I encourage everyone to watch the above two short videos, which provide a great wrap-up for FASH455 and remind us the meaning and significance of our course.
Indeed, I hope students can take away essential knowledge about textile and apparel (T&A) trade & sourcing from FASH455. So far in the course we’ve discussed various trade theories, evolution pattern of the global T&A industry, three major T&A supply chains in the world (namely the “Western-Hemisphere” supply chain, “Factory Asia” supply chain based on the flying geese model and the phenomenon of intra-region T&A trade in Europe) as well as T&A trade policy. Understanding how trade and sourcing work will be highly relevant and beneficial to your future career in the fashion industry no matter as a fashion designer, buyer, merchandiser, sourcing specialist or marketing analyst.
However, more importantly, I hope FASH helps students shape a big picture vision of the T&A industry in today’s global economy and provides students a fresh new way (perspective) 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 apparel companies’ social responsibility practices, the debate on the impact of free trade agreements (FTAs) to the controversy of Trumps’ trade policy agendas. It is important to keep in mind that we wear more than just 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 puts students into thinking the meaning of being a FASH major (as well as a college graduate) and how to contribute to the world we are living today positively. A popular misconception is that T&A 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, T&A industry plays a critical and unique role in creating jobs, promoting economic development, enhancing human development and reducing poverty. For example, globally over 120 million people remain directly employed in the T&A industry, a good proportion of whom are females living in poor rural areas. For most developing countries, T&A usually accounts for 70%–90% of their total merchandise exports and provide one of the very few opportunities for these countries to participate in globalization. We are as important as any other major on the campus!
Last but not last, I hope from taking FASH455, students can take away meaningful questions that can inspire their future study and even life’s pursuit. For example:
- How to make the growth of global textile and apparel trade more inclusive?
- How to distribute the benefits & cost of globalization among different countries and groups of people more equally?
- How to make sure that tragedies like the Rana Plaza building collapse will never happen again?
- How to make international trade work better and lead to economic growth and human development more effectively?
- How to use trade policy as a tool to solve some tough global issues such as labor practices and environmental standard?
These questions have no real answer yet. But 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.