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Advantages and Disadvantages of Globalization in Fashion Industry

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Words: 2622 |

Pages: 6|

14 min read

Published: Jul 3, 2023

Words: 2622|Pages: 6|14 min read

Published: Jul 3, 2023

Table of contents

  1. Advantages of Globalisation in Fashion Industries
  2. Impact of Globalisation on the Labourers
  3. Child Labour and Forced Labour for Cotton Harvest
    The Role Played by Fashion Brands/Buyers
    The Organisations for Labourers Rights
  4. Conclusion

This essay will discuss advantages and disadvantages of globalization in fashion industry for the labourer when it comes to society at large. It will explain the meaning of fashion and globalisation, its pros and cons, the effect of globalisation on the labourers and different areas of fashion and the reason labourers are treated unfairly in the fashion industry.

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The advantages and disadvantages of globalisation varies based on cultures, beliefs, values, ages and class. In order for high street brands to meet up with customers’ low-price demands, the garments are being manufactured in developing countries to cut cost of production Hale and Wills. The cost of production is being cut by putting pressure on labourers who are paid significantly low wages, working in unconducive environment, longer working hours with no annual leave Hale and Wills. There are records of these labourers being trafficked, child labourers and being abused sexually and physically Entwistle.

However, labourers have little or no choice other than to work with these high streets brands due to high level of unemployment in their countries and the struggle to make ends meet Hale and Wills. Diao and Somwaru stated that “developing countries now account for 70% of world exports of clothing”. The labourers in the developing countries are not enjoying their work but consumers in developed country are on the high street enjoying buying cheap garments Hale and Wills.

How we can define the term 'fashion'? According to Barnard, “fashion” can be a noun or a verb. Fashion as a noun can be described a particular make or shape while “fashion” as a verb is the activity of making or doing something Barnard. On the other hand, the term globalization we will define as 'the use of a variety of instruments of homogenization (armaments, advertising techniques, language hegemonies, clothing styles and the like), which are absorbed into local political and cultural economies. Appadurai explains that to understand globalisation the five elementary frameworks must be known'. These elementary frameworks are the Ethnoscapes, Mediascapes, Technoscapes, Finanscapes and Ideoscapes Appadurai.

The ethnoscapes are the category of people who bring about the change in the world such as guest workers, refugees, immigrants and tourists to mention a few Appadurai. The Mediascape is the distribution of information through social media, magazine, newspaper, radio and television Appadurai. Technoscape is the technology making things move fast Appadurai. Finanscape is the stock exchange and currency market while Ideoscape is ideas which can be image or political related Appadurai. These categories are interlinked and contributes to globalisation. Globalisation plays a significant role in the world.

Advantages of Globalisation in Fashion Industries

Globalisation has impacted fashion positively as there is means of connecting and communicating easily and fastly across the supply chain, improvement in transportation and goods delivery and workforce supply from different parts of the world Appadurai. It can be said that Globalisation brought about fast fashion, in which consumer keep buying clothes unnecessarily due to the influence of social media, the environment and the fashion bloggers who are promoting the latest trend Brand et al., Hale and Will.

Globalisation is described as a “phenomenon” which as a great impact on fashion. In the past, people invested in purchasing quality garments due to the longevity of the garments. However, that has changed in present times as emphasis is laid on trends rather than the quality and longevity of the garments. Fashion and globalisation have influenced the economy positively, so as free trading which enables various countries to conduct business with each other freely.

Appelbaum Hale and Wills stated that Bangladesh clothing accounts for 75% of the country’s total export earning, in Mauritius the figure is 64%, Sri Lanka 50% and in Tunisia 40%. 1.6 million people are employed in Bangladesh and 65% works in the garment production sector. The data above shows that Bangladesh is one of the developing countries benefiting from globalisation as it boosts employment rate, exportation and trading which would have an influence on their economy Hale and Wills.

In the present era, consumers have access to trending garments at cheaper price compared to fashion in the past. This is due to fast fashion which was brought about by globalisation Hale and Wills. Before globalisation, trending garments are predominantly bought by people in the upper-class category because the cost of production of the garment were high and this reflects on the price of the garments Barnard. The people in the lower-class category strives to imitate what the upper-class people are wearing Barnard. The upper class believe in quality garment, so they did not mind paying a fortune for it Barnard. However, in present time, consumers from everywhere in the world as free access to Fashion trends than ever before.

Due to the change in the roles of women in the 20th century and the integration of different classes, there has been changes in fashion Barnard. Nowadays, high street brands are focusing on mass production of garments which are ready to wear clothes made with fabrics that can be affordable to people in the middle-class category Ledezma. These clothes are price friendly when compared to haute couture.

