Survival and Growth Strategies on Europe’s Geographical Periphery
Edited by Helena Lenihan, Bernadette Andreosso-O’Callaghan and Mark Hart
Chapter 4: Innovation Behaviour of Spanish Fashion Manufacturing SMEs
José L. Calvo and Angel L. Culebras de Mesa INTRODUCTION The Spanish fashion manufacturing industry (SFMI), which includes textiles and clothing, but also fur, leather and shoes,1 has been involved in a very difficult restructuring process. During the 1998–2006 period, the SFMI lost almost 100 000 jobs; its industrial production decreased markedly and its chronic commercial deficit almost quadrupled. This alarming situation is the consequence of trends followed by the fashion business, not only in Spain, but all over the world since the early 1990s. The changes affecting Spain and the European Union (EU) as a whole are mainly related to a number of factors: the globalization/ delocalization process; the size and cost competitiveness of the fashion industry in the new EU members; and full implementation of the Agreement on Textiles and Clothing (ATC), implying the end of the quota system and the complete opening of European fashion markets to tough foreign competitors, in particular from China.2 European fashion industries have reacted to these challenges in different ways, depending on the country. So, Italy, with a special trend since its fashion industry has remained stable and based in an industrial organization model where small firms are locally-integrated in industrial districts, has focused on high value added products supported by magnificent fashion branding (Guercini, 2004); the Netherlands has changed from a production-led to a design-led sector, organizing the design and distribution process while subcontracting or outsourcing production (Scheffer and Duineveld, 2004); in the UK there is evidence of clustering,...
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