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Made-in-Canada system ecology: Explorations of the garment industry

Doyle, Christina and Hegazy, Nourhan and Singh, Prateeksha (2016) Made-in-Canada system ecology: Explorations of the garment industry. In: Relating Systems Thinking and Design Symposium (RSD), 13-15 Oct 2016, Toronto, Canada.

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Abstract

The contemporary Made-In-Canada (MIC) local garment system is a vast departure from what
Canada had in place 40 years ago. In the 1970’s, 70% of the Canadian consumer clothing demand
was met with domestic production [Wyman, 2009]. At the time, both production capacity and
labour skills existed inside of Canada, whereas in today’s market, these skills are significantly
outsourced by Canadian businesses. This shift - driven in part by the capabilities available from
globalization - has shrunk the domestic manufacturing sector in Canada, carrying with it many
long-term economic, environmental and social implications. This paper examines the MIC system as
it pertains to the garment industry; understanding how the current consumer market interest in
fashion-forward timeliness and focus on price are impacting the garment system in Canada. This
research also explores the dominant stakeholders influencing consumers’ ability to make informed
choices about their garment purchases, particularly those which label themselves, Made-In-Canada.
Three findings were revealed through the research process: a) Globalization is a critical driver in
the system as deregulation made it difficult for local manufacturers to stay competitive;
b) Consumer perceptions of value are driving demand for cheap prices as they are limited by what
they see in the market; c) The MIC system in the garment industry is a ‘black box’ for consumers
who are challenged to make an informed choice with a lack of access to information. As a result of
this examination, the research identified emerging opportunities and interventions to assist
consumers in making choices about their MIC garments in the future. Due to scope, the
interventions identified in this paper initiate from the government, a key stakeholder, with a
emphasis on possible policy interventions.

Item Type: Conference/Workshop Item (Paper)
Divisions: Faculty of Design
Date Deposited: 29 Aug 2017 21:25
Last Modified: 16 Nov 2017 17:03
URI: http://openresearch.ocadu.ca/id/eprint/1944

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