NEW YORK — If terrorists smuggle a weapon of mass destruction into the U.S. through a shipping container, even if the bomb is defused, the collateral damage could wipe out the brand equity of the company whose container was...
NEW YORK — If terrorists smuggle a weapon of mass destruction into the U.S. through a shipping container, even if the bomb is defused, the collateral damage could wipe out the brand equity of the company whose container was used.
That’s one of the messages security experts are starting to hammer home to importers as the Customs Service labors to increase the security of the 11 million, 40-foot cargo containers that enter the U.S. each year. For months, companies have been signing up for the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism, a program put in place after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
While many importers have looked to the program as a way to ensure quick processing of their goods in exchange for advance declarations to Customs of what they’re shipping and a stepped-up security program, Customs officials continue to hammer home the message that the program is really about protection. While the program’s mission is to protect the country from terrorists, industry observers noted that participating is also important to companies that want to protect their names.
"Think about [the effect on] your brand if there’s a problem with something in your container," said John Pelligrini, a partner in the New York law firm Ross & Hardles. "The issue is security, but it’s not all altruistic. You have to protect your assets and one of the most important assets is your brand."
The thinking is that just as people around the world were overwhelmed with images of the American and United Airlines planes flying into the World Trade Center following the Sept. 11 attacks, if a particular brand’s container was used in a terrorist attack, that brand name would become strongly associated with destruction.
Richard Di Nucci, a program manager for C-TPAT, said importers should consider this question: "What happens if my container goes boom?
"The impact is not going to be between you and Customs, it’s between you and all the other businesses out there who suddenly can’t move their containers," he said.
He urged importers who participate in C-TPAT to remember that, while the program does promise some faster processing of goods, that is not is primary mission."C-TPAT is about security," he said. "It is not a benefit program…and it’s about your business."
Experts said that even an ultimately false threat could do significant damage to the U.S. economy if cargo containers ground to a halt as Customs had to conduct hundreds or thousands of inspections.
Still, Peter McGrath, president of J.C. Penney Purchasing Co., said importers need to plan for the possibility that a terrorist incident or threat will bring shipping to a halt.
"You need to have a plan and contingency in place if there is a catastrophe at our ports," he said.
Raymond Li, Deputy Commissioner of Customs at the port of Hong Kong, said at a recent New York meeting of apparel importers that companies need to understand that without physical security, they will not be able to conduct business normally.
"The goals of trade and economic action cannot be achieved in the absence of a secure environment," he said.
Everyone involved in the distribution of merchandise needs to remain vigilant against terrorist threats, he said.
"No economy can alienate itself from the barbaric desolation of terrorists unless we shut up our borders," a move that would be devastating to trade, he said. "While Customs plays a crucial role, business plays an equally important role."
Robert Bonner, Commissioner of the U.S. Customs Service, said he took hope in the fact that more than 1,000 importers have signed up for the C-TPAT program.
"The response to C-TPAT tells me that many businesses recognize their role and their responsibility in the fight against terrorism," he said. "I want the senior managers to know there are benefits from the improvement of security in the supply chain."
“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