WASHINGTON — Ending the “currency manipulation” practices of all U.S. trading partners would help slow the pace of job losses in the domestic apparel manufacturing industry over three years, according to a report released by the Economic Policy Institute today.
The study also found that employment in U.S. textile manufacturing, which has seen a small rebound the past couple of years, would see a net job gain.
The EPI report concluded that eliminating global currency manipulation could create an estimated 2.3 million to 5.8 million jobs in the overall economy by the end of 2015 and reduce the trade deficit by $200 billion to $500 billion.
The nonpartisan think tank suggested the U.S. should step up its pressure on countries, particularly China, to stop controlling their currencies and let them appreciate. U.S. lawmakers have tried for years to pass legislation that would penalize China for manipulating its currency, but those efforts have failed.
China’s trade surplus with the U.S. has also prompted lawmakers to push President Obama to declare the country a currency manipulator and impose penalties. Although China’s controlled currency has been an ongoing issue since it joined the World Trade Organization in 2001, every U.S. president has refrained from imposing the currency manipulation label.
Depending on how quickly countries move to increase the value of their currencies, the report said U.S. apparel manufacturing could lose 66,000 to 107,400 jobs through 2015. The industry’s employment level was 138,700 last month.
“If we don’t end currency manipulation, then on average imports will continue to grow at 4.8 percent [for all products] a year,” said Robert E. Scott, director of trade and manufacturing policy research at the EPI and author of the report. “That is going to decimate the [apparel and accessory] industry. If we end currency manipulation, we can slow the rate of growth of imports and stimulate the growth of exports. That will help to slow job losses in the industry in the medium term…It will be an improvement relative to where it would have been if [countries] didn’t stop this policy.”
Textile mills that make apparel fabric and textile product mills making home furnishings products would see an increase of 8,000 to 34,100 jobs by the end of 2015, the report said. The overall sector employed 227,400 people at the end of last month.
“Textile products have fared better than the apparel industry [due to trade agreements with Canada, Mexico and Central America] and that makes a certain amount of economic sense,” Scott said. “Textile production is very capital intensive and does not involve much labor. We have a technological comparative advantage [over foreign competitors] with some textile products,” adding that has helped the industry maintain its employment base and expand.
“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