Member News

USFIA Members in Philadelphia Give FIT Students Tours and Meetings with Industry Experts

Earlier this month, 30 students from the Fashion Institute of Technology’s International Trade and Marketing Program (ITM) traveled to Philadelphia to visit USFIA’s Custom Broker Partner GEODIS USA and USFIA Member URBN Inc. and get a first-hand look at the day in the life of executives in customs, transportation, sourcing, and operations, and learn about the career opportunities that await them after graduation. Special thanks to USFIA Board Member Stefanie Rotta, Senior Director of Global Sourcing & Operations at URBN, Inc., to USFIA Officer, Sonja Chapman, Associate Professor at FIT, and to Erin Williamson, Compliance Manager at USFIA’s Custom Broker Partner GEODIS USA, for helping organize the day.  

The day kicked off at GEODIS USA’s office located in the historic warehousing district of the port of Philadelphia for a discussion on customs and transportation. Erin Williamson, Compliance Manager at GEODIS and FIT graduate, led the panel explaining how working in customs compliance, logistics, and transportation keeps fashion brands and retailers’ supply chains moving. 

In the afternoon, ITM students visited Urban Outfitters to tour the facilities, hear from executives in sourcing and operations, and, of course, pose for a photo in front of the sequin wall. Students explored the knit lab and pattern making facilities and heard from production and tech design managers, as well as directors of sourcing and fabric.

Sounds like a great day for ITM students as they continue to learn and prepare for careers in the fashion industry. Be sure to check out students and organizers’ photos and thoughts below. 

While the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) is known as a premier school for design, FIT’s Jay and Patty Baker School of Business and Technology prepares students for employment in the business sector of the fashion and creative industries. The classes taught at ITM specifically prepare students for management careers in sourcing, compliance, customs, finance, law, corporate social responsibility, trade policy, marketing and other fields. If your company is looking for students for internships, or if you have open positions to hire FIT grads in related positions, you can contact FIT Professor Sonja Chapman at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Reminder to Complete USFIA Benchmarking Survey for 2019 

Don’t miss your chance to participate in our sixth annual Fashion Industry Benchmarking Study, which we are conducting again with Dr. Sheng Lu of the University of Delaware. Every USFIA brand, retailer, and importer company has received the benchmarking survey asking about the business outlook and your views on sourcing trends in response to the threats of the trade wars. We appreciate your participation and insights to produce a meaningful study. If you have any questions, or did not receive the survey contact USFIA at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Join the Cotton Board

Are you interested in sourcing or sustainability?  Would you like to know more about cotton availability and pricing?  Have ideas for how to expand cotton in your products?  Join the Cotton Board!  USFIA is looking for interested members to nominate to serve on the Cotton Board.  If you import cotton, then you pay the fee for the research and promotion program.  We encourage USFIA brand, retailer, and importer members to apply for this interesting and important opportunity. Click here to download a flyer with more information, and contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you’d like more information.

Now Available: Trade Intelligence from USFIA’s Premiere Partner PwC

This month we have several updates to share from PwC.

USFIA Premier Partner PwC published its bimonthly trade intelligence on the Asia Pacific region, Trade Intelligence Asia Pacific for February 2019 / March 2019 . This issue covers topics including China’s new policies on Comprehensive Bonded Zones, import requirements for imports into Japan under Japan-EU EPA, and more. Click here to download it. 

If you have an office in Singapore or will be in Singapore yourself, PwC invites you to a one-day customs and trade workshop, 101 Customs & International Trade Compliance in the Asia Pacific.  The workshop is scheduled for May 9, 2019.  Experts from PwC will identify the main business risks in the customs environment within the Asia Pacific, provide strategies for risk mitigation, and share case studies about recent issues.  Click here for details and registration. 

PwC also provides updates and insights on global risks in their latest blog series, Global Perspectives on Top Risks. The series takes a look at potential threats to revenue and profit growth evolving in the geo-political and macro-economic environment. Explore the latest blogs in the series: Cracks in the façade: What diverse global politics means for businessInnovation at a crossroads: Restoring trust in technology, and The uncertainty principle: Current China-U.S. relations test business and government.

Material Management in the New Digital Economy

Material management is one of the key operations of the retail supply chain and it can be difficult to stay on top of the latest trends, technologies, and business models while prioritizing materials-first initiatives and corporate social responsibility efforts. Bamboo Rose’s latest White Paper explains the benefits of adopting a materials-first strategy and how their latest product upgrade with expanded capabilities for materials management can give your brand a competitive edge in the global retail market. Download the White Paper here. 

For more on material management, check out USFIA’s latest webinar with Innovation Partner Bamboo Rose. Nate Fleming, Director of Product Marketing, gives a breakdown of the emerging trends in material and component innovation and how companies can embrace and support material management initiatives. 

