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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

southern Italy.

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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