Global Apparel Project


This project analyzes the combined effects of apparel trade liberalization, supply chain restructuring, and the emerging geographies of economic governance and regulation. The project is particularly important in that January 1, 2005 marked the end of the final phase of quota removal and the end of the trade regime governed by the Multi- Fibre Arrangement and its system of regulated trade, a system that governed international trade in textiles and clothing for over thirty years.

The phasing out of the quota regime corresponds with major changes in the organization and practices of the global apparel industry and has enormous implications for employment patterns and economic development in many regions of the world. The research contributes to the analysis of this important industry as it undergoes a transition from one trade regime to another and to the ways in which we understand and explain industrial outsourcing, de-localization and job loss, and the emerging economic geographies of production (particularly the broader geographical consequences of the emergence of China and India as major low-cost producers).

The research team is led by four scholars from Geography, Regional Planning, and Sociology with demonstrated regional expertise in global apparel research. They are:

Research Assistants

The project builds on their areas of regional and theoretical expertise to analyze the new geographies of supply chains, production, and employment emerging in the wake of quota removal. The research combines country- and industry-level analyses, detailed and comparative firm- and regional-level case studies, and interviews with apparel manufacturers, representatives of organized labor, manufacturers and retailers, and industry, government, and non-government officials. The research is structured to provide comparative case studies of key product sectors and supply chain restructuring in key countries in the Americas, Europe, Africa, and South Asia.


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