New Report Shifts Focus from Fiber Content to Fiber Life Cycle 

Mistra recently published the two-part “Fiber Bible,” a report analyzing all available data on the environmental impact of textile fibers.  Their goal is to provide detailed analysis to policy makers, industry decision-makers, and customers. 

Part 1 of the study focuses on the technical performance of new sustainable textile fibers compared to established fibers, and Part 2 quantifies the environmental impact and potential of textile fibers.  Dr. Sandra Roos, Doctor in Environmental Systems at RISE and one of the authors of the report, says it is important to look at the production cycle when measuring sustainability in fibers. “When calculating the total environmental impact of a garment, one can not only consider the material used in the garment itself, but also what resources have been used to produce the garment. Even though the garment could be made from recycled fibers, the factory may have used fossil fuels for electricity supply, thereby increasing the garment’s total environmental impact.” 

You’re Invited to Centric Software’s Retail Lunch & Learn and Happy Hour with Fast Retailing in NYC

Join USFIA’s Associate Member Centric Software in New York City on May 14th for a retail lunch and learn to discover how Centric helps more than 850 brands drive their digital transformation and develop amazing products across multiple categories, geographies and channels more quickly, to get to market first! Learn more and register here. 

Following, Centric will hold a CentricVIP happy hour with Fast Retailing. Hear from Sasha Porter, System Analyst at Fast Retailing on how their team leverages the power of Centric Visual Innovation Platform (VIP), a game-changing solution of touch screen boards, that truly improves collaboration and revolutionized the way decisions are made. Register here. 

In the News 

As reported this month, the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) released a report assessing the likely impact of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) on the overall U.S. economy and on specific industry sectors. Dr. Sheng Lu, Associate Professor in the Department of Fashion and Apparel Studies at the University of Delaware, cites the 2018 US Fashion Industry Benchmarking Study and explains how the new deal would impact the textiles and apparel sector. Read the full Just-Style article here. 

In case you missed it, the United States Fashion Industry Association (USFIA) signed on to the Americans for Free Trade’s letter to President Trump urging Administration to drop all recently imposed tariffs as part of any negotiated deal with China. The letter has received press hits from the Washington Examiner, Just-StyleFinancial Times, and Politico Pro’s Morning Trade email. For these hits and more, visit the USFIA newsroom

USFIA’s recent webinar with PwC, A Needle in a Haystack: Supply Chain Threat Detection, was covered by Just-Style to advise the international clothing industry to take a holistic and assertive approach to detecting and fighting threats within the supply chain. The article shared webinar presenter, Norm Litterini’s thoughts on detecting supply chain risks, as well as USFIA’s President Julia Hughes’ thoughts on counterfeiting challenges in the industry. Read the full article here. 

In Case You Missed It… 

April 2: The USFIA Board of Directors met in Washington, DC. The Board met with officials from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, Department of Commerce, U.S. Customs & Border Protection, and U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement. 

April 10: USFIA and USFIA Premier Partner PwC hosted a webinar, A Needle in a Haystack: Supply Chain Threat Detection

April 16: USFIA President Julia Hughes spoke at SGS and Callet Law’s Product Safety and Regulatory Seminar in New York City giving an update on the Washington political scene. 

April 24: USFIA and USFIA Customs Broker Partner GEODIS USA hosted a webinar, Customs Update: From ACE to Z. 

April 25: USFIA and USFIA Innovation Partner Bamboo Rose hosted a webinar, Material and Component Innovation in the New Retail Economy. 

April 29: USFIA President Julia Hughes and Washington Counsel David Spooner met with representatives from the Embassy of Uzbekistan, including the Ambassador, and the CEO for Global Strategic Planning for the Uzbekistan Textile Industry Association, Muhamedova Dilba, to discuss improvements in cotton production and future business opportunities for U.S. fashion brands and retailers.  .  

Calendar of Events

May 28-30 (Miami, Florida): USFIA will participate and speak at Apparel Textile Sourcing Miami, a trade show that connects the southeastern United States, North America, Latin America, and the Caribbean to the international marketplace for apparel, textiles, and fashion. 

July 16 (Washington, DC): Save the date for USFIA Lobby Day. The week’s events will kick off with personalized meetings on Capitol Hill with your Members of Congress. Following, all symposium attendees are invited to join USFIA and Barnes & Thornburg LLP for a networking reception. 

July 17 (Washington, DC): Save the date for USFIA’s Washington Trade Symposium. The event will be a full-day symposium at the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center, featuring briefings by policymakers and industry experts. 

July 18 (Washington, DC): The USFIA Board of Directors will meet. 

November 7 (New York City): Save the Date for USFIA Annual Conference.

November 8 (New York City): The USFIA Board of Directors will meet. 

