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The rise of tier 1 firms in the global garment industry: challenges for labour rights advocates

Merk, Jeroen (2014) The rise of tier 1 firms in the global garment industry: challenges for labour rights advocates. Oxford Development Studies, 42 (2). pp. 277-295. ISSN 1360-0818

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Identification Number: 10.1080/13600818.2014.908177


The garment industry can be considered an archetypal global sector in which production processes have been transnationalized since the late 1960s. The possibility of fragmenting and outsourcing production across a spatially dispersed network of manufacturers has “freed” lead companies from surveillance of their production processes, helped reduce costs and, ultimately, relieves them of the organizational requirements associated with mass labour processes. The role of branded companies and retailers in the garment industry has been studied extensively over the last two decades. However, much less attention has been paid to those companies that have appeared as their mirror image, namely to the emergence of Asian garment manufacturers—or tier 1 firms—that have also expanded their businesses significantly over the last few decades, but have little or no control over end-consumer markets. This paper seeks to map and discuss the importance of, and commonalities between, tier 1 companies in the actual production of garments, and discusses their main characteristics. Special attention is paid to the consequences for labour strategies focused on improving working conditions at these companies' factories.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2014 Oxford Department of International Development
Divisions: International Relations
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
Date Deposited: 07 May 2014 12:13
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 03:18

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