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"Made in Canada": Local production networks in the Canadian fashion industry
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social and Economic Geography.
2018 (English)In: The Canadian Geographer / Le Géographe canadien, ISSN 0008-3658, E-ISSN 1541-0064, Vol. 62, no 2, p. 238-249Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The fashion industry is a highly globalized industry increasingly dominated by international firms that favour flexible, efficient supply chains in order to produce trendy clothing at the lowest price. While much of the fashion industry follows the logics of global production networks, this paper presents a case where small, independent firms have chosen instead to engage with local production networks. Drawing on interviews with 87 independent fashion designers and key informants, this paper examines the following question: In the context of global production, why do independent fashion designers choose to work locally? In answering this question, three key findings are presented: the motivations of designers who emphasize timeless design and high-quality local manufacturing; the strategies employed by designers to cultivate exclusivity and loyalty through the distribution of their collections; and the ways in which unique consumption experiences are utilized to articulate the values of their brand to consumers. While operating outside of the traditional fashion system provides independent fashion designers with the space for creativity, innovation, and control over their brand, it will be argued it also creates challenges with respect to growth beyond their niche market.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
John Wiley & Sons, 2018. Vol. 62, no 2, p. 238-249
National Category
Social Sciences Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-325174DOI: 10.1111/cag.12400ISI: 000434066400016OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-325174DiVA, id: diva2:1113358
Available from: 2017-06-21 Created: 2017-06-21 Last updated: 2018-09-26Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Made in Canada: The strategies, spaces and working lives of independent designers in the Canadian fashion system
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Made in Canada: The strategies, spaces and working lives of independent designers in the Canadian fashion system
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Drawing on 87 interviews with independent fashion designers and key informants, this thesis is a collection of papers which aim to explore the strategies, spatial dynamics and working lives of independent fashion designers in the Canadian fashion industry. The majority of fashion design firms in Canada are small independent businesses, typically run by an individual or pair of designers, with few employees. Independent fashion designers create unique small businesses, produce high quality garments defined by the label ‘made in Canada,’ strategically mobilize physical and virtual spaces within the national system, and yet, the long-term viability of these businesses is far from certain. The Canadian fashion industry is facing a number of systemic challenges relating to wider institutional and policy weaknesses that make it difficult to grow a long-term domestic or international fashion business. However, the findings also suggest that a key strength of the Canadian fashion system is that it offers a variety of spaces for designers of different sizes, scales, and motivations. Throughout this thesis lies the tension between the quest for independence and creative freedom, which often comes at the cost of highly precarious entrepreneurial and labouring conditions. This thesis contributes to our understanding of the dynamics of ‘second tier’ fashion cities and regional systems, the entrepreneurial motivations and working lives of independent fashion designers, the locational choice decisions and the mobility of patterns of creative workers in the digital age, and the evolving nature of intermediation and value creation within the fashion industry. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Department of Social and Economic Geography, Uppsala University, 2017. p. 88
Series
Geographica, ISSN 0431-2023 ; 16
Keywords
fashion, labour, creative industries, Canada
National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
Philosophy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-325176 (URN)978-91-506-2644-5 (ISBN)
Public defence
2017-09-15, University Hall Room IV, Biskopsgatan 3, Uppsala, 13:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2017-08-25 Created: 2017-06-21 Last updated: 2017-08-25

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