MILAN — The Italian footwear manufacturers’ association, Assocalzaturifici, held a conference Monday titled “Made in: Last Call!” The meeting was in advance of the European Parliament’s April 16 plenary session, when EU representatives will vote on new consumer goods legislation.
The EU Parliament’s Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) committee drafted the proposed Consumer Product Safety Regulation, which states in article 7 that all consumer goods sold in Europe must have country of origin labels, either directly on products or on their packaging or accompanying documents, if the size or nature of the goods in question makes labeling them impossible.
The Italian fashion, textile and footwear industries have been vocal in their support of tougher labeling regulations on imports, as they face competition from countries with less rigorous labor laws and cheaper operating costs, as well as firms that stitch fake “Made in Italy” labels on low-quality goods produced elsewhere. Opposition to product origin labeling on consumer goods sold in the EU has come mainly from northern Europe, where countries such as Germany have mostly offshored manufacturing.
“This is a theme that needs to be discussed with consumer groups and unions, it’s not a topic that concerns industry alone,” said Assocalzaturifici director Fabio Aromatici, emphasizing the need for greater overall transparency in the market. Assocalzaturifici vice president Diego Rossetti spoke of the “frustration” of Italian manufacturers, who feel ignored by politicians even as there is talk of increasing the incidence of the manufacturing industry to 20 percent of Europe’s GDP.
“How we can reach this goal without a law that protects consumers and also the European manufacturing industry is hard to understand,” he said.
Several Italian members of parliament were on hand to discuss the legislation.
“Our objective is not to discriminate against or eliminate from the market products that come from other places, because that wouldn’t be right. Our objective is to inform; then consumers will be free in their choice to prefer one quality-price relationship [over another],” said Lara Comi, a member of the IMCO commission that drafted the proposal.
Cristiana Muscardini, vice president of the International Trade (INTA) Commission, said most of the EU’s competitors — including the U.S. — already mandate country of origin labels on their imports, and the lack of transparency within the EU put local businesses at a disadvantage. She also expressed concern that even if the outcome of the April 16 vote is positive, “without a strong stance from the Italian government,” the European Council could later quash the legislation.
Audience members included numerous representatives from the textile, jewelry and even ceramics industries. While most of those present agreed mandatory origin labeling was desirable, some felt the proposed legislation did not go far enough, as 100 percent of the manufacturing process need not be in a country in order for the label to be applied. In addition, some attendees disliked the fact that EU countries could choose to label their products with national “Made in” or “Made in the EU” labels.
Patrizia Toia, vice president of the Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) Commission, said that while the legislation was “kept rather to the bare bones,” that made it more likely to pass, paving the way for future improvements.
“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