the Chinese contributed to the development of the garment sector
Posted May 24 2013 8:34am
the Italian manufacturers’ interests in the conditions offered by this national group.
This has allowed the Chinese migrants to replace Italian contractors located in other
areas and, over time, even the few of them who were active in the district of Prato.
From the perspective of the Prato district it can be claimed that the Chinese have
occupied a space that was semi-vacant as most of the production was de-localised to
Once established in the Prato district, the Chinese contributed to the development
of the garment sector. The growth of Chinese-operated garment workshops has gone
hand-in-hand with the crisis in textile production: in fact 30 per cent of the textile
firms active in the district closed down in the decade 1995_2004. The production of
garments and knitwear in Prato has increased to the point that, by 2003, garment
businesses represented 28.3 per cent of the firms located in the Prato district and 25
per cent of the gross total (Camera di Commercio di Prato 2004). The expansion of
the previously modest production of garments and knitwear has contributed to
making Prato*once known as a textile district*into a fashion district.
Over the years, the quality of the garments produced in Chinese workshops has
increased, and this has contributed to expansion of the number of suppliers from
outside of the Prato district who rely upon Prato-based Chinese workshops. In
addition, this improvement in quality has attracted famous manufacturers: by 2002,
10_15 per cent of Chinese subcontractors produced for Italians, who in turn had
contracts with the major Italian fashion firms. The most commonly mentioned name
brands among the small entrepreneurs interviewed were those of Armani, Ferre`,
Gucci, Max Mara, Patrizia Pepe, Sasch, Valentino and Versace (Ceccagno 2003a).
The active role played by the Chinese in the expansion of the local production of
garments and knitwear is highlighted by another recent phenomenon. Starting from
2000, a growing number of entrepreneurs have expanded their businesses from
performing manufacturing tasks for Italian suppliers, to the areas of clothing design,
cutting, manufacturing and selling of ready-to-wear, which only a few years earlier
would have been inaccessible to the Chinese. In Prato there are now some 200 such
businesses with an impressive network of buyers*they have clients, including
Chinese wholesalers, who come from many European countries.yanzic0524.
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