Wilbur Ross with President Trump and Jared Kushner.
Forget the detail-orientated and wonkish sourcing executives who have traditionally seen to the industry’s supply chain nuances, fashion companies need time travelers in the age of President Trump.According to the latest check from the Commerce Department, January apparel imports shot up 10.7 percent from a year earlier, to 2.4 billion square meter equivalents. That’s a big swing given that apparel imports fell 1.1 percent to 26.9 billion square meter equivalents for all of last year.At least a part of that surge could have come from importers rushing to get goods into the country before Trump was able to move on his “America first” agenda, which is heavy on protectionism and stronger borders.But Nate Herman, senior vice president of supply chain at the American Apparel & Footwear Association, said the gain in January imports was more indicative of how companies were feeling when they placed orders last summer and what the consumer mood was like during the fall.But that was ages ago now in the whirlwind that is the Washington policy machine. Trump, who during the campaign threatened to levy of tariff of as much as 45 percent on goods from China, has proven that he’s willing to break sharply with custom as he seeks to remake Washington. Lobbyists, such as the AAFA, have zeroed in a border adjustability tax (BAT) in a House of Representatives blueprint that would lower the corporate tax rate, but extend that rate to the cost of imported goods. That would lead to a significant net tax gain for many importers.“There’s a lot of uncertainty now regarding trade issues,” Herman said. “That uncertainty did not necessarily exist when these orders [that arrived in January] were placed, and consumer confidence was higher.“Because of the current uncertainty, the numbers might be impacted going forward, but right now, this is still reflecting a more positive view of things and a growing economy,” he said.Herman noted that 97 percent of all apparel is made abroad and that there’s no easy way for fashion, which supports 4 million jobs in the U.S., to suddenly change course and make more goods at home if tax policy or tariffs change.A dramatic policy shift would leave brands to either pass the higher costs onto consumers or take crippling losses.So far, the President hasn’t signaled whether or not he supports a border adjustability tax, but changes are on the way.The new Commerce Secretary, Wilbur Ross, introduced himself to the department’s 47,000 workers last week by saying: “President Trump has already given us at the Department more responsibility than ever before….We will be more involved with rebalancing a trade system that has gutted American manufacturing and left families across America without work and without hope.”He noted the Department would “play a major role in renegotiating bad trade deals” and seek to “institute a system of both free and fair trade that protects American workers and American companies.”Soaring rhetoric and promises to make big changes are nothing new in Washington. However, the Trump administration’s willingness upset the status quo — and quickly — is new and unprecedented.That leaves the fashion executives placing orders today to bring goods into an unusually uncertain world.
@tradesy is turning the concept of a showroom upside down with its new space in Santa Monica. Here, the company plans to hold events, art exhibits and a showcase rare fashion pieces like this Louis Vuitton boxing set. Get all the details on Tradesy’s first showroom on WWD.com. #wwdnews
Spotted last night at the @erdem x @hm launch event: Kate Bosworth, Rashida Jones, Kirsten Dunst and Selma Blair. The party, which took place in LA, also marked the opening of their pop-up shop. “I was interested in creating a collection that wasn’t in any way disposable. It was about pieces you’d create and keep forever, things that have a permanence to it,” designer Erdem Moralioglu said. #wwdeye (📷: Katie Jones)
Renee Zellweger in yellow in 2001 and again in 2017. Chosen as one of the 12 @pantone Leading Spring Colors (and dubbed “Meadowlark”), it only makes sense that the bright hue stands the test of time and is making a resurgence this season, seen already on stars like @blakelively and @gigihadid. (📷: Donato Sardello & @rexfeatures) #wwdfashion #tbt
Dior’s 70th anniversary celebration continues with a new exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. “Christian Dior,” which is scheduled to run through March 18, takes a look at the founders tenure from 1947 to 1057 and feature 40 designs. Pictured here is an evening gown from the Ailée, fall 1948-49 haute couture collection. #wwdfashion (📷: Brian Boyle)
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews