WASHINGTON —In this town built on politics,lobbying is a big industry where retailers invest — often heavily — to have access and,,hopefully,influence.
It ’s an inexact profession garnering corporate busi- ness for being in the know,whether it ’s a trade bill that ’s hung up on a textile origin issue or a bankruptcy reform bill stalled over an anti-abortion controversy.
It ’s also a profession that gets a lot of flak. Downtown K Street,where many lobbying firms are lo- cated,is disparagingly called “Gucci Gulch ”for its smartly but conservatively dressed crowd,with a pen- chant for things monogrammed.One measure of Washington power is the “Washington Rep ”directory of lobbyists and their corporate clients,a political ver- sion of the city ’s “Green Book ” social registry..
Lobbyists are called “influence peddlers ”by critics. Retailers say lobbyists are a necessity and a key part of their business strategy.
“We have to have relationships with legislators that allows us to help them understand the whole picture,” said a Sears,Roebuck &Co.spokeswoman. “Legislation is complex and it ’s often not obvious how proposed legislation will impact Sears.”
When working with outside lobbying firms,retailers typically follow the time-held practice of striking a bal- ance between lobbyists with strong Republican or Democratic connections.It ’s a prudent strategy be- cause power eventually shifts.
At the minimum,retailers,like Federated Department Stores,rely almost exclusively on trade as- sociations,such as the National Retail Federation, which represents department store and specialty re- tailers,and the International Mass Retail Association, which represents mass merchants.
For 2001,the NRF spent $1.3 million on its lobbying services,about $220,000 of which went to outside lobbying firms.IMRA spent $250,000 on lobbying for the period,ac- cording to disclosures required by the House and Senate.
“For federal lobbying,95 percent of the time NRF represents our interests and point of view very well,” said Carol Sanger,Federated ’s vice president for cor- porate affairs.However,Sanger said Federated has just retained the lobbying and law firm of Patton, Boggs,which will be used on a case-by-case-basis.The firm ’s current portfolio of retail clients includes The Limited and Wal-Mart Stores.Another top lobbying firm is The OB-C Group,which Sears uses.A former principal,Nicholas Calio,is ow Bush ’s chief Capitol Hill lobbying scout.
“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