WASHINGTON — Apparel and textile imports to the U.S. rose 6.7 percent in December on a year-over-year basis, a report on Friday from the Commerce Department’s Office of Textiles and Apparel showed.
Combined apparel and textile shipments to the U.S. increased to 4 billion square-meter equivalents in the month compared with December 2011, with apparel imports rising 13.2 percent to 1.8 billion SME and textile shipments increasing 2 percent to 2.2 billion SME.
“The potential port strike on the East Coast in December definitely encouraged some companies to ship their [spring] products early,” said Julia Hughes, president of the U.S. Association of Importers of Textiles & Apparel, adding that was particularly likely with goods from Central America, where some countries posted double-digit increases, since most of that trade comes through those ports.
Importers made up a lot of lost ground in December. Apparel and textile shipments from China, the top supplier to the U.S., rose 4.5 percent to 1.8 billion SME compared with December 2011. Honduras had the largest increase in combined shipments, up 17.8 percent to 95 million SME, followed by Vietnam’s 16.1 percent gain to 274 million SME, Bangladesh’s increase of 14.8 percent to 110 million SME and Indonesia’s gain of 11.2 percent to 137 million SME.
Canada posted the largest drop in combined shipments of 14.4 percent to 73 million SME, followed by Pakistan’s 7 percent drop to 164 million SME and South Korea’s 5.5 percent decline to 97 million SME.
Looking at apparel imports in the month, Vietnam, the second largest apparel supplier to the U.S., had a the largest and most dramatic increase of 28 percent to 174 million SME. This was followed by El Salvador’s 18.5 percent gain to 68 million SME, Honduras’ 17.4 percent bump to 92 million SME and Bangladesh’s 13.4 percent gain to 99 million SME. China had a 11.6 percent increase in apparel imports to 729 million SME.
“The increase in December imports could be a sign that companies had depleted their inventories down to where they feel it is OK to increase their orders,” said Nate Herman, vice president of international trade at the American Apparel & Footwear Association.
For all of 2012, combined apparel and textile shipments were up 0.6 percent to 54 billion SME, with apparel imports falling 0.7 percent to 23.7 billion SME and textile shipments rising 1.8 percent to 30.3 billion SME.
The nation’s overall trade deficit narrowed to $38.5 billion in December from $48.6 billion in November.
“What came as a surprise was the magnitude of the contraction,” said Gregory Daco, senior principal economist at IHS Global Insight.
Daco said the trade gap narrowed 21 percent, bringing it to the lowest trade deficit since January 2010. Imports plunged $6.1 billion in December, driven primarily by oil shipments, which shrank 11 percent.
“Consumer goods, meanwhile, managed a small gain despite a 15 percent decline in pharmaceuticals, a volatile category,” Daco said. “Digging deeper, the consumer goods picture excluding pharmaceuticals was positive with a gain of 3.2 percent, owing in large part to a 14 percent jump in apparel imports.”
“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