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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Underside of Fashion: Immigrants in the Parisian Garment Industry


My main objective is to show, on the example of Paris, why is it that precisely immigrants become providers of flexibility in the garment manufacturing in that city and how does the system function. The reference to Berlin for comparison, has a double purpose: first it is a control case which shows that in the absence of local opportunity structures, the apparently similar labour supply engages in different kind of economic behavior than in Paris; second, the comparison, put in a historical perspective makes it possible to raise questions about possible future developments. Namely, given the recent developments in the Eastern Europe, the opening of the Berlin vall end the prospect of German unification, and given also general trends o n the labour market towards more a-typical jobs, could one foresee a revival of the garment industry in Berlin along the similar pattern as in Paris?

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