Impact of Globalisation on the Labourers

Fast fashion is trending because more seasons are released in short period of time and this encourages consumers to buy more. However, the garments do not last long which is due to quality of fabric used and mass production Ledezma. Mass production, manufacturing in developing countries, utilising low quality materials and hiring cheap labour for production are ways of making profit for most fast fashion brands. Consumers continue to look for cheap clothing deals and this have negative effects on the workers making the garments Ledezma.

One of the major industries supporting modern slavery globally is the Fashion industry due to its involvement in fast fashion. Labourers play an important role in the manufacturing of different trends which is driven by the customers. However, the labourers are not well looked after and the wages they earn is close to nothing work Hale and Wills.

Gonzalez stresses “Globalisation operates mostly in the interest of the richest countries, which continue to dominate world trade at the expense of developing countries”. Due to rate at which consumers are globally demanding for fast fashion labourers are the ones paying dearly for the price Entwistle. In developing countries, labourers are working extra-long hours, low pay, physical and sexual abuse and poor working environment. To meet up with fast fashion demands, labourers are under pressure to work for as long as 12-20 hours each day. Most Bangladesh factory workers are employed from underage into the garment factory as interviewed by Oxfam Australia in 2018.

For example, making a pair of jeans in India is as cheap as 92 cent which is like £0.71 equivalent in United Kingdom currency and this price includes the safety cost and salary of labourer. The highest percentage of workers in these factories are women, they do not have maternity leave or sick pay or workers right in place. Some factory workers in Bangladesh are been paid £2 for working a long shift of 19 hours. Women are facing a lot of abuse in order to make a living in garment industry, some of the pregnant women are lay off from work or wages been reduced because the employee believes they are not fast enough to meet up with the high demands, parent are forced not allow to leave the factory to see their family member because the employers believes it would affect production.

A woman working in H&M supplier factory in India reported that “My batch supervisor came up behind me as I was working on the sewing machine, yelling, “you are not meeting your target production, he pulled me out of the chair, and I fell on the floor, he hit me including on my breasts, he pulled me up and then pushed me to the floor again and kicked me”. Another female tailor reported that she was grabbed by the hair, punched and then told: “you whore, your caste people should be kept where the slippers are kept”. Despite the work they do, the labourers are still not appreciated because of the way they are been treated, they are not offered healthy food despite working long hours with no break, physically and sexually abused.

The industry generates immense wealth for those at the top of the corporate hierarchy, while many millions of women are forced to make clothes in poor conditions, with low pay, forced overtime and insecure hours of work.

Tazreen fashion is one of the garment factories in Bangladesh that produces garment for The Gap and Walmart. This factory has no fire safety regulation in place for factory workers. In 2012 the factory caught fire, claiming the life of 112 women seamstresses who are not trained to know where the fire extinguishers are, no regular fire drill or knowledge of fire exits. However, 11 management members escaped the fire because they are the only people that have fire safety training.

Not to long after the Tazreen fire incident was the collapse of Rana plaza factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh. This is one of the worst industrial accident in the world for the last 30years. More than 1,136 people died in this incident and over 2,500 labourers were injured. The cause of the collapse was because workers have been forced to work in buiding that are not of good standard so that the factory can meet up with demands. It was after several life was lost that fire safety regulations were put in place in Bangladesh factory, but still lots of factories are still allowing their workers to work in an unconducive environment.

Labourers are sacrificing a lot in Bangladesh to make ends meet while risking their lives to look after their families. All these disasters have revealed to the whole world the condition in which labourers are working so that the factories can meet up with the high demands from brands. It also it creates awareness for customers to see that the labourers making their garments are not well looked after. To prevent these deadly occurrences from re-occurring, 200 fashion brands from 20 countries signed the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh. The purpose of this is to monitor the safety of factory workers. However, more than 50% of the factories in Bangladesh are not covered by Accord. Hereby putting the life of the employees (mostly the labourers) at risk.

Child Labour and Forced Labour for Cotton Harvest

The 6th largest producer of cotton in the whole world is Uzbekistan. Uzbekistan is known for child labour and it is one of the most corruptible country in the world with an estimated yearly sale of US$1 billion [£622 million] for 1 million tonnes of cotton. In order to harvest cotton, approximately 1 million Uzbekistan young adults and children are unwilling exposed to unfavourable weather in the field. In 2012, 83% of the cotton used by well-known garment factories like China and Bangladesh are bought from Uzbekistan.

