Even with a robust economy and strong consumer confidence, one threat hung over 2018—the escalating trade war between the U.S. and China. It kept retailers and brands guessing, second-guessing and scrambling to reduce their exposure.
Through it all, the American Apparel & Footwear Association has been on the ground in Washington lobbying on behalf of the industry, monitoring the situation and consulting with fashion firms.
All in all, just the threat of tariffs has taken a huge toll on the industry.
“The Trump administration has managed to take trade, which was a five-letter word, and make it into a four-letter word. And we’ve been left to deal with all that. It is a very difficult situation for our industry and one that we fight on a daily basis to survive,” said AAFA president and CEO Rick Helfenbein.
Watch the video to hear what Helfenbein has to say about the disruptive effect of the tariffs, how long the trade war is likely to last and what the situation has revealed about the vulnerabilities in the apparel supply chain.