Faced with the prospect of rising costs after the expected hike in the country’s minimum wage next month, 15 of Thailand’s largest garment manufacturers have indicated that they will halt local expansion plans.
Thai Garment Manufacturers Association president Sukij Kongpiyajarn told local press that the move was made as a sign of opposition to the Thai government’s plan to increase the daily minimum wage in at least six Thai provinces from $7 a day to $9.75 on April 1. Wages in Thailand’s other provinces will also increase up to 40 percent, although they will remain below $9.75. Local media quoted an association official saying that 30 percent of the smaller producers in the garment industry might shut down due to the wage hike.
According to the Labor Ministry, the minimum wage increase, which was an important component of the ruling Pheu Thai party’s economic manifesto when it was elected to power last year, will affect 5.4 million workers in the Southeast Asian nation of about 69 million.
The wage hike is the latest setback for Thailand’s garment manufacturing industry, which, like others in the Southeast Asian nation, has been wracked by devastating floods last year and an unsettled political situation. According to the association, Thailand’s garment and textile exports in January contracted nearly 19 percent year-on-year to $544 million.
The association said its members would seek to build capacity in neighboring countries with lower wages. According to Kongpiyajarn, at least 10 garment manufacturers are seeking to invest in Myanmar, which has recently undertaken significant efforts to liberalize its politics and economy. The association has called for the government to reduce the current tax rate of 30 percent on income repatriated from abroad to facilitate offshore investment.
A senior official at Thai’s commerce ministry, which is responsible for overseeing the wage hike, did not respond to a request to comment. The government had previously indicated that the wage increase would boost consumption and prompt Thai companies to expand into more capital-intensive industries. Implementation of the wage increase had previously been pushed from Jan. 1 to help companies recover from last year’s floods.
“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