Matching Sourcing Destination with Fashion Brands' Business Model: Comparative Advantages of Bangladesh and Vietnam Apparel Industries

  • Jacobs, Bertha (Dept. of Consumer Science, University of Pretoria) ;
  • Simpson, Leslie (Dept. of Apparel, Events, and Hospitality Management, Iowa State University) ;
  • Nelson, Sara (Dept. of Apparel, Events, and Hospitality Management, Iowa State University) ;
  • Karpova, Elena (Dept. of Apparel, Events, and Hospitality Management, Iowa State University)
  • Received : 2016.08.25
  • Accepted : 2016.12.26
  • Published : 2016.12.30


This study investigated the comparative advantages of the Bangladeshi and Vietnamese apparel industries using Global Value Chain (GVC) framework. In this study, the GVC framework was expanded to include social and environmental sustainability issues. Secondary data, for the 2012 - 2013 period, were collected and analyzed for each component of the apparel GVC. The findings indicated that while both countries have unique comparative advantages, Vietnam clearly emerged as a leader on many GVC components. Bangladesh's comparative advantage lies in lower wages, producing high volume orders, and lean manufacturing. In spite of Vietnam's higher labor costs, it has comparative advantages in higher productivity, skilled and trained workers, manufacturing of intricate styles of high quality, agility and flexible manufacturing, more developed infrastructure and logistic services as well as greater social and environmental compliances. This study contributes towards insight into best sourcing fit for fashion brand business models. Based on the findings, fashion driven companies offering more complex styles at a faster rate will benefit from choosing Vietnam. In contrast, Bangladesh might be a better choice for high volume driven companies that offer basic apparel and better value for their consumers. From theoretical perspective, the research makes an important contribution by expanding the GVC framework.


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