Prato, Italy, is famous as the ‘quintessential’ Italian industrial district (ID) and the center of a Chinese-run fast fashion value chain stretching from China and Turkey -as the sourcing areas- to many European countries as the buyers. Prato is the largest low-end fast fashion center in Europe. In this study, I analyze the political economy of Prato as a city, a fashion ID, and a migrant hub. However, neither the city in itself nor the migrants are considered the unit of analysis. Instead, Prato is considered the entry point from where to observe trajectories of power involving both natives and people with migrant background. Building upon conceptualizations on the neoliberal restructuring of cities and the role of migrants in it, and on the dynamics between global capital, the state and labor processes, I explore the mutual constitution over time of the local, national and global in a city deeply changed by multi-layered restructuring processes. I shed light on the reorganization of production processes and labor thus addressing some crucial elements that enhance the competitiveness of the Chinese fashion firms. I offer the concept of ‘the mobile regime’ as a distinctive feature of the production organization within the network of Chinese contracting businesses in the Italian fashion industry. Moreover, I single out the ethnicization of the workforce and the outsourcing of social reproduction as the foundations upon which the mobile regime rests. I thus unveil the role played by the mobile regime in the generation of increased profit in the fashion industry. I analyze the policy attacking Chinese entrepreneurship in Prato and connect it with the disempowerment of the city following the crisis of the local textile industry. Contrary to those that depict the Chinese-dominated fashion center as dis-embedded from the city/ID, I analyze such development as the crucial way in which the Prato ID has evolved over time as the result of multi-layered dynamics unfolding at different scales.

City Making and Global Labor Regimes

Antonella Ceccagno
2017

Abstract

Prato, Italy, is famous as the ‘quintessential’ Italian industrial district (ID) and the center of a Chinese-run fast fashion value chain stretching from China and Turkey -as the sourcing areas- to many European countries as the buyers. Prato is the largest low-end fast fashion center in Europe. In this study, I analyze the political economy of Prato as a city, a fashion ID, and a migrant hub. However, neither the city in itself nor the migrants are considered the unit of analysis. Instead, Prato is considered the entry point from where to observe trajectories of power involving both natives and people with migrant background. Building upon conceptualizations on the neoliberal restructuring of cities and the role of migrants in it, and on the dynamics between global capital, the state and labor processes, I explore the mutual constitution over time of the local, national and global in a city deeply changed by multi-layered restructuring processes. I shed light on the reorganization of production processes and labor thus addressing some crucial elements that enhance the competitiveness of the Chinese fashion firms. I offer the concept of ‘the mobile regime’ as a distinctive feature of the production organization within the network of Chinese contracting businesses in the Italian fashion industry. Moreover, I single out the ethnicization of the workforce and the outsourcing of social reproduction as the foundations upon which the mobile regime rests. I thus unveil the role played by the mobile regime in the generation of increased profit in the fashion industry. I analyze the policy attacking Chinese entrepreneurship in Prato and connect it with the disempowerment of the city following the crisis of the local textile industry. Contrary to those that depict the Chinese-dominated fashion center as dis-embedded from the city/ID, I analyze such development as the crucial way in which the Prato ID has evolved over time as the result of multi-layered dynamics unfolding at different scales.
318
978-3-319-59980-9
Ceccagno, Antonella
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11585/610567
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