Who: Laura Egeln, PhD, is a professor in the College of Business at Johnson & Wales University Charlotte, as well as an online faculty member.
Article: “Fashion Isn’t Ready for a Trade War” from The Business of Fashion
Agree or Disagree with Article: Agree
It’s hard to go a day or two and not hear something about trade policies and tariffs involving numerous countries for various product categories. It can be a rollercoaster to follow: For example, one day the steel and aluminum industry is thrilled with a revised trade policy, but a trading partner such as China is unhappy.
The fashion and apparel industry was loosely intricated in a recent revision of tariffs being put in place on products from electronics to apparel, footwear and toys because it was believed that Beijing was violating intellectual property and investment practices outlined in previous trade agreements. Major U.S. retailers like Target, Macy’s, and Wal-Mart petitioned the government to rethink this decision, as the tariffs could translate to higher cost consumer goods for Americans.
The challenge with any trade policy is that it is multilayered and written to address a specific time frame that is in response to global issues at the time of the writing. Since the majority of products in the fashion and apparel industry are not made solely in one country (accounting for materials) there is not one trade policy that applies. Countries from all over the world can be involved in the production of a single garment which could entail multiple trade agreements. This creates a snowball effect in the overall implications of pricing, availability, and speed to market for goods that are produced globally. This is where we find ourselves today, in a murky pond of trade policies, trying to decipher which ones apply to a given material, product, country, all while the consumer demands more products in a faster, price-conscious, environmentally responsible package.
Learn more about the online Fashion Merchandising & Retailing bachelor’s degree at Johnson & Wales University College of Online Education. For more information, complete the “Request Info” form on this page or call 855-JWU-1881.