With the recent election and inauguration of President Donald J. Trump, the United States has been faced with much transition. Trump’s administration, which prematurely suggested many changes would be imminent, recently commented on the fate of the fashion industry. His commentary however, seems to have left many local and international fashion industry businesses uncertain of their relations with the United States.
President Trump has certainly been vocal in his belief that the U.S. economy is greatly suffering, as well as his plans to remedy the economy. The fashion industry has been at the crux of the discussion, with Trump often using rhetoric that suggests that the fashion industry could be shut out of any trade negotiations, which have been arguably essential to the sustenance of the industry. Central to his claims has been the Trans- Pacific- Partnership (TPP), which many fashion organisations have relied on in the past. The partnership is an agreement that seeks to bring countries together in an attempt to broaden the market for businesses and consumers. On the other hand, however, critics suggest that bringing countries together under one market could mean that the United States would essentially be losing out, as jobs would lessen. The organisations for the preservation of the TPP have cited their belief that the elimination of the TPP could be “a potential disaster for the country” (Butler-Young 2017). This is because the partnership seeks to eliminate a large amount of taxes, which is important to the billion-dollar industry. Instead, Trump states that fashion houses should be subject to tariffs as well, which has jolted the fashion community.
Although these remarks were made prior to Trump’s inauguration as President, it seems as though several fashion businesses are already making plans to pull their merchandise out of the United States should President Trump impose tariffs and eliminate the TPP. Japanese retailer Uniqlo’s president Tadashi Yanai might be one of them. The retailer’s president recently stated that, “If [manufacturing products in the United States] is not a good decision for consumers, it is meaningless to do business in the United States."(Cox 2017) This then leaves the question for fashion specialists of whether or not President Trump’s suggestions are warranted under the condition for the fashion industry which boasts 1.2 trillion dollars as an industry on a whole, exports of six billion dollars, and imports of eighty-two billion dollars.
The question is ultimately whether or not the numbers cited paint the full picture of the fashion industry’s financial situation, and whether or not President Trump’s proposals would even cure his portrayal of the sinking economy. One thing remains certain however. The fashion industry could ultimately be destroyed with action that may not be in favor of the global fashion industry.