This article examines changes in global commodity chains in the apparel industry, most notably how supply-driven innovations are linked with changing consumer (demand-driven) behaviour. It begins with a discussion of apparel manufacturing as a quintessentially labour intensive, low capital sector that has a long history in advanced economies. In recent decades, however, two forces have resulted in changes in this industry. First, increased liberalized trade regimes (MFA phase-out) have reduced quotas on apparel exports and imports, encouraging emerging economies to embrace this industry as part of their export-led growth strategies. As a consequence, much of apparel manufacturing has shifted to these emerging economies. Second, Western retailers have increasingly pushed supply chain rationalization and improved channel integration to force manufacturers to be more responsive to cost, quality and speed of delivery requirements. Shortened turn-around time for manufacturers now complements low price as the essential features for sub-contracting and it provides retailers with opportunities to sell inexpensive, fashion-orientated goods. Innovations associated with fast fashion are discussed, particularly how some retailers have combined supply chain rationalization with fashionable product offerings that meet volatile consumer preferences. The interaction between consumer identity formation and retailer strategies is discussed in detail, providing an analysis of the interdependency of both demand for and supply of products. Finally, the article uses examples of two major retailers, Zara and H&M, to illustrate how strategic differences within the fast fashion model reflect variations in global commodity chain restructuring.
March 14, the mathematic high holiday known as Pi Day, is right around the corner. To celebrate everyone's favorite irrational number, we've rounded up some gifts to help the math aficionados in your life—the ones who know that pi is the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter—observe Pi Day in proper fashion.
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1. PI PIE PAN; $25
If Pi Day passed and you didn't eat a pi pie, did Pi Day even happen? This specially shaped baking pan makes the equivalent volume of a 9-inch round pan, but obviously has more surface area than a standard pan. Pi puns and extra crust? Sounds like a win-win dessert.
2. "I EIGHT SUM PI PLATES"; $35
Pair that pi pie with a set of these special plates decorated with a formula that spells out "imaginary unit eight summation pi"—or, essentially, "I ate some pie." Yes please!
Find It:Uncommon Goods
3. CUTIE PI UNISEX ONESIE; $14
Inspire a love of irrational numbers in the young mathematician-to-be in your life with this adorable cotton onesie, available in five colors for 6-24 month olds.
4. CHEAT SHEET SHOWER CURTAIN; $69
We do our best thinking in the shower, and this machine-washable shower curtain is sure to inspire a stumped mathematician to finally figure out x once and for all.
5. PI MIRRORS PIE T-SHIRT; $6
Consider this equation: Math puns + affordability = this hilarious gift tee.
Find It:$6 Dollar Shirts
6. MATHEMATICAL GLASSES; $38
You'll be toasting to a gift well done after they open this set of four pint glasses measuring out the number of ounces in Pythagoras's constant, the Golden Ratio, Euler's Number, and of course pi.
Find It:Uncommon Goods
7. QUANTUM PHYSICS FOR BABIES; $7
It's never too early to get your budding mathematician hooked on STEM! This quantum physics intro is meant for 1–3 year olds, but it's a good refresher for adults to brush up on their knowledge too.
8. SPIRAL PI TATTOO; $12
This "classroom pack" of temporary tattoos means that when you and 44 of your closest pi pals practice memorizing pi's numerous digits, you never have to leave home without your cheat sheet.
9. ALBERT CLOCK; $340
Definitely know your audience before gifting this head-scratcher of a clock. For some, the regular mental exercise to figure out the time would be a welcomed brain-teaser. For others, it could be a frustrating distraction. But, we think its namesake—it should be relatively easy to figure out which Albert it's referencing—would be a fan.
Find It:Museum of Modern Art
10. MATHEMATICS LEGGINGS; $25
Spend your savasana meditating on the wonders of math in these equation-covered leggings, which come in sizes XS-4X.
11. ADD AND SUBTRACT ABACUS; $20
Ancient calculators make great toys when it comes to this colorful bead toy aimed at kids 2 and up. But once the young ones hit grade school, this specially marked abacus will help them visualize arithmetic while still seeing the equations listed out.
12. PATTERNS OF THE UNIVERSE COLORING BOOK; $13
This coloring book takes nature's best mathematical patterns and turns them into a soothing adult coloring book. Take a break from studying math's interconnected worlds, and just connect pencil to paper for a bit.
13. PI SIGN COOKIE CUTTERS; STARTING AT $5
Cookies are certainly easier to bake in bulk than pies. And if our math checks out, that means they will probably last a little longer too …
14. MARBOTIC SMART NUMBERS; $39
This hands-on math game makes learning arithmetic engaging and entertaining, and can help kids 3–6 years old recognize units and solve basic additions and subtractions. These wooden letters come with three free apps that you pair with any iPad and most Samsung and Nexus tablets.
15. HIDDEN FIGURES IN PAPERBACK; $10
You saw the movie—now delve even deeper into the true stories of Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, and the other African-American women who worked at NASA as "human computers" during the Space Race. Margot Lee Shetterly's best-seller reveals just how much ground-breaking work these brilliant mathematicians truly did, even while dealing with both gender discrimination and the Jim Crow era. And if you haven't seen the movie, stream it on HBO or purchase it here.
Gift GuidemathPi Day