The United States Fashion Industry Association (USFIA) is supported by the staff in Washington, D.C., as well as two counsels—our Washington Counsel based in D.C., and our Customs Counsel based in New York.
Julia K. Hughes, President
Julia K. Hughes is the President of the United States Fashion Industry Association (USFIA). USFIA represents all segments of the fashion industry, from apparel brands to retailers to service companies. Ms. Hughes represents the interests of textile and apparel importers on trade policy issues to government officials, both in the United States and overseas. She has testified before Congress and the Executive Branch on textile trade issues. Ms. Hughes is also recognized as an expert in textile and apparel issues and is a frequent speaker at international conferences including the Apparel Sourcing Show, MAGIC, Foreign Service Institute, National Association of Manufacturers, Cotton Sourcing Summit, USIA's Worldnet, the International Textiles and Clothing Bureau, Young Presidents’ Organization, World Trade Organization Beijing International Forum and others.
Ms. Hughes also served as the first President of the international Organization of Women in International Trade (OWIT) and is one of the founders of the Washington Chapter of Women in International Trade (WIIT). In 1992 she received the Outstanding Woman in International Trade award and in 2008 received the WIIT Lifetime Achievement Award.
Ms. Hughes has an M.A. in International Studies from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and a B.S. in Foreign Service from Georgetown University.
Samantha Sault, Vice President of Communications
Samantha Sault is the Vice President of Communications for the United States Fashion Industry Association (USFIA). She is responsible for the development and execution of the association’s communications strategy, including public relations, policy research and messaging, and social media.
Prior to joining the association, Ms. Sault honed her communications expertise at DCI Group, a global public affairs communications firm headquartered in Washington, D.C. Previously, she worked in media as a web editor and fact checker at The Weekly Standard and an editorial assistant at Policy Review, the journal of the Hoover Institution. She began her career in the apparel industry at 17 at abercrombie kids in Bethesda, Maryland.
Ms. Sault also writes feature articles and reviews for print and web publications. She has covered New York Fashion Week, London Fashion Week, Hong Kong Fashion Week, and Washington culture and events like the White House Correspondents’ Dinner for The Weekly Standard, The Washington Times, Washington Life, and others. Her work can be found at SamanthaOnStyle.com.
Ms. Sault is a graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park, where she earned a B.A. in Government & Politics and graduated as a College Park Scholar.
Chelsea Murtha, Marketing & Communications Coordinator
Chelsea Murtha is the Marketing & Communications Coordinator for the United States Fashion Industry Association (USFIA). In this role, she manages outreach to current and prospective members, event marketing and logistics, and other tasks to ensure the association meets the needs of our members. Prior to joining USFIA, she was a Research Associate at The Stern Group, Inc., a boutique international trade consultancy in Washington, DC.
Ms. Murtha has an MSc in Philosophy and Public Policy from the London School of Economics and Political Science and a BA in Philosophy and Political Science from George Washington University.
David Spooner, Washington Counsel
Partner, Barnes & Thornburg LLP, Washington, D.C.
David M. Spooner is a partner in the Corporate Department in Barnes & Thornburg’s Washington, D.C., office. Mr. Spooner represents governments, trade associations, and corporate clients on international trade matters, including trade remedies, trade policy and customs issues. He uses his past experience as a high-level political appointee in the Executive Branch and on Capitol Hill to assist clients with their advocacy efforts before both branches of government, as well as before foreign governments.
Prior to entering private practice, Mr. Spooner served as the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Import Administration. In that capacity, Mr. Spooner led U.S. Government enforcement of trade remedy laws, principally the antidumping and anti-subsidy laws. He administered the Foreign Trade Zone system; oversaw apparel trade policy and the implementation of laws governing trade in apparel; managed trade remedy negotiations at the World Trade Organization (WTO), as well as dispute resolution proceedings at the WTO; chaired U.S.-China talks on macroeconomic reforms and the steel industry; and supervised the US Department of Commerce’s import safety initiatives.
Prior to his Senate confirmation as Assistant Secretary, Mr. Spooner served as the Chief Textile and Apparel Negotiator and Transition Coordinator in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR). While at USTR, he was a principal negotiator for free trade agreements with Central America, the Dominican Republic, Singapore, Australia, Chile, Panama, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Colombia and Peru, principally negotiating customs enforcement, apparel and textile, origin and safeguard provisions. He was heavily involved in building support for congressional passage of the Bush Administration’s trade agenda. Mr. Spooner also negotiated a comprehensive apparel trade agreement with China and concluded bilateral customs and quota arrangements with several nations.
Before his appointment to USTR, Mr. Spooner worked on Capitol Hill, managing the Washington D.C. office and serving as the legislative director and press secretary for a member of Congress, serving as Communications Director for the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture, and working for the U.S. House Committee on Rules, which manages debate and amendments in the House of Representatives.
Mr. Spooner earned his J.D. from the College of William & Mary School of Law and his B.A. from the University of Virginia.
He is admitted to practice in Washington, D.C., and Virginia and before the U.S. Court of International Trade and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.
John Pellegrini, Customs Counsel
Of Counsel, McGuireWoods LLP, New York, NY
John Pellegrini’s practice is concentrated on the regulatory and commercial aspects of international trade. He represents clients with respect to government regulation of the import-export trade, duty planning, admissibility requirements, litigation in the U.S. Court of International Trade, representation before the various federal agencies which regulate trade in the United States, and the commercial aspects of international trade.
His clients include multinationals, general merchandise retailers, importers, exporters, domestic and foreign manufacturers, commission agents, trade associations (United States Fashion Industry Association and the Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America), and international marketing companies.
Mr. Pellegrini counsels clients in issues relating to: classification and appraisement of imported merchandise; questions involving the origin and admissibility of merchandise; drawback; warehouse and foreign trade zone issues; export licensing and export controls; defense of civil penalty and criminal investigations and prosecutions; foreign asset control restrictions; boycott compliance; and, legislative, judicial and administrative proceedings, including trade policy cases.
Mr. Pellegrini’s practice areas include: business tax, international transactions, and consumer products.
Previously, Mr. Pellegrini was a Partner at Ross & Hardies in New York City. Prior to that, he served as Senior Attorney at U.S. Customs Service and Senior Attorney at J.C. Penney Company, Inc.
Mr. Pellegrini studied law at the New York University School of Law and Columbia University School of Law, and he received his undergraduate degree from Boston College.
Mr. Pellegrini is a member of the Bar of the State of New York.