Okayama Economic Review
Published by the Economic Association of Okayama University

産地力の持続メカニズムの探求 ~ジーンズ製販ネットワークのフィールド調査(3)~

Fujii, Daiji Kaken ID researchmap
Yamamoto, Tomoyuki
Inoue, Jiro
This paper is the final report of our field research of the denim Jeans value chain network in the Setouchi district. Based on the argument delivered in our earlier reports, we now concentrate on the mechanism which underlies the survival of the district under the fierce global competitive pressures. We suggest that local economies such as ours full of small and medium sized producers of denim jeans tend to have individualistic industrial climates. Textile converters and fashion designers and the like do not hesitate to learn from their competitors by imitation. This is because they usually receive training on commercial knowledge and technical skills through their actual daily jobs instead of formal education at professional schools. Imitation is not only an important part of their professional learning, but also one of effective ways to save experimental costs to raise numerous ideas and prototype new products. This tendency creates a certain level of homogeneity of product designs, which also creates certain pressures for the manufacturers to differentiate themselves from their own competitors. Under this anbivalent iudustrial climate, the manufacturers seek their uniqueness through improvised reinterpretation of the original product designs. This uniqueness which creeps in the imitation process may come from the recent movement where some of young and entrepreneurial startups and the like acquire deserted production capacities that used to be owned by older generations. Faced with the recent fierce competitive pressures, such old generations have lost their motivation to continue their business and deserted their production facilities. The younger generation gives lives to such facilities and receives wider learning opportunities and flexible production capabilities under the new low−volume diversified production paradigm. Under this new circumstance, planned obsolescence of products becomes common and overall design and production capabilities are deemed to evolve quite quickly and effectively.