The global fashion industry has witnessed a significant growth over the last couple of years. This has been fuelled by various factors including globalisation, advancement in technology, as well as changing consumer tastes and preferences. Taking this into consideration, this paper seeks to explore the global fashion industry in relation to the fashion systems, fashion industry, economy of fashion, ethics of fashion, and politics of fashion. This paper also looks at the impact of fashion law upon the global business of fashion.
A fashion industry as elucidated by Craik (2003) refers to a structure, organisation as well as processes employed for the purpose of conceiving, creating, distributing, retaining, and consuming fashion. In light of this, the fashion system typically embodies the entire supply chain of fashion. This implies that it does not only include the individual components, but also the various methods adopted in enabling and realising all the activities in the supply chain. According to Joy et al. (2012), a fashion system takes into account a concept where clothes usually function as a symbol that represents a wide range of social markers such as status, personality, gender, fashionabilty, social group allegiance, as well as sexuality among others.
A fashion system, as explicated by Bhardwaj and Fairhurst (2010) has been found to encompass a combination of various elements. These include codified types of apparel, symbolic and economic exchange values, set criteria for wearing combining garments, social statuses and meanings attached to apparel, and methods of attaching identities to apparel. Fashion system can be categorised into two broad perspectives. These are the Eurocentric fashion system and non-western fashion system. In regards to the Eurocentric fashion system, it involves usually depicts the European culture as well as the history in regards to the exclusion of a wider view of the world. In this light, Eurocentric fashion system typically entails aspects such Paris fashion, which represents modernity as well as industrialisation. On the other hand, when it comes to non-western fashion system, it involves fashion that is not part of the Eurocentric system. In most cases, non-western fashion system usually represents the African cultures. Despite the fact that non-western fashion system does not emphasise on modernity, it typically has its own status symbols as well as identifiers.
According to Craik (2003), the fashion industry is the industry that deals with making clothes. In light of this, the fashion industry is considerably based on the functions of different individuals whom comprise it. These include factory workers, designers, tailors, salespersons, fit model, textile manufacturers, sketch artists, as well as patter makers among others. From this point of view, Macchion et al. (2015) have asserted that the fashion industry typically consists of four main components. These are the manufacturing system, creative system, managerial system, and communication system.
In relation to the manufacturing system, it normally involves the manufacturers of vertical producers, who are in charge of producing as well as purchases of materials. Additionally, the manufacturers are responsible for the purchase as well as commissions of designs. Manufacturers, as explicated by Bhardwaj and Fairhurst 2010) may range from small enterprises to large-scale factories. When it comes to the creative system, it involves designing the product in line with the tastes as well as preferences of the consumers. As such, the creative system usually encompass designers who come up who various designs of the products, As regards to the managerial system, it organises as well as controls various coordinated stages of sourcing, manufacturing, as well as distributing apparel. In this view, it can be deduced that the managerial system usually encompass general managers, quality control managers, sales managers, and procurement managers among others. Lastly, when it comes to the communication system, it typically deals with production of product information. The communication system also deals with the advertisement of apparel together with fashion shows for the purpose of attracting customers. Taking this into consideration, through the communication system, the consumers are usually aware of existence of various apparels in the market.
Economy of fashion
According to Macchion et al. (2015), economy of fashion typically takes into account the financial aspects involved in the fashion industry. Such aspects may entail the financial capital involved in production of apparel, who makes money, as well as where the money go. On one of the most considerations in the economy of fashion is the cost of garment. In light of this, during garment costing, Craik (2003) has asserted that market forces that influence the costing for the garment industry are identified. Additionally, other variables are identified including hidden costs in sample production, labour costs, different methods of utilising labour, as well as components of industry costing sheets. Additionally, the quality standards of work together with received materials are assessed. From this point of view, it becomes easier to estimate the cost of apparel production. Consequently, the costs of the apparel are determined.
According to Joy et al. (2012), fashion has been considered a multitrillion dollar industry in the global arena in relation to all components ranging from apparel brands to importers and retailers. In this consideration, more than one trillion dollars is spent annually on apparel as well as footwear around the world, with close to 370 million dollars spent in the United States alone. Notwithstanding that there are various positions in the fashion industry, it is arguable that fashion designers are the most highly paid. Most consumers are familiar with only few designers such as Calvin Klein and Donna Karan. Nonetheless, Macchion et al. (2015) have indicated that there are more than 18000 designers working in the United States alone. This number has been found to have grown b y close to 50 percent in the last one year. With the growth in the industry the number of designers across the world is expected to increase significantly over the next couple of years.
