Dr Andrew Brooks
Lecturer in Development Geography, Kings College London
Dr Andrew Brooks is a Lecturer in Development Geography at King’s College London. Andrew’s research investigates the changing geographies of the global economy. In early 2015, he completed a book Clothing Poverty: The Hidden World of Fast Fashion and Second- hand Clothes which examines global clothing systems of provision. In other research interventions he is investigating the investment of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) in Mozambique and Zambia. We asked him about ‘Clothing Poverty’ and how fast fashion affects those in developing countries.
Fast fashion was a term first coined by retailers to encapsulate how fashion trends move rapidly from the catwalk to the store. There is a short turnaround time between designing garments and the production of new clothing collections. Manufacturing is quick and cheap and consumers in the Global North can easily take advantage of affordable and desirable clothes in the shops of high street brands with whom we are all familiar. Fast fashion garments are normally produced in the Global South, predominantly by low paid, female workers. Quick turnaround times place often overwhelming demands on these factory workers, one effect of which can be the manufacture of lower quality clothing. This can encourage the rapid consumption and disposal of cheap clothes after they have been worn only a few times, creating a very unsustainable sector.
Why do we know so little about where clothes come from and the global impacts their manufacturing has?
Clothing production is spread between different locations and therefore it is actually difficult to say where a garment is truly ‘made’. A lot of well known brands have headquarters in the Global North where the bulk of their design and advertising work takes place. A fibre plant such as cotton, for example, is grown around the world from Albania from Zimbabwe. A single garment like a pair of jeans (see the link below for more information) can contain threads of cotton from a number of different regions that have then been woven together. Manufacturing began moving away from the developed economies of North America and Europe in the 1960s. Factories were established in developing countries where wages were
lower. When we buy clothes they might have a ‘Made in China’ label, but that is only a small part of the story. Normally multiple countries are involved in, for instance, the design, cotton growing, manufacturing, advertising and retail. The veil of market-exchange hides the social and environmental relations and conceals the production process from consumers.
We should all question the ethics behind the label (Source: Flickr creative common user Malthrl)
You challenge the idea that charity clothing banks help poorer people in developing countries. Why might we need to think twice before using them?
It is a common misconception that some charitable organisations distribute second-hand clothes freely in the developing world. In fact they get sold onto traders who further sell them to street traders, who then sell them to members of the public. Across Africa clothing manufacturing industries were established in the 1960s as countries tried to modernise their economies. Many factories have since shut, but the import of second-hand clothing has boomed. Cheap imported clothes have flooded African markets and some workers in clothing factories have lost their jobs. One of the sad ironies of today’s globalised economy is that many cotton farmers and ex-factory workers in countries such as Zambia are now too poor to afford any clothes other than imported second-hand clothes from the West, whereas thirty or forty years ago they could buy locally produced new clothes. Stopping the trade of second-hand clothes alone will not enable the development of clothing industries in Africa, but old jeans and t-shirts are often unwittingly part of the problem.
Charity clothing banks may not always share their donations freely. (Source: Flickr creative commons user Phil Carlton)
Textile workers and second-hand clothes traders are players within the issue too. Should we see them as passive victims or do they have any agency for change themselves?
Textile workers have very little agency. The de-skilling of labour in the textile and clothing industries has concentrated power in the hands of management so it can be very difficult for workers to negotiate for improvements in wages and conditions. If there are labour disputes at a factory, it may just close and re- open elsewhere. The mobile and footloose nature of fast fashion production means that factories can easily and quickly relocate to new lower wage locations without any serious loss in production.
Street traders who sell second-hand clothing in Africa also have little influence over the trade. They are vulnerable to variations in the quality of the second-hand clothes they sell. If they buy a shipment with lots of torn or soiled clothes they will lose money. This makes their livelihoods very vulnerable.
Second hand clothing market in Mozambique (Source: Flickr creative commons user Ton Rulkens)
Is the social justice you call for just about educating people in developed countries to understand the need to pay more for their clothes (and perhaps throw fewer away) or are deeper processes needed?
I do not think individual voluntary action is the real solution to the problems of fast fashion and sustainability in the clothing sector. If we leave it to people to voluntarily ‘choose’ if they buy ethically produced goods or to recycle this will only result in partial improvements as many people will opt for cheaper or more convenient choices. I think more meaningful change may come about if the issue of living wage levels was addressed across the developing world. In the short term the most important thing to do is raise awareness of these issues, but ultimately a radical social change in politics is required. This would lead to a revaluing of our relationship with labour, consumption and the environment.
Should clothing carry recognised and regulated welfare standards similar to that found on food packaging labels in supermarkets?
