The union that staffs Hugo Boss’ Cleveland factory claims the Metzingen, Germany-based company plans to close the facility next year and eliminate hundreds of jobs.
The factory, which has served as the center of Boss’ American suit production and distribution for 20 years, may go dark as soon as April 2010 when the union employees’ contract expires, according to leaders at Workers United. The facility, which produces 150,000 suits a year, employs more than 400 workers, 320 of which are union members.
Responding to the union’s contentions, Philipp Wolff, director of communications for Hugo Boss AG, said, “We have not made any strategic decisions. We are evaluating our global business needs in regards to customer demands and will communicate any decisions once they are finalized.”
According to Dallas Sells, director of the Ohio State Council for Workers United, attorneys representing Hugo Boss recently met with union leaders to discuss closing the factory and initiate negotiations for union employees’ severance.
Sells said the membership has refused severance and will fight the facility’s closure. “Without our consent, the operation has to continue in some form,” Sells said, noting the contract could prevent shutting the facility completely.
The union also said Boss has begun to relocate its distribution facility from Cleveland to Savannah, Ga., and with it, 15 warehouse jobs.
Boss took over the facility in 1989 when it acquired Ohio-based tailored clothing company Joseph & Feiss Co., which had been making suits in Cleveland since the 19th century.
The factory’s potential closure highlights the continued decline of the nation’s tailored clothing manufacturing — a market that once supported thousands of workers and countless brands. Today, only Individualized Apparel Group, JA Apparel and Hugo Boss operate sizable clothing factories in the U.S., and Southwick, now owned by Brooks Brothers, last week unveiled a new state-of-the-art facility in Haverhill, Mass.
Workers United is a new organization that split a few weeks ago from UNITE HERE, the largest apparel labor union in the U.S.
“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