European Planning Studies, 14(4): 485-502
This paper is in collaboration with Alessia Amighini.
It examines the impact of globalisation of production on the Italian footwear sector and investigates the structural changes taking place in some shoe districts as they join international production networks.
The following questions are discussed: Are Italian footwear districts specialising in particular phases of the production cycle? Is there a trend towards the reduction of activities carried out within districts? Or are different patterns emerging according to the districts’ main market segment and to the value chains (e.g. luxury fashion market or mass market) they belong to?
The study explores these issues using data on outward processing trade (OPT) collected by Associazione Nazionale Calzaturieri Italiani (ANCI) to analyse the fragmentation of production in the footwear sector at “provincia” level. The available disaggregation of data allows us to investigate the different outsourcing strategies and emerging trends within the district. Two case studies are presented; one on Riviera del Brenta in Veneto and the other on Barletta in Puglia.
In the footwear districts investigated, we find evidence of different international delocalisation strategies. We argue that these different patterns of specialisation are closely related to the clusters’ market position and suggest that these patterns influence the clusters’ potential for future competitiveness.