Schools in Uzbekistan are shut for 2 – 3 months during summers in order for children (between the age of 10 and 11) can be taken to work in the cotton field. The children labourers are bullied, provided unconducive accommodation, physically abused on the field, made to work in unfavourable weather, provide unclean drinking water with little or no food. They are given quotas to pick on the field and 100 soms (equivalent to £0.04) are paid for a kilo of cotton.

Some High street brands such as M&S, Gap and Asda George have stopped patronising Uzbekistan because of the way enslave their citizens. However, their cotton is still in demand by other brands. Uzbekistan enslave children and adult due to high demand of cotton for fast fashion from high street brands. Cotton produced in Uzbekistan are been used in the developing countries to make the cheap garments sold by high street brands in developed countries.

The pollen of cottons are transferred from one plant to the other using the children in the cotton industry. They prefer to employ children than adult in harvesting delicate crop on the field because they believe children can handle the cotton with care.

The Role Played by Fashion Brands/Buyers

Emran et al. explained that the exploitation in the garment industry is a result of buyers /fashion brands trying to make more profits. fashion brands/buyers are making more profit from suffering labourers from developing countries. Buyers use the word “underground bidding” in which they use the pricing quote from a factory to get a more lesser price from another factory so as to make more profit.

“Conventional purchasing practices, including aggressive price negotiation, inaccurate forecasting, late orders, short lead times and last-minute changes put manufactures under intense pressure and lead directly to poor working conditions and low pay for workers”. In order for the factories to continue to run the factory owners reported that they have to accept the low pricing which is below the cost of production. These influences the wages being paid to the labourers and the working environment provided for the workers. The high demand of garment supply from developed countries caused by fast fashion has a negative influence on garment manufactural and labourers. This is because buyers have a long-term commitment with factories that offers low price and factories are not employing more labourers to meet up the demands. The reduction in supply time especially during peak period puts extra pressure on labourers. There has been lack of long-term commitments because buyers/fashion brands keep looking for low garment production.

There are lot more of this going on in the fashion industry just for the brands to make more profits. Some brands are trying to change the way things are working in the garment industries .Brands like H&M which is one of the second biggest clothing retailers is helping over 850,000 frustrated workers who are tired of working in bad working conditions, offered low wages in Bangladesh and has no attention from government to pay them living wage. By 2018 H&M aims to extend the programme to over 750 factories that supplies is clothes.

The Organisations for Labourers Rights

Some organisations and foundations have started showing support and fight for the garment industries in developing countries. Garment factory workers are supported by Fairtrade foundation through Seed Cotton Standard, to bring positive change and protect garment factory. Fairtrade Textile Standard was set up to ensure that these brands provide safe working environment for their workers and pay them fair wages. Another Organisation supporting the wellbeing of garment factory workers is “War or Want” which is a non-profit organisation that fights for factory workers and kick against human violation and poverty in developing countries.

Conclusion

The aim and objective of this essay was to give account on the effects of globalisation on fashion from the labourers’ perspective. Globalisation has undoubtedly influenced the fashion industry positively and the number of sweatshops in developing countries continually increases. However, the labourers (who are mostly women) suffers a lot in the process of making cheap garments for these fast fashion brands.

The garment workers are supposed to be well looked after in the fashion industries due to the vigorous work they undertake in the factory, but they are constantly injured and some even lose their life while at work.

For changes to take effect for labourers in the garment factory, brands/buyers would have to reconsider credible living wages, the supply chains need to be analysed, changes are to be made to price negotiation strategies and garment workers are to be given entitlement to annual leave. More time are also to be given to manufacturers for garment production.

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Brands can also set up a standard of sourcing from only manufacturers who pay their garment factory workers standard living wage. Governments should develop and implement a plan on business and human rights and invest in giving companies education on human rights responsibilities.  

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This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Oliver Johnson

Cite this Essay

Advantages and Disadvantages of Globalization in Fashion Industry. (2023, July 03). GradesFixer. Retrieved February 24, 2024, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/advantages-and-disadvantages-of-globalization-in-fashion-industry/
“Advantages and Disadvantages of Globalization in Fashion Industry.” GradesFixer, 03 Jul. 2023, gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/advantages-and-disadvantages-of-globalization-in-fashion-industry/
Advantages and Disadvantages of Globalization in Fashion Industry. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/advantages-and-disadvantages-of-globalization-in-fashion-industry/> [Accessed 24 Feb. 2024].
Advantages and Disadvantages of Globalization in Fashion Industry [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2023 Jul 03 [cited 2024 Feb 24]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/advantages-and-disadvantages-of-globalization-in-fashion-industry/
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