The Garment Export Boom : An analysis of Swedish exports of ready-made clothing
This essay is investigating the increasing Swedish garment export during the period 1997-2003. Despite a long-lasting national production decrease and stronger global competition Swedish designed clothing are exported at higher rates than ever. The hypothesis that this increase is due to increased trade and changed production stage specialization is investigated.The theory used to investigate this is basic trade theory including Hecksher-Olin and New Trade theory with a focus on comparative advantage and specialization. This is completed with production theory that is particularly relevant for the garment industry: product and price competition, fashion cycles and vertical specialization.Trade, production and labor data is analyzed according to this and the main results are based on the unit price development: exports had a much higher growth in unit prices than imports. This is indicating that Sweden has a revealed comparative advantage in capital intensive production stages, a fact further supported by high education levels and high production value per worker. The industry has chosen to focus on product competition rather than price competition and has managed to shorten its product cycles in order to better exploit the fashioncycles. In some garment groups the image is more complex and one of the main theories of a design heavy garment such as jeans being the core of the success is revised. The export success is to a large extent due to an increasing specialization in the industry’s strong areas.
School:Högskolan i Jönköping
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Keywords:garment trade design specialization fashion cycles product and price competition
Date of Publication:04/10/2008