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.
“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