Think About Joining the Social & Labor Convergence Program (SLCP)

Audit fatigue remains a real issue for the industry and it has been difficult for the companies to agree on how to make it better. Now there is a real solution – the Social & Labor Convergence Program (SLCP). Earlier this week USFIA sponsored a webinar that featured SLCP’s Project Director, Janet Mensink, and included a company perspective from Michael Kobori, the Vice President of Sustainability at Levi Strauss & Co. We couldn’t help but sit up and take notice when he called the SLCP the “holy grail” of industry efforts to eliminate multiple audits and redeploy money to improve working conditions in factories. 

So far there are 191 SLCP signatories, and we encourage USFIA members to take a look. The SLCP mission is to improve working conditions by joining forces across the apparel and footwear industry. Over the past 3 years, SLCP developed a Converged Assessment Framework to collect compliance and performance information from production facilities in order to create a system to share verified data in a secure and scalable way. Listen to the full webinar and see the SLCP Signatory Charter here. 

In the News

Each year publishes a series of articles about the Outlook for the year ahead. We are pleased that USFIA again was featured and shared some of the insights that we hear from members. We talked about apparel industry challenges and opportunities as well as apparel sourcing trends and strategiesClick here to see more in USFIA’s newsroom. 

Dr. Sheng Lu, associate professor in the Department of Fashion and Apparel Studies at the University of Delaware and co-author of USFIA’s Benchmarking Study, used insights from the 2018 Benchmarking Study to analyze the ‘Made in the USA’ apparel market. Click here to read his article on Just-Style.  

USFIA joined alongside the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA), the Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America (FDRA), the National Retail Federation (NRF), and more to call for an update to 9802, a program that provides duty reductions for goods made with U.S. content. Read the article covered by Just-Style here. 

In Case You Missed It…

January 15: USFIA filed comments on the U.S.-UK negotiating objectives for a trade agreement.

January 31: USFIA hosted our annual West Coast event, Fashion Forward San Francisco, at Levi 
Strauss & Co. Attendees enjoyed a full day event hearing from the industry’s top experts on trade, politics, transportation, sourcing, and sustainability. We concluded the day with a fun networking reception overlooking the waterfront. Thanks to our sponsors and speakers for making the event a huge success, and especially to Levi Strauss & Co. for being a great host! 

February 4: USFIA filed comments on U.S. Customs & Border Protection’s 21st-centry framework. 

February 4 and 5: USFIA attended SOURCING at MAGIC in Las Vegas. It was great to see all of our member booths! 

February 19: USFIA and Social Compliance and Sustainability Partner BSI hosted a webinar, Bribery, Corruption, and Transparency: What Global Brands and Retailers Need to Know.

February 20: USFIA and the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) hosted a webinar: Update on Social & Labor Convergence Program  .

Calendar of Events

March 1 (Washington, DC and online): U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) will hold a 21st Century Customs Framework (21 CCF) public meeting at the U.S. Department of Commerce. 

March 5 (Online): USFIA and Associate Member OLAH Inc. will host a webinar, A Changing World for Sourcing Apparel: Comparing Labor, Productivity, Trade, and Prices Across the Top 25 Suppliers.

March 5 (St. Louis): If you’re in St. Louis, come to the meeting of the St. Louis Trade Compliance Practitioners Roundtable. There will be networking and Julie will talk about the work of the U.S. Global Value Chain Coalition in a session called, “Global Trade and U.S. Jobs – The Intersection of International Trade, U.S. Jobs and Trade Compliance”

March 7 (Online): USFIA and Premier Partner PwC will host a webinar, First Sale for Export Program: Post-Implementation Testing and Monitoring Strategy.  

April 2 (Washington, DC): The USFIA Board of Directors will meet. 

April 3-5 (Bogota, Colombia): USFIA Sourcing Supporter PROCOLOMBIA will host the 75th Business Matchmaking Forum, featuring Colombia’s top vendors and buyers from more than 30 countries. 

July 17 (Washington, DC): Save the date for USFIA’s Washington Trade Symposium on Capitol Hill. And plan to join us the day before for Congressional meetings. 

Join the United States Fashion Industry Association (USFIA) at several exciting seminars and events at MAGIC in Las Vegas, taking place February 5-7, 2019 (SOURCING at MAGIC from February 4).

These seminars are free and open to anyone with a show badge, so we hope to see you there!

