Fashion Industry Highlights Stimulus Needs in Letter to Congressional Leaders

February 1, 2021 | WASHINGTON, D.C.

Associations representing the fashion industry sent a letter to Congressional leaders today to highlight the industry’s needs as Congress debates additional stimulus measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Signed by the CEOs of the American Apparel & Footwear Association, Accessories Council, Council of Fashion Designers of America, and the Travel Goods Association, the letter recommends measures that would support American businesses and American workers.

The group’s recommendations include:
- A federal, short-term backstop to support trade credit insurance, which is primarily used by small businesses who rely on insurance to facilitate cash flow;
- Limited legal liability protection to safeguard businesses from unfair lawsuits;
- Return to workplace incentives;
- Healthy Workplaces Tax Credit to support those businesses that have retrofitted facilities and purchased personal protective equipment to protect employees and customers;
- Duty drawback for charitable donations to fix a problem in current law that disincentivizes donations of imported excess inventory.

“The fashion industry has played its part throughout the COVID-19 pandemic by repurposing supply chains to quickly fill our need for personal protective equipment, adjusting operations in line with health guidance, and creating safe spaces to shop for essential apparel and footwear needs across many seasons of this pandemic,” said Steve Lamar, president and CEO of the American Apparel & Footwear Association. “The stimulus measures delivered by Congress to date have been a lifeline for the economy however, as the pandemic continues to wreak havoc, more is needed to support American businesses and American workers. The provisions we recommend will directly help American business, employ more Americans, and support safe retail operations. With the finish line in sight, we must avoid tripping up at the final hurdle and do all we can to prevent further loss due to the pandemic.” 

“The travel goods industry is facing the perfect storm as a result of the pandemic – our customers aren’t traveling, which has made the severe drop in sales caused by pandemic that much worse," said Michele Marini Pittenger, president and CEO of the Travel Goods Association. "Our industry and our 100,000 American workers need help now.” 

"The fashion and accessory industries are largely made up by small entrepreneurial companies, many owned by women and minorities. It is critical that we support these companies during this challenging time," adds Karen Giberson, president of the Accessories Council

The letter, as sent to Congressional leadership, can be downloaded here.
About the American Apparel & Footwear Association
The American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) is the national trade association representing apparel, footwear and other sewn products companies, and their suppliers, which compete in the global market. Representing more than 1,000 world famous name brands, we are the trusted public policy and political voice of the apparel and footwear industry, its management and shareholders, its nearly four million U.S. workers, and its contribution of more than $400 billion in annual U.S. retail sales. AAFA provides exclusive expertise in trade, brand protection, and supply chain & manufacturing to help our members navigate the complex regulatory environment and lower costs. Members gain unparalleled access to information and exclusive insights on regulation and policy, and premier opportunities for networking and collaboration.

About the Accessories Council
The Accessories Council is a not-for-profit, international trade organization established in 1994. Our mission is to stimulate global consumer awareness and demand for fashion accessory products. We serve the industry globally which generates over $50.8 billion dollars annually in the United States alone. Over the past 25 years, membership has grown internationally to include over 330 companies and organizations, representing the world’s leading brand names, designers, publications, retailers, and associated providers for the accessories, eyewear, and footwear industries. The Accessories Council sponsors educational seminars, networking events, seasonal trend reports, marketing & advertising co-op initiatives, design & marketing awards for area fashion students, our exciting annual silent auction, social media events, and the esteemed black-tie ACE Award Gala, an annual tribute to the leaders of the accessory industry.

About the CFDA
The Council of Fashion Designers of America, Inc. (CFDA) is a not-for-profit trade association founded in 1962 with a membership of 477 of America’s foremost womenswear, menswear, jewelry, and accessory designers. Pillars include Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion through the IMPACT initiative, as well as Sustainability in Fashion. The organization provides its Members with timely and relevant thought-leadership and business development support. Emerging designers and students are supported through professional development programming and numerous grant and scholarship opportunities. In addition to hosting the annual CFDA Fashion Awards, the organization owns the Fashion Calendar, is the organizer of the Official New York Fashion Week Schedule, and recently launched RUNWAY360. The CFDA Foundation, Inc. is a separate, not-for-profit organized to mobilize the membership to raise funds for charitable causes and engage in civic initiatives.


About the Travel Goods Association
The Travel Goods Association (TGA) is the national organization that represents the manufacturers and retailers of travel products. Comprising a $31.2 billion-a-year industry, travel goods include luggage, casual bags, computer cases, backpacks, handbags and travel accessories – those items consumers use every day while traveling to work, across campus or around the world. TGA is the organizer and sponsor of The Travel Goods Show, the largest annual exhibition of travel products in the world.