HEC-Ecole de gestion de l'Université de Liège
HEC-Ecole de gestion de l'Université de Liège

How do slow fashion brands manage to guarantee good working conditions?: The case of shoe manufacturing in remote countries

Misukami-Mia-Kanda, Clara ULiège
Promotor(s) : Xhauflair, Virginie ULiège
Date of defense : 20-Jun-2023/28-Jun-2023 • Permalink :
Title : How do slow fashion brands manage to guarantee good working conditions?: The case of shoe manufacturing in remote countries
Author : Misukami-Mia-Kanda, Clara ULiège
Date of defense  : 20-Jun-2023/28-Jun-2023
Advisor(s) : Xhauflair, Virginie ULiège
Committee's member(s) : Maharani, Anisha ULiège
Language : English
Keywords : [en] Slow fashion
[en] Fashion supply chain
[en] Manufacturing process
[en] (Good) working conditions
Discipline(s) : Business & economic sciences > Production, distribution & supply chain management
Institution(s) : Université de Liège, Liège, Belgique
Degree: Master en sciences de gestion, à finalité spécialisée en global supply chain management
Faculty: Master thesis of the HEC-Ecole de gestion de l'Université de Liège


[en] In the recent years, awareness has grown toward the abuses present in the fashion industry.

Slow fashion is a movement prompted by the will to do better, both for the environment and for the people. Slow fashion is a different way to produce and consume. This includes offering good working conditions to the workers inside the supply chains of the brands. However, no literature explaining how these brands manage to guarantee these working conditions can be found.

Fashion supply chains are long and require the sequences of multiple different steps and this thesis will focus on the manufacturing process step. At this stage, fabrics are transformed into products with the help of different operations (e.g. cutting, trimming, assembly). We have chosen to focus on the manufacturing process because evidence shows that many social challenges are present in that process and that good working conditions are not a guaranteed right for every worker.

The concept of good working conditions will be explained using the seven dimension of job quality determined by Eurofound and the International Labour Organization in a collaborative report: physical environment, work intensity, working time quality, social environment, skills and discretion, prospects and earnings. The working conditions in mainstream fashion will also be researched regarding the seven dimensions.

This study made use of semi-structured interviews with brands' representative to understand how they manage to guarantee good working conditions to the manufacturing workers. Sampled brands had to have a remote production and be active in the footwear industry. The semi-structured interviews focused on three main topics: the health and safety inside the factories, the payment of a living wage to the workers and the reliance from brands on labels and certifications.

The interviews allowed us to determine three key mechanisms used by brands in order to guarantee the working conditions of shoe manufacturing workers, when the production is located in a remote country: having no intermediaries, the use of certifications and audits and receiving a cost breakdown.



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