Friday, 15 April 2016

Beyond Globalisation - A Changing Apparel Industry

Changing Apparel Industry 2016

Fashion, to say the least, is one of the most dramatic domains where changes can be seen with each passing day and thanks to the new found globalization, these changes affect the apparel industry across the globe.

For all we know, more than anything else fashion is ruled by what one sees in magazines, films and internet - thus giving way to certain global styles which are conveniently accepted by a plethora of varied cultures due to their signature appeal, the style and comfort that they offer and more importantly the ease of access. Shopping malls, and online shopping portals have played an imperative role in bringing fashion from different parts of the world under one roof.  This is a perfect example of how cross border fashion can actually take over the traditional and regional dressing styles.

Yes, as it is with any apparel, be it jeans or the much loved skirts, there are tens and hundreds of cuts, styles, colours etc. However the essence remains the same and so does the basic pattern. In fact, it all happens as if it were some kind of clock-work. One cut goes out to make way or another, at one point in time, people are in love with their bright coloured outfits, next season they worship the pastels, and yet another cycle the prints take over. Everything from stripes to checks, from whites to fluorescents have their time, and sooner or later they arrive and how! Each variation takes its stipulated turn shifting identities based on gender, age ethnicity and culture.

It is when the global assembly lines form some dominant circuits that the globalised fashion takes over. While they work fairly well in the developed economies, these lines almost always have an adverse impact on the third-world nations. More often than not the economies of the high-end, large conglomerates work by exclusion which result in destabilisation of economies in the third world countries thus leading to massive unemployment which further takes the ugly shape of underground illicit economies. In order to restructure and deregulate the global capital, organizations like the World Bank and International Monetary Fund have created Structural Adjustment Programs for third world nations and imposed them on debtor nations. It has been brought into action to dismantle state economic controls with respect to basic necessities. This has led to the disintegration of a large number of formal government institutions and hence given way to various informal economic networks. This has had various effects on the fashion segment in Latin America and Africa. One of these effects has been the tremendous rise in the number of fashion-related artisans such as weavers, dyers and tailors. Another imperative effect has been the fact that street vendors have taken to selling these apparels to casual visitors and tourists who in turn sell it on their home-turf through boutiques and various non-profit organisations.

While this marks a major shift in the 21st century apparel industry, its effects are likely to fade out sooner rather than later given the fact that informal structures are often converted by the government into organised ones for the want of a better, more efficient economy.