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Regional resilience in recessionary times: a case study of the East MidlandsPurpose: Since the 1990's the fashion industry has reflected the issues generally arising in the manufacturing sector, namely rapid and deep structural changes, the development of new supply chain relationships, ICT impacts and increasing globalisation with the attendant issues of ethical sourcing, off-shoring, new emerging markets and recessionary ripples. This paper focuses on one particular aspect of the fashion industry, namely the apparel sector and in particular 'fast fashion' to explore the issues arising for the SMEs in the supply chain. Approach: The research adopts a qualitative methodology and is longitudinal in nature, spanning 5 years from August 2006. The first stage of the research is reported here, where a series of focussed interview scenarios were conducted over an eighteenth month period. The sample of 12 SMEs was a convenience one, drawn from the 30 participants who took part in a business to business event in Leicester, a geographical location which acts as a microcosm of the apparel industry. Interviews were used to elicit narrative data about was what was actually happening in these apparel supply chains. Findings: The apparel supply chain has changed significantly due to recessionary ripples and structural changes. The SMEs have had more success in managing the upstream rather than the downstream relationships and relationships between buyer and suppliers continue to be fractious. Innovation has occurred but is hampered by the relationships that persist. Culture has proved to be a key dimension.