WASHINGTON — Fashion industry trade groups expressed concern Wednesday about growing momentum in the House against granting President Obama trade promotion authority, a tool many experts argue he needs to help wrap up negotiations on an Asia-Pacific trade pact that is heading into the final stages of negotiation.
The authority, formerly known as “fast track,” which expired in 2007 under then-President George W. Bush, is seen as vital to completing several trade deals, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations between the U.S. and 11 other countries and the Trans-Atlantic trade deal between the U.S. and European Union. Under TPA, Congress does not have the ability to amend trade pacts negotiated by the executive branch and can only vote up or down on them.
Chief trade negotiators in the TPP talks are set to hold a key negotiating session in Salt Lake City next week and plan to follow that up with what they hope will be a final push at a ministerial level TPP meeting in Singapore in early December. But two separate letters sent to Obama from House Republicans and Democrats, representing a combined 175 lawmakers, opposing TPA in its current form have raised some red flags about the prospects for getting TPP over the finish line this year. RELATED STORY: A New Force — U.S. Fashion Industry Assoc. >>
U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman said the administration is committed to giving Congress “a strong role in determining U.S. trade policy, and one of the best ways they can do that is to pass a law codifying their direction to the Administration for negotiating trade agreements.” Froman added, “We will continue to consult with Congress on the importance of TPA as a longstanding tool for shaping U.S. trade policy on behalf of the American people.”
Julia Hughes, president of the U.S. Fashion Industry Association, said, “It is impossible to conclude a good agreement without TPA in hand. Certainly any agreement could be concluded, but it won’t be the same high standard, 21st-century type of agreement if all sides at the table know that Congress could amend the agreement at any point.”
Nate Herman, vice president of international trade at the American Apparel & Footwear Association, said, “We haven’t seen a situation where we were this close to the end game of finalizing a trade agreement and did not have TPA in place. I think if TPP doesn’t close in December as hoped, then a possible long, drawn-out fight over TPA could impact [the trade deal].”
But Auggie Tantillo, president of the National Council of Textile Organizations, said: “I don’t buy this nonsense that the other governments are not going to sign a deal [because the U.S. does not have TPA]. The leverage the U.S. has is that it is granting access to 320 million consumers.…That by a factor of 10 is greater than the rest of TPP combined. If that is not enough incentive for them to sign a deal, too bad.”
“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