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Can garment production survive in a developed economy in the 21st century? A study of “Made in Ireland”

Miriam Keegan (Department of Fashion and Apparel Studies, University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware, USA)
Sheng Lu (Department of Fashion and Apparel Studies, University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware, USA)

Research Journal of Textile and Apparel

ISSN: 1560-6074

Article publication date: 5 January 2023

31

Abstract

Purpose

Given the heated academic and policy debate regarding the fate of garment manufacturing in a high-wage developed economy in the 21st century, this study aims to explore the production and export strategies of apparel “Made in Ireland.”

Design/methodology/approach

A logistic regression analysis of 4,000 apparel items at the stock keeping unit (SKU) level sold in the market from January 2018 to December 2021 was conducted to evaluate the production and export strategy of apparel “Made in Ireland” versus foreign-made imported items sold in Ireland.

Findings

The statistical results showed that Ireland’s apparel manufacturing sector survived the market competition by leveraging non-price competing factors, such as distinct product assortment, cultural heritage, history and traditional craftsmanship.

Originality/value

The findings challenged the conclusions of the classic trade and economic development theories regarding the trajectory of the garment manufacturing sector and called for a rethink about the strategies for expanding garment manufacturing in a high-wage developed country in today’s global economy.

Keywords

Citation

Keegan, M. and Lu, S. (2023), "Can garment production survive in a developed economy in the 21st century? A study of “Made in Ireland”", Research Journal of Textile and Apparel, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/RJTA-09-2022-0113

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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