Imports of fashion
Liz Claiborne, an apparel firm in the United States has emerged as an icon of success in the clothing industry with it being ranked fifth in the United States apparel market as well as positing 509 in the fortune 1000 companies (Collins, 215). The success of the firm has been hinged on its importation of fashion from several offshore firms outside the United States. With a rich network of supplier factories, Liz Claiborne has managed to offer its customers a variety of clothes to suit their fashion styles and taste. For instance, the firm was able to supply about "120 Million" units of apparel in 1999.Liz Claiborne was established with its target consumers being women who has just entered into the workforce by replacing the dark tailored suits with casual designed clothes The Liz Claiborne Company has established itself as a marketer for imported fashion clothes.
When Liz Claiborne entered into the clothing arena in 1976 after she quit her job in New York, the company she founded started producing clothes in Pennsylvania while it was sourcing some production materials from North Carolina and Alabama (Collins, 107). However, it was Jerome Chazen who first though to Liz Claiborne sourcing their apparel from countries like Taiwan but this notion did not go well with Claiborne at first. Later, she was surprised to realize that they could get "quality imports" from the east (Collins, 107).
Looking at the quality and cost, it was evident that clothing's could be sources the east and with this, sourcing strategies were developed which yielded business connection and experience in the field (Collins, 108).In fact Claiborne realized that Hong Kong was the epitome of fashion and it sough links with manufacturers who could deliver fashion and quality where it directed the production process and checked on quality of merchandise (Collins 109).
Liz Claiborne was however faced with difficult times especially with the entry of new players in the market who demanded and received more from their manufacturers located outside the United States. These manufacturers undermined the position of Liz Claiborne in the market and with lack of lead designer, the firm suffered with low sales. This forced the company rethink about its brand name as marketing of brands via new channels would improve performance (Collins, 110).
With the prevalence of the Quota system in the global sourcing, it was difficult for apparel firms to operate in one country especially where such factories lacked access to quota. It was then vital for firms like Liz Claiborne to operate in a number of countries as a risk against export restriction. With Liz Claiborne having strong relations with firms having huge access to quotas, the quota system worked for towards its advantage (Collins, 112). Claiborne further harnessed thirty two countries to produce its wares with more flexibility with provision of skilled labor force at cheaper cost (Collins, 116).Claiborne stable relationship with overseas factories reduced risk and provided lead times as well as excellent decision making process and in the process, it set the standards for offshore firms by enhancing quality processes with use of techniques such as Statistical Process Control (Collins, 121). With a strong brand, Liz Claiborne success became a model involving organized clothing firms (Collins, 125).
Travels of the T-shirt
China was regarded as one of the most suitable nation for the industrial revolution yet I was Europe that had a leap in the 1700 instead (Rivoli, 92). In china, the spinning of cotton and production of garment was done at the family level and was labor intensive. China did not benefit much from this industry as this work was done at family level particularly after the completion of other family tasks. Salient inventions in Europe accelerated spinning of cotton.
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For instance, the invention and patenting of Spinning Jenny by James Hargreaves accelerated the growth of factories as well as economic takeoff (Rivoli, 94). However, the labor force is factories were mainly provided by women and children as men were perceived to be difficult to work with. Rivoli asserts that British Cotton industry developed an "export bias" through the export of cotton to regions of Asia, continental Europe and America in the 1800 (Rivolli, 96). Europe further prevented the movement of skilled worker of it in attempts of retaining the skills associated with cotton textiles
With introduction of textile technologies in the United States by Lowell and other skilled artisans from Europe, made areas such as New England emerged as centers of production serving the local needs of the American. This caused the market share for England to drop. In America, the labor force comprised of the low wage earners who worked in poor conditions. With the rise of southern mills, China became an export country of choice (Rivoli, 100).Presently; there is a reversal of clothing goods to America from China with cotton textile pioneering development of places by providing jobs and infrastructural growth. The productivity of Japan made it emerge as a leader in textile in the 1950's (Rivoli, 102) despite the fact that itemployed women from the village who were seen naïve and diligent.
Today, many women in China and other eastern countries opt for factories than farm work (Rivoli, 110). Working in factories also offers an opening for escape from activities such as prostitutions but despite this, the conditions for workers are poor and intimidating. A number of cotton factories underwent transformation into new firms in the auto industry such as the Toyota (Rivoli, 118). Skeptic have however raised concern on the efficacy of globalization in regard to the textile firms at many perceive that multinational companies to be driven by greed but not the interest of the workers at heart. This stirred a number of protests fighting for the rights of workers with investigation been conducted in textile factories such as those located in China (Rivoli, 137).
From activities of companies such as the Liz Claiborne who import good such as clothing from overseas manufacturers, there has been a rise in foreign companies in countries like Japan and China. With globalization, firms can buys goods that are cheaper and at the same time be of the necessary quality which is important for firms to make profits while at the same time edge competition. However, this puts a lot of pressure to countries where the manufacturing industries are located who engage in practices that raise question on the entire business process. From textile mills both in Europe, America and those in the East, the labor force in use at the factories indicate that poor conditions prevail at the factories and those workers are subjected to other conditions that are not humane.
With some, being chained to sewing machines, some made to work for long hours, it is therefore necessary to provide conditions that take into account the needs of the workers rather than abusing women and children through restraining them and at the same time paying them meager fare. The two readings addressed in this paper manifest the fact that countries that outsource goods make significant benefits while the nationals in the countries where industries are located suffer. Rivoli's text is an eye opener to the plight of the workers who deserve good working conditions as well improved working conditions. With this in mind, companies like Liz Claiborne can actually boast of success achieved by control of manufacturing process and quality of goods and workers condition.
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