Evolution and Relocation in Fashion-led Italian Districts: Evidence from two Case-Studies
The aim of this paper is to contribute to the debate about how, in advanced countries, industrial districts specialised in traditional manufacturing industries evolve as a consequence of new challenges linked to the globalisation process. Using a multiple case study design, the study examines the evolution of two fashion-led Italian districts: the Montebelluna sportswear system and the Vibrata-Tordino-Vomano clothing district. Our findings reveal that cluster firms’ ability to shift from manufacturing to other activities providing higher returns along the global value chain is key to understanding the effect of globalisation and relocation processes on the cluster’s long-term competitiveness. As illustrated in this study, weak learning districts are the most threatened while innovative districts are able to enact a selective process of relocation, substituting outplaced activities with more valuable ones and attracting inward investments.
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