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Social up- and downgrading trajectories of apparel workers in Romania: Europeanization, fast fashion and the global economic crisis

European Review of Labour and Research. 22(2)

Leonhard Plank / Cornelia Staritz

März 2016

Although the expansion of global production networks (GPNs) has been an important source of employment generation in many developing and transition countries, the qualitative aspects of this employment are less promising, often being characterized by high flexibility, uncertainty and precariousness. Drivers of these outcomes are industry dynamics and lead firm strategies such as fast fashion in the apparel industry. Equally important are, however, multi-scalar institutional contexts and state policies that influence social up- and downgrading trajectories. Against this background, the article assesses the up-/downgrading of apparel workers in Romania, a key regional supplier of western European markets. In addition to the sourcing practices of lead firms, and particularly fast fashion, we highlight the legacy of the country’s state socialist past and its post-socialist transformation, Europeanization and the global economic crisis as drivers of GPN outcomes.

In: Transfer: the European Review of Labour and Research. 22(2): 233-248.

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