This would be a step in the right direction, but I would support mandatory regulations and minimum welfare standards rather than voluntary mechanisms. It is also important that clothing collection charities and companies are also transparent about what happens to the donations they collect. Clothing banks should be labelled with this information clearly and leaflets produced to allow donators to make informed choices. I think most people are unaware of the hidden realities of the global second-hand clothing trade and many question the re-selling practices.
What can we, as consumers, do to reduce the human and environmental impacts of fashion retail?
To reduce the environmental impacts of fast fashion it is much better to slow the rate at which one consumes new clothes. This means buying fewer garments and ensuring those that are bought are of a higher quality. We can try to find clothes that are well made and will last, rather than low-quality things which will soon wear out. The human impacts are more challenging for individual consumers to address. The campaigning organisation ‘Labour Behind the Label’ (see link below) provides very good advice on how to change our shopping habits. They suggest supporting ethical products, buying from popular brands which are improving workers’ rights and shopping for second-hand clothes, but most importantly emphasise the benefit of taking direct action.
What was the thing you found that surprised you most as you undertook your research into fast fashion?
When I started this project I did not realise quite how important the clothing industry has been in the world’s economic history. Cotton was traded throughout the British Empire in the colonial era. Clothing factories launched the industrial revolution. American fashions and patterns of dress spread through the twentieth century. China’s recent development began with clothing industries. At the same time some areas of the world which have remained poor, such as sub-Saharan Africa, have not been able to successfully integrate themselves into clothing trade networks. The clothing sector alone cannot explain world economic inequality, but it offers an excellent vantage point from which to understand the process of uneven development across both time and space.
Tire Industry in India Presentation: Tire (or tire in British English) is a ring-formed covering that fits around a wheel to ensure it and empower better vehicle execution by giving an adaptable pad that ingests stun while keeping the wheel in close contact with the ground. The word itself is gotten from "clothing", alluding to the dressing of the wheel. The key materials of current tires are elastic and texture alongside other compound chemicals. Their productive make-up comprises of the tread and the body. The tread gives footing while the body guarantees bolster. Before elastic was designed, the main forms of tires were essentially groups of metal that fit around wooden wheels with a specific end goal to avert wear and tear. The latest and well known kind of tire is pneumatic, relating to a fitted elastic based ring that is utilized as an inflatable pad and for the most part loaded with packed air. Pneumatic tires are utilized on numerous kinds of vehicles, for example, bikes, cruisers, autos, trucks, earthmovers, and air ship. Innovation age in the Indian tire industry has seen a considerable measure of skill and flexibility to assimilate, adjust and alter universal innovation to suit Indian conditions. This is reflected in the quick innovation movement from cotton (support) corpse to superior spiral tires in a traverse of four decades. Globalization has prompted the connecting of the economies of the considerable number of countries and in this manner real Indian players in the tire business are seeking after worldwide methodologies to upgrade their intensity in world markets. The present area extensively attempts a review of the Indian tire industry through an examination of its development patterns as for generation, fares and procurement of mechanical abilities. Tire INDUSTRY SCENARIO Indian Tire Industry can be universally aggressive on a level playing field Robust development in the monetary action in different parts of the economy and additionally in the Surface Trans-port area and restored push in the infrastructural spends kept on being development drivers for the Tire Industry. The lessening in extract obligation from 24% to 16% was an appreciated move, The fruition of Golden Quadri-horizontal and North-South and East-West passage ventures will additionally support the Automobile part. This betokens well for the Indian tire industry. While the request keeps on being light, rising information costs when all is said in done and petro-based crude materials specifically involves concern. Amid the year, the Tire Industry confronted weight on edges because of awkward nature in the cost increments and tire costs. There are critical lacks in the framework and its cost thereof versus the worldwide one in this manner putting the Indian Industry in a disadvantageous position. While the decrease in the import levies is a stage right way, it should be adjusted with the advancement of framework in the nation. Key Features: there are 40 recorded organizations in the tire division in India. Real players are MRF, JK Tires, and Apollo Tires and CEAT, which represent 63 for every penny of the composed tire advertise. The other key players incorporate Modi Rubber, Kesoram Industries and Goodyear India, with 11 for each penny, 7 for each penny and 6 for each penny share individually. Dunlop, Falcon, Tire Corporation of India Limited (TCIL), TVS-Srichakra, Metro Tires and Balkrishna Tires are a portion of the other critical players in the business. While the tire business is to a great extent commanded by the sorted out area, the disorderly segment is prevalent as for bike tires. The business is a noteworthy buyer of the local elastic market. Common elastic constitutes 80% while manufactured elastic constitutes just 20% of the material substance in Indian tires. Strangely, around the world, the extent of common to manufactured elastic in tires is 30:70 The division is crude material escalated, with crude material representing 70% of the aggregate expenses of generation Add up to generation s in tonnage: 