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Trade associations in the fashion industries


Trade associations in the fashion industries are organizations founded and funded by companies and/or organizations in specific industry sectors and are established to promote their industry sectors, advocate for legislation that benefits the industry, conduct market research, sponsor trade shows, and develop and distribute educational materials related to their industry sector (Figure 1.19a).

Trade associations can be found in the sectors of the fashion industries and around the world.

Figure 1.19a: Trade associations sponsor trade shows where the newest technologies are presented and demonstrated.
Some focus on industry sectors within a specific country; whereas others have members from multiple countries. Trade associations in the textile industry, including Cotton Incorporated, the American Wool Council, the Mohair Council of America, and the Cashmere and Camel Hair Manufacturers Institute (CCMI), are supported by natural-fiber producers and promote the use of natural fibers through activities such as research, educational programs, and advertising on television, and in trade and consumer publications (Figure 1.19b).
Figure 1.19b: Cotton Incorporated is a trade association that supports the cotton industry including the use of the cotton trademark.
Through these activities, natural-fiber trade associations have become an important support arm for the fashion industries, and strong relationships have developed between the trade associations and the companies that use natural fibers. The National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) has a broader mission:
It represents the entire spectrum of the textile sector, including fiber producers, textile mills, and other textile suppliers. The NCTO is highly involved with lobbying efforts in Washington, DC, on the behalf of the US textile industry.
For the RTW industry, one of the largest trade associations in the United States is the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA). Representatives of member companies and other professionals in the industry are active in AAFA committees and policy advocacy around three current priorities: brand protection, supply chain compliance, and international trade.
The UK Fashion and Textile Association (UKFT) is composed of over 2,500 companies representing all aspects of the British fashion and textiles industries, including designers, manufacturers, agents, and retailers. The European Apparel and Textile Confederation (EUROTEX) is a consortium of federations within the European Union focused on promoting the textile and clothing industries, conducting research, and providing support for companies engaged in sustainable production and free and fair trade.
The Asian Fashion Federation (AFF) is a consortium of six countries (China, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam) whose mission is to promote the Asian fashion industry and enhance trade. Other trade associations focus their efforts on specific sectors of the fashion industry, such as textiles, design, accessories, and retail, to name just a few.
For more information on the selected trade associations in the global fashion industry please refer to the attached table available for download below.

The next step discusses a case study on the historical context of fashion brands.

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Fashion and the Global Supply Chain

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