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July 2008  
Dr. George A. Irvine
George A. Irvine
Project Manager, FIBER Managing Editor, University of Delaware
Sawadee khap!

That’s “hello” in Thai. So, sawadee khap and welcome to the second issue of the FIBER journal! In this issue, we take a close look at Thailand and its growing apparel industry, thanks to insights from Mr. Pramode Vidtayasuk, Director General of Thailand’s Department of Industrial Promotion, Ambassador William Itoh, former U.S. Ambassador to Thailand, and leading academics and labor monitors. As an “emerged market,” Thailand offers real opportunities for American and international apparel firms interested in sourcing products with distinctive "Thai Style." It also offers a growing market of middle-class consumers interested in buying established and rising apparel brands. Click on the “Around the World” section to learn more about Thailand’s place in the post-quota international apparel market. We hope you learn a lot about the “Land of Smiles” in the process.

Could the U.S. (re)join Thailand as a source of production for unique apparel items? We asked this question of two leading industry players and their responses may surprise you. Check out the “Industry Highlights” section of the journal for their articles, and when you finish reading them, take our readers' poll to let us know what you think about the prospects for a renaissance of U.S. apparel production.

And, there’s more in this issue that will keep you reading and thinking. Lynda Grose takes a look at sustainability from a designer’s point of view, and we offer new research on virtual communities in the fashion industry. Plus, the “Resources” section gives you links to organizations that can help your business or research grow. We’re glad to have you as a reader and welcome your feedback. Contact us at fiberjournal@udel.edu!

The FIBER (Fashion International Business Education Response) project is an outreach initiative led by the University of Delaware and funded by the U.S. Department of Education. Our mission is to showcase fashion and apparel markets around the world, share the insights of leaders in the industry and the latest academic research on critical issues, highlight opportunities for further education, and provide a forum for the exchange of ideas, connecting members of our community around the globe.


In this issue of FIBER, we gain insight into the Thai textile industry from two different perspectives.

Mr. Pramode Vidtayasuk, Director General of the Department of Industrial Promotion, Ministry of Industry, answers questions about the Thai government's efforts to assist the growing textile and apparel industry.


Dr. Foengfurad Mungtavesinsuk, Professor, Agro-Industry Faculty, Textile Science and Technology Department, Kasetsart University, characterizes the Thai apparel industry, how it has changed over the years, and the challenges it faces for the future.


Around the World: Guatemala
Thailand image
Thailand image
Thailand image
About one sixth of Thailand's 65 million inhabitants now live in and around the capital city of Bangkok.

and other parts of Asia. Its 3,200-kilometer coastline boasts several important ports.Thai exports total more than $150 billion annually. Thailand is the world's top exporter of rice and a leading producer of tungsten and tin. Other top products include textiles and garments, fishery products, and computers and electronics.

The textile industry in Thailand produces the second largest amount of export revenue and generates employment for about 1 million Thais.

A unified kingdom since the mid-14th century, Thailand is the only Southeast Asian country never to have been taken over by a European power.

The Thai population enjoys a high level
of literacy and education. Buddhism is
an integral part of Thai culture and is practiced by about 95% of the population.

Thailand occupies an area about twice
the size of Wyoming, inlcuding a narrow
isthmus between the Gulf of Thailand
and the Strait of Malacca that provides
the only land route between Malaysia

Research Briefs
""Virtual or online communities can provide fashion companies with valuable insight into consumers' needs and preferences.
Learn more
Industry Highlights
""Two experts discuss trends in sourcing and whether there is a chance that production will return to the U.S. in any significant way.
Learn more
Social Responsibility
""Cotton or polyester? The two account for over 80% of fiber production, but which one is really more environmentally friendly?
Learn more

ResourcesTap into new courses and programs, and connect to Web sites vital to the fashion and apparel industry.
Learn more ""
ThreadsHong Kong exchange students find friendship, fun, and fashion at the University of Delaware.
Learn more ""