Framing a descriptive profile of a transformed apparel industry

Jung E. Ha‐Brookshire (Textile and Apparel Management, University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri, USA)
Barbara Dyer (Textiles and Consumer Sciences, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida, USA)

Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management

ISSN: 1361-2026

Publication date: 8 May 2009



The purpose of this paper is to confirm empirically the existence of a US apparel import intermediary (AII) identity crisis, and to provide a detailed descriptive profile of AIIs, differentiating them from apparel firms not primarily engaged in importing activities.


A survey study was conducted using a national sample of US AIIs. Based on these firms' executives' responses, a firm identity issue was analyzed and a detailed profile of these firms' business characteristics was developed, using frequency comparisons.


The study confirmed that US AIIs are currently experiencing an identity crisis, as nearly half of the study respondents misclassified themselves as apparel manufacturers or other business types, suggesting a significant distortion in US Economic Census data. The study also provided a descriptive profile of US AIIs, including geographic location and other business operation characteristics.

Research limitations/implications

Three fourths of the survey respondents were located in the state of New York. Whether most US AIIs truly reside in New York cannot be known with certainty. Generalization of the study findings to a greater population should be cautious.

Practical implications

Confirmation of an AII identity crisis suggests both aggregate and individual firm‐level impacts on import activities. The study offers a new term, “intermediary”, to replace the US Census Bureau term “wholesaler” to accurately reflect the industry's transformation.


The study provides the first empirical support for a US AII identity crisis. The detailed profile of US AIIs offers industry data not available prior to this study.



Ha‐Brookshire, J. and Dyer, B. (2009), "Framing a descriptive profile of a transformed apparel industry", Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management, Vol. 13 No. 2, pp. 161-178.

Download as .RIS



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Please note you might not have access to this content

You may be able to access this content by login via Shibboleth, Open Athens or with your Emerald account.
If you would like to contact us about accessing this content, click the button and fill out the form.
To rent this content from Deepdyve, please click the button.