are making. At first, the course was a little difficult to keep up with because it is not a topic that I’m used to in my usual fashion courses, however, as the course went on, it only drew my interest in more and made me want to learn, engage, and do more research on my own time. A turning point for me in this course was learning about the Rana Plaza tragedy. While I was somewhat familiar with this incident, I had no idea such the detrimental effects it had, and watching the video in class really made me want to make a change in the industry when I go out into my future career. Our supply chain is such an important aspect of our industry and how companies go about their production is something that consumers are going to start looking more and more for. I look forward to digging deeper into global apparel and textile trade and sourcing after I graduate and thank you Dr. Lu for sharing your thoughts and extremely insightful knowledge with us this semester!

  60. As a marketing student at UD, simply taking this as an elective, this course was unbelievably enlightening for me to see the connections the fashion industry has to business and politics. I also am taking away the knowledge that sourcing is much more than finding the cheapest manufacturing. After seeing sustainability discussions around popular fast-fashion brands, I came into the course with a pretty pessimistic view of companies’ sourcing habits. Though intentional exploitation and unsustainable practices are problems for a handful of companies, the majority of companies are put into tough positions when sourcing, weighing efficiency, fabric availability, and trade agreements in addition to cost considerations. Finally, I am taking away a greater knowledge of why we trade in the first place. If I am to work for a fashion company in the future, or any product-based company for that matter, this course will undoubtedly help me have a better understanding of the company’s global operations. I also am now more equipped to understand the current events that may be affecting any company I may work for. Thank you Dr. Lu for an amazing semester. I appreciate your dedication to the course and our class, always focused on enhancing our learning in and out of the classroom!

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