11.35 lakh MT and aggregate creation of tires in all classifications: 811 lakh (2007-08) Current level of radialization incorporates 95% for all traveler auto tires, 12% for light business vehicles and 3% for overwhelming vehicles (truck and transport) Limitations were put on import of utilized/retreaded tires since April 2006 Import of new tires and tubes is openly permitted, with the exception of spiral tires in the truck/transport section which has been put in the confined rundown since November 2008 Add up to estimation of tire sends out frame India is roughly Rs 3000 crore (2007-08) The central point influencing the interest for tires incorporate the level of mechanical movement, accessibility and cost of credit, transportation volumes and system of streets, execution of vehicle stacking rules, radialization, retreading and sends out. The tire innovation upgradation is a to a great degree troublesome process, especially in the Indian situation, because of a few variables. To start with, since tire innovation envelops different trains, for example, polymer, compound, steel and so on bargains must be made in the upgradation of innovation as a result of a) the contention and complimentarity inborn in these controls, b) the use example of the tyres and c) the cost factor. Further, a tire's execution could be influenced because of variables, for example, the climate, stacking design and so forth. Regardless of these bottlenecks innovation upgradation in Indian tire industry amid the most recent couple of decades has been critical. This has been conceivable to some degree because of government endorsements of joint efforts with MNCs in this segment. The accentuation given by Indian tire organizations to connected research, the setting up of very much prepared in house R&D focuses by substantial tire organizations, kept an eye on by specialists and experienced experts have additionally helped in innovation upgradation. Indian tire innovation has shown flexibility in keeping up inflow of innovation through outside joint efforts and fitting the same to Indian needs. Mechanization: The generation framework in the Indian tire industry has been generally exceptionally work escalated. The robotization of assembling forms has expanded bit by bit, which has sliced the measure of the workforce to an extensive degree and has affected an adjustment in its arrangement. The level of robotization has been more prominent in the region of outspread innovation, while cross employ innovation is still work serious. The organizations have been falling back on mechanization with a specific end goal to handle issues identified with work unionization and indiscipline in the area. The justification gave by the organizations to the expanding drive towards mechanization of the assembling offices has been that high caliber and consistency of the last item as a rule can't be ensured with a work escalated process. (Iyer and Upadhyay 2008). New Policy Initiatives The tire business in India has needed to think about crude material value unpredictability, rupee thankfulness and shabby Chinese imports. In this association, a portion of the current activities by the administration to encourage the development of the part include: No WTO headed rates for Tires and Tubes No limitations on the import of every crude material required for tire make aside from carbon dark, which has been put in the confined rundown Increasing push on advancement of street foundation The Marketing Communications Mix An organization's aggregate showcasing interchanges blend, or advancement blend, comprises of the particular mix of publicizing, individual offering, deals advancement, and advertising apparatuses that the organization uses to seek after its promoting and promoting goals. The five noteworthy sorts of advancement are: Publicizing: Any paid type of non-individual introduction and advancement of thoughts, products, or administrations by a distinguished support. Individual offering: Personal introduction by the company's business power to make deals and manufacture client connections. Deals advancement: Short-term motivating forces to energize the buy or offer of an item or administration. Advertising: Building great relations with the organization's publics by acquire ing positive exposure, developing a decent "corporate picture," and taking care of or taking off horrible gossipy tidbits, stories, and occasions. Coordinate promoting: Direct interchanges with precisely focused on individualconsumers to get a quick reaction—the utilization of mail, phone, fax, email, and other non-individual instruments to discuss straightforwardly with particular purchasers or to request an immediate reaction. Each kind of advancement has its own devices. Publicizing incorporates print, communicate, outside, and different structures. Individual offering incorporates deals introductions, tradeshows, and impetus programs. Deals advancement incorporates purpose of-procurement shows, premiums, rebates, coupons, strength promoting, and exhibits. Coordinate promoting incorporates inventories, telemarketing, fax transmissions, and the Internet. On account of mechanical leaps forward, advertisers would now be able to impart through conventional media (daily papers, radio, phone, and TV), and additionally its more up to date frames (fax machines, mobile phones, pagers, and PCs). These new advancements have urged more organizations to move from mass correspondence to more focused on correspondence and one-on-one discourse. In the meantime, correspondence goes past these particular advancement instruments. The item's plan, its value, the shape and shade of its bundle, and the stores that offer it—all convey a comment. In this manner, despite the fact that the advancement blend is the organization's essential correspondence movement, the whole showcasing blend advancement and item, cost, and place must be composed for most prominent. Over the previous years, tire organizations around the globe idealized the craft of mass promoting — pitching exceedingly institutionalized items to masses of clients. All the while, they created viable broad communications promoting procedures to help their mass-advertising techniques. These organizations routinely put a great many dollars in the broad communications, achieving t>GET ANSWER