Monday, March 23, 2015

Learn How to Incorporate Sustainable Practices into Your Business


This weekend on Saturday March 28, 2015, the Pratt Institute's Center for Sustainable Design Strategies is offering a day long series of presentations, panel discussions and workshops that is free and open to the public.

Whether you are an established brand looking to branch out into having a sustainable fashion arm of the business, a growing brand that imports and is looking for better practices, or a sustainable fashion enthusiast, you'll be sure to walk away with something of interest from this conference.

Though free, registration is required and you can do it here:

See you there, and if you spot me be sure to come over and say 'hi!'

Monday, March 9, 2015

Harmful Shifts in the US Economy Without a New Beginning for AGOA?

Still think the economy is sluggish?  

(photo courtesy of U.S. CIA)

The gridlock in Congress isn’t helping and with their delays in reauthorizing trade agreements like the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), U.S. companies whose existence rely upon duty-free African imports – whether in fashion, retail, beauty, foodstuffs, or otherwise - are going to start laying off people as the uncertainty with respect to AGOA renewal mounts.

Here’s a snapshot of reasons, recommendations, and how you can support AGOA renewal in 2015.

AGOA renewal is important not only for keeping existing companies in business but also for the expansion of other US companies who find markets within African economies.

A rise in African exports equals increased spending power amongst African consumers, and with President Obama’s export promotion initiative in place, this means that US exports have a greater chance for success when expanding into these foreign markets. 

A growing African labor force could also lead to more stable economies and increase good governance.  With greater economic development and stability, there will be less of an incentive to join radical groups known to be destructive and that pose a threat to the world at large, as there will instead be a viable alternative to have a life with meaning and, hence, a vested interest in creating a common good for society as a whole.

Now is the time to make your voice heard if you want Congress to vote for the reauthorization of the AGOA trade agreement.  Send letters to all of the members of the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee, calling for:

1) The expeditious passage of AGOA
2) Renewal for a term of 15 years
3) Such passage to include all current member states

With this, provide a statement highlighting how economic development and stabilization function as a mechanism to combat terrorism.

The AGOA reauthorization is currently being drafted by Congress, so now is the time to get your letters in and make your voice heard if you want to keep US businesses in business and open up foreign markets to US exports.  

Questions/comments?  Post below or email me at

Keep up with me at or:
On Twitter @fashcompliance

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

A Fashion Compliance Legal Checklist

Have you seen the primer on Fashion Law on Open Source Fashion written by Deanna? 

  Check out this article to get a basic overview of what every startup #fashion business needs to know about!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Supporting AGOA Renewal & Trade With Africa

Whether you like it for US business or for Sub-Saharan African ones, the question that supporters are trying to explain to Washington right now is: 

I’ve been getting a lot of emails lately regarding support for the renewal of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) including a call to action to pledge support for the Act’s re-authorization which is set to expire in September 2015. 

I even found in my Inbox a wonderful piece by Steve Lamar, Executive Vice-President of the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA), which mentioned how the dysfunction in Washington DC (i.e., our wonderful government) is hurting U.S. businesses engaged in international trade with Africa because the delay in AGOA renewal restricts the ability to make viable business projections and decisions about sourcing.  Steve’s op-ed piece can be found here

Lastly, today I found another article written by the folks over at McKinsey & Company chiming in on the growth opportunity in Africa.  You can access their article here.

So with all of the supporters, it begs the question – What is Washington waiting for?

For more on this subject, check out these articles and others I’ve written as well to learn more about the AGOA trade agreement and it’s renewal.

Questions/comments?  Post below or email me at
Keep up with me at or:
On Twitter @fashcompliance

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Celebrity-Worn Haute Couture Dresses Can’t Avoid Customs Duties

US Customs recently decided that no specialty provisions existed to avoid the payment of customs duties, or severely reduce them, on haute couture garments imported by Christian Dior Couture® (CDC).  

According to US Customs, a determination was sought acknowledging that the garments could either qualify

(a) for duty free treatment enter under an A.T.A. carnet as samples

(b) under a Temporary Importation Bond (TIB) as articles not for sale or sale on approval to be repaired, altered or processed, or

(c) for unused merchandise drawback.

Each of these types of treatment would have resulted in preferred duty treatment.

The facts presented with respect to the use of the garments were as follows:

“Christian Dior Couture imports haute couture garments so that they may be furnished to celebrities at no cost to wear at high-profile events, such as the Academy Awards ceremony. The garments serve an important form of advertising for the company because they allow the company to increase its brand awareness and showcase the latest fashions and increase sales.  Once entered into the United States, each piece is fitted to the particular person wearing the haute couture piece so that it may properly display the intended design. Such fittings include hemming, shortening, and/or otherwise altering for the measurements of the person displaying the piece. Only one of each piece will be imported. After exhibition at the event for which the piece was imported, the piece is returned to the company’s U.S. office, and shipped back to the company’s office in Paris, France. During this time, the company does not sell the garments, but retains ownership. The haute couture pieces generally spend no more than a week in the United States.”[1]
Despite these details, Customs claimed that while it did meet the test of being for purposes of soliciting orders, it also served to provide a celebrity with a garment to use to a high-profile event, which is precisely the environment that they are meant to be worn in and in the manner intended.  These therefore, constituted a normal use of the garment, and when you factored in the reality that there was no intention of soliciting orders for the item while being worn, the haute couture did not qualify for entry under an A.T.A. Carnet.

As for qualifying under a TIB, CDC needed the garments to qualify as articles being repaired, altered or processed here in the US and for which would be exported within 1 year from the date of importation.  From CDC’s description of the use of the garments however, it was clear to Customs that the main purpose for importation was something other than for an alteration, repair or processing, and for this reason, it didn’t qualify under a TIB.

Regarding drawback, to qualify for this the garments needed to be exported in the same condition as imported within 3 years from the date of importation, having not been used in the US.  Customs reasoned however, that since the pieces of haute couture were furnished to celebrities for use at a high profile event, that the garments were in fact “used,” and therefore not eligible for duty drawback either.  This is because Customs description of “use” turns on the article being “employed for the purpose for which it was built, which in this case, include[d] celebrities wearing and exhibiting the haute couture pieces at events.” [2]

While there is a special provision does allow women’s wearing apparel to enter duty free for purposes of soliciting orders, it cannot be removed from the importer's establishment for reproducing, copying, painting, sketching, or for any other use by others, nor be used in the importer's establishment for such purposes except by the importer or his employees.

Questions/comments?  Post below or email me at

[1] Customs ruling HQ H251771, 12/16/2014.
[2] Id. Citing HQ h240038 (6/16/14).

Keep up with me at or:
On Twitter @fashcompliance

Monday, January 5, 2015

Eco-Fashion in 2015

Want to know what's on the horizon in 2015 for ECO-FASHION?

Our Deanna together with many of the leading thought makers on sustainable fashion contributed to Ecouterre's 2015 Eco-Fashion Predictions. You can check out the article here: 

Happy reading!