Firms in the clothing industry engage in global sourcing and operate in global markets. Their global production networks have often been subject to scrutiny as the power relationships between buyer firms in developed countries and supplier firms in developing countries raise issues concerned with 'fast fashion', the role of brands, labour standards in developing countries, job losses among the most vulnerable workers in Europe and the US, and the growing differentiation within the bloc of developing countries between the least developed and fast developers, such as China and India. This book analyses the way British, American and German firms in the clothing industry (manufacturing and retail) co-ordinate and govern their global production networks/value chains. It offers a multi-level study, concerned with processes of economic interaction between international, regional, and national economic institutions and actors. This combines an analysis of international/regional regulatory systems, global markets and conditions in the developing countries where suppliers are found, with a focus on the recent development of the clothing industry in three western countries.
The analysis of firms' global networks focuses on the power relationships between western producers and retailers on the one hand and between buyer firms in developed and supplier firms in developing countries on the other, as well as their impact on labour. Utilising over one hundred interviews in six countries on three continents, it follows the value chain from developed to developing countries and studies the many issues which confront students of globalization at the current time. The study combines theoretical perspectives from economic sociology, political economy and management and seeks to utilise the complementary strengths of the Varieties of Capitalism approach and that of Global Production Networks/Value Chains. It will appeal to advanced students and academics interested in processes of economic globalization and the way firms manage them, as well as to those looking for a study of the clothing industry which combines theoretical depth with broad empirical coverage.