MOVING ON: Just one week after Ed Needham took over as the editor of Rolling Stone, staffers were rocked by the magazine’s first high-profile resignation. On Tuesday, Patti O’Brien, the magazine’s longtime fashion director, resigned. In a statement, O’Brien said: “It’s been an amazing experience working at Rolling Stone. I’ve worked with a great group of people during my 13 years here but I feel it’s time to move on.” She did not detail her plans.
MADE WHERE?: Fabric buyers strolling the aisles of the I-TexStyle trade show at the Lexington Avenue armory today and Thursday will probably notice a couple of people walking around with blue nylon attachés with the logo “Italia: Life in I Style.”
They were a premium from the show sponsor, The Italian Trade Commission, but unlike the fabrics on display, they don’t come from Como, Prato, Biella or anywhere else in Italy, for that matter.
According to their origin tags, the bags were made in Myanmar, a southeast Asian nation that has been accused of forcing its citizens to toil on government projects like road building. Pressure has been building for the U.S. to cut its business ties with that country — in 1997, former president Bill Clinton banned American companies from making new investments in that country, formerly known as Burma, while last year, Sens. Jesse Helms (R., N.C.) and Tom Harkin (D., Iowa) introduced a bill that would have banned all imports from the country.
The Myanmar government has said it “neither practices nor condones the practice of forced labor in the country,” although a representative of the nation’s embassy in Washington early this year told to WWD there have been instances in the past when people were “requested to participate in community work.”
Roberto Luongo, deputy trade commissioner with the ITC in New York, said in a phone interview that he was surprised to learn the ITC was giving out bags bearing the “Made in Myanmar” label.
“This is the first time that I heard of this matter. I didn’t know there was this problem,” he said. “If there is a problem, we will change it.”
This story first appeared in the July 17, 2002 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
An ITC staffer called back to tell WWD that the commission had ordered the bags from a supplier in New Jersey and was unaware of where they had been manufactured. The ITC bought 200 Myanmar-made bags, she added, but in the future will make a point of not buying Myanmar-made goods.
D&G ON TOUR: Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana love their singing divas. After dressing Mary J. Blige and Kylie Minogue for their recent musical tours, they’ve now turned to Alicia Keys. The singer, who this month began a summer tour of the U.S., has a concert wardrobe exclusively designed by Dolce & Gabbana that includes beaded coats and jeans, leather pieces and fur.