WASHINGTON — November wholesale prices for U.S.-made women's and girls' apparel remained steady in November, even as the prices on all domestic goods shot up a seasonally adjusted 3.2 percent because of higher gasoline prices, the largest jump in 34 years.
Energy prices increased 14.1 percent during the month compared with October, according to the Labor Department Producer Price Index released Thursday. The so-called core rate of inflation, which excludes the volatile food and energy sectors, advanced 0.4 percent, the biggest boost since February.
The government will offer a broader reading on inflation today with the Consumer Price Index report.
Since Americans rely on foreign-made goods more than ever, the jump in producer prices is not expected to translate directly or immediately to consumer prices. But the higher gasoline prices will affect both measures of inflation.
Price increases have forced the Federal Reserve Board, led by chairman Ben Bernanke, to walk a tightrope: controlling inflation while lowering interest rates to boost a slowing economy and avoid a recession. The Fed on Tuesday lowered its benchmark federal funds interest rate for the third time in as many months to 4.25 percent.
The dramatic jump in producer prices highlights inflation concerns, even if prices outside of food and energy are growing more slowly.
"It's definitely not good," said Aaron Smith, senior economist at Moody's Economy.com. "It's going to put more emphasis on inflation expectations now. I don't think inflation per se is a big risk right now and that's simply because the economy is just too weak. Businesses are not going to have pricing power."
Since more than 90 percent of the apparel sold in the U.S. is made abroad, price fluctuations among domestic producers affect a small segment of the overall market.
Compared with a year earlier, prices on women's and girls' apparel grew 0.9 percent in November, with increases of 8.1 percent in robes and dressing gowns, 1.8 percent in knit shirts, 0.8 percent in underwear and 0.5 percent in woven shirts.
Prices also rose in the textile arena, with year-over-year increases of 0.1 percent for synthetic fibers, 3.5 percent for yarns, 1.6 percent for greige fabrics and 0.7 percent for finished fabrics.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast