This paper examines responses to the African Growth and Opportunity Act in sub-Saharan Africa’s clothing sector. The paper reviews statistical evidence on supply response, as well as presenting recent fieldwork findings from Southern Africa. Using a modified version of Global Commodity/Value Chain analysis it argues that, while there has been a significant level of response, this has been largely confined to enterprises of a particular type. The latter has evolved globally in relation to the specificities of the US clothing market. This has consequences both for chain analysis and for broader debates concerning industrial upgrading and trade versus aid.