WASHINGTON — The Obama administration revealed details of its export strategy on Thursday, which the textile and apparel industry hopes will help companies struggling to find financing.
The administration will improve credit access for domestic companies as part of a goal announced in President Obama’s State of the Union address, step up enforcement of international trade laws and create new export opportunities for U.S. companies, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said.
Locke said the administration asked the Export-Import Bank to increase financing for small and medium-sized companies in all industries by $2 billion to $6 billion over the next year. The administration’s budget, submitted to Congress on Monday, also requested additional funding for the Commerce Department’s International Trade Administration to help with export promotion. The budget requested a 20 percent budget increase for ITA to $534.3 million.
Textile and apparel firms have faced a long-term credit crisis that intensified as the global economy faltered and consumer demand fell. The sector’s exports from the U.S. declined 17.8 percent to $12.5 billion in the first 11 months of 2009, according to the Commerce Department’s Office of Textiles & Apparel.
The U.S. imports substantially more textiles and apparel than it exports. Textile and apparel imports totaled $74.6 billion in the first 11 months of last year, according to Commerce Department statistics.
“Access to financing is extremely important, particularly over the last year where capital has gotten tighter,” said Nate Herman, senior director of international trade for the American Apparel & Footwear Association.
Historically, it has been difficult for fabric and clothing companies to get financing through traditional avenues such as the Small Business Administration and the Export-Import Bank, he said. It is unclear if more specific action, such as legislation, will be necessary to fully open up access for the industry, the AAFA said.
The industry has been working to open additional financing avenues. Gail Strickler, assistant U.S. Trade Representative for the Office of Textiles, has led some industry efforts that were started in late fall to explore expanded financing options with the Export-Import Bank.
Taking the final spot on the mens’ portion of New York Fashion Week calendar next month will be none other than @tomford. Though he’s shown his men’s wear in New York in the past, this will mark the first time the designer has shown his men’s collection alone during New York Fashion Week: Men’s. His runway show will debut on February 6 at the Park Avenue Armory. #wwdfashion
London-based couture house @ralphandrusso has certainly been in the spotlight, having its dresses worn by @beyonce, Angelina Jolie, Meghan Markle in her engagement photos and more. For couture, Tamara Ralph focused on ornamentation — think: feathers with chain mail, jet embroidery and clusters of pearls and crystals. See the rest of the collection on WWD.com #wwdfashion #couture (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo)
Minnie Mouse celebrated her 90th birthday by getting her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. For her celebratory luncheon, @coach’s creative director @stuartvevers dressed her in a custom made prairie dress, complete with Vever’s take on the polka dot – black sequined versions – under a cropped motorcycle jacket. The designer also put his own mark on Minnie’s classic red shoes, infusing the color with sparkles and adding some Coach crystals. “We chose colors that were very Minnie and also represented quintessential Coach elements,” said Vevers. #wwdfashion #nationalpolkadotday (📷: George Chinsee)
@nickjonas is unveiling his first-ever apparel collection through a partnership with John Varvatos. The limited-edition capsule, which makes its debut in spring, also marks the first time the designer has collaborated with anyone on a line. “The process in working with Nick is amazing. It’s inspiring to be around someone who is not only connected with the trade that they do, but also with what’s happening in the environment around him, and how that connects to what we do with style,” said Varvatos. (RG: @johnvarvatos) #wwdfashion
@margotrobbie steps out onto the red carpet wearing @miumiu. The actress is nominated for “Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role” in “I, Tonya” at the #SagAwards. (📷: Stewart Cook) #wwdfashion
For @massimogiorgetti of @msgm, the Nineties are his favorite decade. “They had a huge impact on my personal growth. What I like of the Nineties is that they are not so precise in terms of style as other decades…there was actually a bit of everything,” he said. As seen on MSGM’s Spring 2018 show: tie-dye and a bit of grunge, two styles that are synonymous with the decade #wwdfashion #wwddecades (📷: @kukukuba)