Understanding the Complex Issues Related to Homeworkers in the Global Apparel Supply Chain

  • Shweta L. Reddy (Texas Christian University)
  • Marsha A. Dickson (University of Delaware)


Homeworkers are workers that undertake work from a home-based location (their private residence) usually using their own resources (such as sewing equipment, electricity). In apparel export industry, homeworkers perform labor-intensive processes such as knotting, trimming, embroidery work. These labor-intensive processes are not mechanized. The homeworkers typically perform these labor-intensive tasks for a subcontractor and not directly for a manufacturer. The phenomenon of subcontracting work outside of the ordinary apparel manufacturing structure creates many informal jobs. These informal work arrangements put the workers in a disadvantageous position compared to the formalized labor arrangement. These informal work arrangements (or labor relations) give subcontractors an unfair advantage. Subcontractors using these workers on a temporary basis provides the subcontractor and manufacturer maximum flexibility, reduced costs and lower risks but lacks any guarantee of labor rights to the homeworkers. This study utilizes problem-based learning (PBL) to provide understanding of the topic and engages in learning through solving complex, real-world problems. The use of problem-based learning (PBL) helped to determine relevant solutions for the problems observed in the study.

Keywords: social responsibility, Homeworkers

How to Cite:

Reddy, S. L. & Dickson, M. A., (2020) “Understanding the Complex Issues Related to Homeworkers in the Global Apparel Supply Chain”, Sustainability in Fashion 1(1). doi:

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Published on
30 Jun 2020
Peer Reviewed