WASHINGTON — The fashion industry remained as divided and unsure as the country on Thursday over who would best serve their needs and get the economy back on a strong footing, as the presidential race entered the homestretch.
The last of the three presidential debates Wednesday night, where the candidates exchanged disparate views on the economy’s health and their ideas for its future, didn’t appear to break the deadlock in national polls between President Bush or Democratic challenger Sen. John Kerry.
With 19 days left before Election Day, the specter of potential ballot recounts delaying the announcement of a victor, as occurred in the 2000 election, is becoming a growing fear among pundits. That election was decided Dec. 12, 2000 by the Supreme Court, which refused to order a recount of contested Florida ballots, giving Bush a victory in the state and enough electoral votes to best Democrat Al Gore.
“My biggest concern is that we’re not going to know on Nov. 3 who the president will be and I think that would be the worst result for the country,” said Tracy Mullin, chief executive office and president of the National Retail Federation.
Mullin, who considered the debate focused on domestic policy to be a draw, said she didn’t hear concrete plans from either candidate on how to boost the hot-and-cold economy.
James Pfiffner, a political science professor at George Mason University, said he didn’t expect the last debate to have “made a big difference in the way people see the candidates.” Like others, Pfiffner said it’s impossible to forecast a winner in the contest and questioned how well polls are capturing who millions of newly registered voters might support.
During the debate at Arizona State University in Tempe, Bush said he considers the economy pointed in the right direction after recovering from blows caused by the 2001 terrorist attacks and the recession, which he claims doused already tepid growth in the closing months of the Clinton administration.
Kerry said the employment market is limping along, since statistically not enough jobs are being created to keep pace with growth in the labor pool, and he underscored the net loss of 1.6 million private sector jobs during the Bush administration.Kevin Burke, president and ceo of the American Apparel & Footwear Association, said Kerry’s hitting Bush during the debate on the job front should “ring real loud” in the handful of battleground states where job losses, particularly in manufacturing, are a central issue.
“They have been affected by global forces and they’re angry because things haven’t gone their way,” Burke said.
However, Burke said he agrees with Bush’s economic solutions espoused during the debate and grounded in improving childhood education and retraining displaced workers for what the President called “Jobs for the 21st Century.” However, Burke said of the debate: “Neither one hit a home run. Neither one blew me away.”
Arizona retailer Ray Carroll, who is also a Republican office holder as a supervisor of Pima County, where Tucson is located, said job training has been a local emphasis and successful. Carroll, who owns a high-end women’s boutique called Mills-Touche, with his wife, Ann, also gave Bush a pass on the lackluster job market.
“I don’t believe the President is solely responsible for the job numbers,” Carroll said. “The economy is in transition.”
Robert DuPree, vice president of the National Council of Textile Organizations, was buoyed by Kerry’s mention of the need to force China to bring its currency in line with world markets. The yuan is seen as being undervalued by as much as 40 percent, which in turn lowers the price of China’s exports, including apparel and textiles.
U.S. textile producers, which have seen 350,000 domestic mill and apparel jobs lost in Bush’s term, have been disappointed that the President hasn’t done more to pressure the Chinese on its currency. Textile executives have also criticized Bush for being too aggressive in expanding international trade without adequately ensuring trade agreements are equitable for U.S. workers.
“We think the textile industry does consist of jobs for the 21st century and we prefer to see emphasis on trade policies that keep jobs here rather than discussing how to retrain our workers,” DuPree said.
Meanwhile, Kerry’s discussion during the debate of his health care plan, which among other things would allow the uninsured to buy affordable coverage through the government, calls for “fair” trade agreements and an increase in the $5.15-an-hour federal minimum wage, should help to “mobilize the Democratic base vote and influence swing voters in the middle class in battleground states” like Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Florida, said Chris Chafe, political director with the apparel union UNITE HERE.“In these swing states, people are going through tremendous economic distress and are looking for real answers on kitchen table economic issues,” Chafe said.
My character, Dinah Madani, is just the coolest, [most] badass woman imaginable," says @amberroserevah. The actress stars in @marvel's newest series on @netflix, @thepunisher. To prepare for her role, Revah sat down with Homeland agents to get a real sense of with Dinah's day-to-day life is really like. Read our full interview on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
A scene from the 91st annual @macys Thanksgiving Day Parade. The parade, which boasts 50 million TV viewers and 3.5 million on-site spectators, is considered one of the largest and most watched parades in the world. (📷: Jason Szenes/EPA-REX)
The circus came to @bloomingdales 59th Street on Tuesday night and lit up Lexington Avenue with acrobatic dancers, death-defying knife throwing, sword swallowing and aerial acts with no net. The 45 minutes of theatrics built up to unveiling the holiday windows depicting @swarovski crystal-encrusted circus pieces and scenes from “The Greatest Showman” – songs from the soundtrack included. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Joshua Scott)
The psychedelic fashion that pervaded the ’60s is back with an exhibit at the @museumofcityny. “Mode New York: Fashion Takes a Trip” chronicles the changing styles from 1960 through 1973 and features designers such as @ysl, @oscardelarenta and more. The exhibition, which is on display through April 1, is organized into four periods: First Lady Fasion, Youthquake, New Bohemia and New Nonchalance. Pictured here is model Pat Bardonella during the Garvey Day Parade in 1968. (📷: @kwamebphoto) #wwdeye #wwdfashion
“People should be a lot more honest in expressing both the dark and light of themselves. We need to give each other the space to do that because it’s the only way we can grow and evolve,” says @noelwells of her new film “Mr. Roosevelt,” which is largely based on her own struggles. Unexpectedly leaving @nbcsnl in 2014 after just one season, Wells felt set back in her self-esteem and career trajectory. She quickly refocused her energy to more personal projects, which led to the completion of “Mr. Roosevelt.” Read the rest of WWD’s interview with the “Master of None” actress on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
@barbrastreisand is giving fans a chance to see her perform up close in a new concert series, which makes its debut on @Netflix today. From behind-the-scenes takes to her concert performance in Miami last December, the two-hour streaming special captures Streisand in her element. Pictured here is the singer/actress photographed for WWD in 1963. (📷: Palmieri Tony) #wwdeye #wwdarchive
@chanel and @pharrell dropped what’s being dubbed as the world’s most exclusive sneakers yesterday. The Adidas Originals NMD Hu, which Williams designed in collaboration with Chanel and @adidasoriginals, has a waiting list of over 120K people who pre-registered online at chanelatcolette.fr –– and only 500 pairs are on sale. The singer predicted the resale value of the shoes could reach $40K. Read the full interview on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdfashion (📷: Dominique Maître)
@imanshumpert is diving deeper into his creative endeavors and relaunching his clothing line, Post 90s, and is helping to raise money for the hurricane victims in St. Maarten with a jersey he’s designed with his brother. The Cleveland Cavaliers player talked to WWD about kneeling during the national anthem, working with fashion brands and how he wants to be more than an @nba player. Read the interview on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)