Alternative Apparel – an economic view on garment production

By Rachel Barr

According to, The global apparel value chain, a scholarly report from Duke University that examines the workforce development in the developing countries that participate in the global apparel industry, the apparel industry workers in developing countries are mainly young, females with very low educations who are paid excruciatingly low wages. The result of their hard work? T-shirts Point Loma Nazarene University orders in bulk for sports, events, and most ironically, ministries. Through intensive research, I have found that the majority of exported items used in America’s everyday life come from the poorest countries in the world. Duke University includes in their journal, a diagram explaining the global value chain in depth.


We see the chain begin with materials like cotton, wool, silk, etc., then move into the processing of the materials with the inclusion of oil, chemicals, and fibers. Combined, we see the products come to completion, and ready to be sent off to North America. The products are then distributed and sold at retail prices. This may seem like a decent chain, taken at face value. However, the global value chain of apparel is based off a buyer-driven process, rather than producer-driven (Gereffi, G., & Memedovic, O). Because of this, the producers do not set the methods to calculate the trade with North America. This means, profits come from sales, therefore, buyers of these products will attempt to purchase the products far less than they sell them for a large return.

Alternative Apparel – an economic view on garment production

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