GENEVA — Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili of Lesotho, a poor sub-Saharan African nation, said his country needs to diversify away from its heavy dependence on apparel exports.
Mosisili said the end of the global quota regime in 2005 "had adverse effects" on the country's textile and apparel industry, which is also the biggest employer.
"About 30,000 jobs were lost," he said here recently.
The prime minister said the country has managed to revive most of those jobs in the apparel sector thanks to new companies coming to Lesotho, mainly from Asia, to invest in the sector.
"I have no doubt we can do a lot more," he said, but also noted that as the country was recovering from the "textile shock" and the loss of the substantial number of jobs, the food and energy crises pose new challenges. "We no doubt need to diversify. We can't put all our eggs in one basket."
Mosisili acknowledged the importance apparel exports have played in helping many countries develop their economies. The prime minister also lauded the support offered by a U.S. preferential trade program aimed at helping poor African nations secure market access for their products.
"The African Growth and Opportunity Act has been a very important factor in our textile industry," he said. "It's been one of those programs that has served us very well."
Mosisili noted Lesotho has been one of the most successful sub-Saharan African countries to export apparel to the U.S. under AGOA. According to World Trade Organization data, in 2006 U.S. imports from AGOA-eligible nations that entered duty free totaled $1.3 billion.
In 2005, U.S. imports of apparel from Lesotho contracted 15 percent to $408 million compared with the year before and in 2006 were valued at $407 million, according to WTO statistics.
“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
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