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Australian fashion designers: the potential nexus with China

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Purpose ‐ The purpose of this paper is to explore how Australian fashion designers perceive the impact and opportunities offered by the Chinese textile and clothing industry. Design/methodology/approach ‐ A qualitative research design used personally administered, semi-structured interviews. A purposeful sample used interviewees drawn from proactive fashion business owners. The sample covered four clothing categories. Thematic data analysis was used, and data integrity was assured, using well-recognised techniques including triangulation and constant comparison. Findings ‐ The Queensland fashion designers are experiencing significant impacts from the current economic and manufacturing situations and the challenges presented by developments in China. They respond to their operational concerns, but do not deal strategically with contemporary challenges. They are unaware of opportunities that the Chinese textile and clothing industry offers, struggling with a global perspective. Although they are aware of issues with intellectual property, they have little experience in protecting their intangible assets. Research limitations/implications ‐ Future research could link the proposed scenario building with interviews, to develop an even more robust research design. Extensions to other Asia Pacific countries could reveal common issues and any unique perspectives. Practical implications ‐ Application of the proposed model and the pursuit of the scenarios for future development could assist fashion designers in the formation of a sense of community. A return to craftsmanship could nurture the local fashion design community, and create offshore links and relationships, facilitated by technology. Originality/value ‐ The empirical study proposes a new model, suggesting approaches and solutions, not previously considered in the context of fashion designers and their opportunities in doing business with China.
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Keywords: China; Ethics; Fashion; Intellectual property

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2010-09-20

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