Trade Wars and China Tariffs: The Latest on the Threats to Brands and Retailers--and Strategies for the Future
Tuesday, February 5, 2019 at 9:00 AM to 10:00 AM
PROJECT, Mandalay Bay Convention Center, Bayside B, Show Floor, Booth #24293

This session will summarize the latest actions for new tariffs and trade retaliation affecting U.S. fashion brands and retailers. Whether you source in China or close to home, hear from a D.C. insider about trade actions that may affect your business. We also will share important strategies to minimize the negative impact. Speaker: Julia K. Hughes, President of the United States Fashion Industry Association (USFIA)

How Will Trade Wars Impact Your Global (And Local) Strategies?
Tuesday, February 5, 2019 at 11:30 AM to 12:30 PM
SOURCING at MAGIC, Las Vegas Convention Center, South Hall, Level 2, Room S224

Join us for an update from Washington DC as industry experts discuss the potential for trade disruptions to affect sourcing by fashion brands and retailers. Julie Hughes, President of USFIA, will give an overview of the latest policy actions by the Trump Administration and the Congress. James Schwartz of MGF SOURCING will share his thoughts about successful strategies to manage uncertainty. MGF company provides more than $1.0 billion worth of products for retailers like Express, Lane Bryant, Chico’s FAS, Talbots, J Crew, Abercrombie & Fitch, and other nationally known brands. Speakers: Julia K. Hughes, President of the United States Fashion Industry Association (USFIA) and James Schwartz, President and CEO of MGF Sourcing

Importing Duty-Free Garments from Egypt to the USA
Tuesday, February 5, 2019 at 4:00 PM to 5:30 PM
SOURCING at MAGIC, Las Vegas Convention Center, South Hall, Level 2, Room S224

In 2004, the QIZ program was launched as a mean of promoting peace between Egypt and Israel with the support of the U.S. government. Since its inception, the Egyptian exports of RMG and textiles grew substantially to the U.S. market. During the first half of 2018, the growth rate of the Egyptian RMG exports (25.27%) was the highest among the top 25 exporting countries to the United States. This session will be followed by a reception. Speakers: Julia K. Hughes, President of the United States Fashion Industry Association (USFIA);  Dr. Ashraf El Rabiey, Co-Chairman of the QIZ Committee, Egypt; Gabby Bar, Co-Chairman of the QIZ Committee, Israel; Matthias Knappe, Program Manager, Fibres, Textiles, and Clothing Sector and Enterprise Competitiveness, International Trade Commission; Mohammed Kassem, Chairman and CEO of World Trading Company Egypt and Nanotech International for Industry and Trade

For more information and registration, visit

Ongoing trade wars, rising costs, and increasing competition. Though the MAGIC words can’t fix all the uncertainty in the apparel industry, the atmosphere, seminars, and exhibit booths at SOURCING at MAGIC certainly helped temporarily ease our minds. After Fashion Forward San Francisco USFIA headed to Las Vegas to attend SOURCING at MAGIC, the largest apparel and sourcing show in the country. There we explored the sourcing options around the world, heard what sourcing executives are thinking, and mingled with brands and retailers.  

USFIA President Julia Hughes kicked off the seminars on Tuesday morning at Mandalay Bay with a presentation titled “Trade Wars and China Tariffs- the Latest on the Threats to Brands and Retailers + Strategies for the Future”. She discussed executives’ top business concern about trade protectionism, as cited in the 2018 Benchmarking Study, and explained strategies fashion brands and retailers can take to mitigate the impact of the trade war. For the full presentation click here. 
After the opening seminar and visiting all our member booths we headed over to the Las Vegas Convention Center where Julie Hughes joined Jim Schwartz, President and CEO of MGF Sourcing, for a conversation about how the trade wars will impact your global and local sourcing strategies. The room was full, reflecting the interest in learning more about sourcing options. Schwartz talked about the strategies companies are taking in response to the threat of tariffs, mainly moving out of China, and the struggles companies are running into- saying changing sourcing destinations “is not so easy, because we have a much more intricate, sophisticated supply chain than in the days of quotas”. Click here to read Sourcing Journal’s article covering the panel. 

USFIA closed the day by moderating a panel on “Importing Duty Free Ready-Made Garments from Egypt to the USA” that featured Gabby Bar, Israeli Co-Chairman of QIZ Committee and Ministry of Economy & Industry, Mohamed Kassem, former president of the Egyptian Ready-Made Garments Export Council, and Matthias Knappe, Program Manager, Fibres, Textiles, & Clothing at International Trade Centre. The Egyptian industry experts spoke about the opportunities and advantages of sourcing from Egypt to the U.S. Click here for the full presentations.  

Barnes & Thornburg was named one of the top five international trade practice groups of the year by Law360, one of the legal industry’s most important publications. Law360 selects winners based on the significance, size and complexity of the litigation wins and deals across the legal industry. USFIA Washington Counsel David Spooner, who serves as co-chair of the group, said, “We have a diverse group of top-notch attorneys, all of whom work very hard. Last year brought many opportunities and challenges to our clients, and it is gratifying that our group has received this recognition from Law360.” Congratulations, Barnes & Thornburg! (And don’t forget—you can hear David’s insight during USFIA Fashion Forward San Francisco on January 31!)