Relevant issues that involve the ethics of fashion
According to Joy et al. (2012), ethics of fashion is an umbrella term that is used in describing ethical fashion design, production, retail, as well as purchasing of fashion products. Taking this into account, it usually cover wide range of relevant issues including working conditions, fair trade, exploitation, the environment, sustainable production, as well as animal welfare. Ethics of fashion normally aims at addressing various ethical problems surrounding the fashion industry such as exploitative labour, the use of hazardous chemicals, environmental damage, waste, and animal cruelty.
In regards to exploitative labour, Stinson, (2016) has indicated that serious concerns have been raised regarding exploitative working conditions particularly in factories that manufacture cheap clothes for high street. Considering this, child workers together with exploited adults have become subjected to abuse and violence including forced overtime, bad food, and unhygienic conditions. In relation to environmental damage, cotton has been found to provide most of the world’s fabric. Nonetheless, growing cotton usually uses about 23 percent of the world’s insecticides, alongside 10 percent of the worlds’ pesticide. These chemicals are considered dangerous to the environment due to issues of air and water pollution. Additionally, current textile growing practices have been regarded unsustainable owing to devastating impacts they have on the immediate environment. For instance, the Aral Sea Asia has shrunk to about 15 percent of its initial volume, hugely doe to the large quantity of water needed for cotton production. In terms of waste, Lueg et al. (2015) have asserted that the low costs as well as disposable nature of high street fashion imply that most of it is destined for landfill sites. For instance, the UK alone has been seen to through away one million tonnes of clothing annually. In relation to animal welfare, many animals are normally farmed for the purpose of supplying fur for the fashion industry. However, this has been regarded as an important part of ethical debate. In view of the above, the increased debate on ethics of fashion has significantly transformed the industry particularly when it comes to production of apparel. For instance the designer Stella McCartney does not use leather of fur in her designs. Additionally, firms such as H&M have been recycling its waste in an attempt to conserve the environment.
Issues surrounding the politics of fashion
There are various issues that surround politics of fashion. Nonetheless, these issues fall under four main categories of politics of fashion. These are authoritative politics, anti-establishment politics, identity politics, and industry politics (Craik, 2003). As regards to authoritative politics, it involves the political uses of fashion as statements of politics. In this light, garments or clothes acquire pollicised connotations. These politicos are typically imposed by institutions such institutions, regime, or regulatory mechanism. For instance, immodest dressing has been banned by various religious institutions across the word. In relation to anti-establishment politics, it stems from political movement seeking cultural or political change such as celebration of fascism. When it comes to identity politics, it typically emerges from ethnic and religions subgroups. For instance, in most cultures across the world, fashion has conventionally been regarded as a symbol of gender. Nonetheless, over the past few years, the use of clothing as for identity has become an issue across many cultures. As such, some clothing that were regarded to be of a specific gender such as trousers are now worn by both genders. Lastly, in relation to industry politics, it entails issues that are related to production, distribution, as well as consumption of fashion. For instance, the issue of third-world exploitation for first-world high street markets have raised a lot of debate over the last couple of years.
Impact of fashion law upon the global business of fashion
According to Herzeca and Hogan (2013), fashion law is an area of law that comprises a wide range of issues that impact the fashion industry. This has been echoed by Shen et al. (2012), who have elucidated that fashion law typically takes into account the body of law as well as legal principles that governs the relationships that exist among different participants in the fashion industry. Taking this into consideration, some of the most fundamental issues in fashion law include manufacturing, intellectual property, employment and labour law, business and finance, international trade, government regulation, dress codes and religious apparel, safety and sustainability, privacy, as well as civil rights among other issues. According to Crane (2012), the fashion law has to a considerable extent impacted the global business of fashion. Precisely, the fashion law has shaped the entire industry particularly when it comes to sourcing, manufacturing, distribution, as well as marketing of apparel. In this view, various participants in the industry have considered conducting practices that are within the law for the aim of avoiding various consequences such as fines. For instance, the fashion law usually prohibits counterfeiting of products. In this regards, firms must consider producing apparel that are genuine. According to Herzeca and Hogan (2013), with the fashion law being implemented effectively in various countries across the globe, the fashion industry is expected to take a new shape, which is likely to see the industry rise to higher levels in various aspects including the quality of apparel produced.
Conclusively, it is evident that the fashion industry is the industry that deals with making clothes. As regards to economy of fashion, it typically takes into account the financial aspects involved in the fashion industry such as the cost of fabrics. In relation to ethics of fashion, it has been established it usually cover wide range of relevant issues including working conditions, fair trade, exploitation, the environment, sustainable production, as well as animal welfare. In relation to politics of fashion, it has been established that there are various political issue surrounding fashion such as dressing codes. In regards to the impact of fashion law upon the global business of fashion, it has been revealed that the fashion law has shaped the fashion industry as the participants have to abide to the rules and regulations set.
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