Made in Italy or Made in China?
Friday 23 June 2017, 12:00 noon, O'Rahilly Building, 1.24, U.C.C.
MADE IN ITALY OR MADE IN CHINA?
Since Marco Polo, intercultural and trade relations between China and Italy have flourished. In recent decades, the two countries have been engaged in strenuous competition in the manufacturing sector. According to conventional wisdom, while Italian fashion represents creativity and refined style, mass production characterizes ‘Made in China’ garments. Dr. Zhang’s talk will focus on the textile and clothing industry in Prato, Italy, which has become emblematic of the presumed conflicts between these two modes of manufacturing. The Chinese diaspora has been increasingly involved in the production of low-and middle-end ready-to-wear fashion in Prato, which is right in the heart of Tuscany. For some local industrialists, this is an unwelcome development, as it damages their businesses and the ‘Made in Italy’ label. Others have argued that this evolution has been beneficial to the ‘Made in Italy’ fashion sector. What has been the role of the media in conveying these dynamics to the public? And why should we care about the ‘Made in Italy ‘and ‘Made in China’ label? Dr. Zhang will use the Prato case study to provide insights into the complex relationship between two of the biggest producers in the ‘fast fashion’ market: Italy and China.
Dr. Gaoheng Zhang is Assistant Professor of Italian Studies at University of British Columbia. His research specializations include Chinese immigration to Italy and Italian-Chinese relations. He was educated in the fields of Italian Studies and Comparative Cultural Studies at Beijing Foreign Studies University (B.A.) and at New York University (M.A., Ph.D.). His book manuscript, to be published by the University of Toronto Press, is titled "Migration and the Media: Debating Chinese Migration to Italy, 1992-2012".