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Americas Apparel Producers' Network (AAPN) Guest Speakers Visit FIDM

Last week, students in the Advanced Study Menswear program were given a unique opportunity to present their design concepts in person to fashion industry executives for feedback: Tony Anzovino, SVP Chief Sourcing & Merchandising Officer, Haggar; Rick Horwitch, Chief of Supply Chain & Sustainability Strategies, Bureau Veritas; Jon Day, Global Business Development Manager, Sustainability, Avery Dennison; and Keith Dartley, President, Swisstex Direct. Later that afternoon, the guests held a round table discussion with students in the Apparel Industry Management and Merchandise Product Development programs about the concepts of circularity, sustainability, and traceability.

The students were very interested in sustainability and as they discussed the topic with the industry veterans, it came up that fashion brands must be careful when making sustainability claims. They had a group discussion about the fact that Kohl's and Wal-Mart were fined $5.5 million last year by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for deceptive claims. Some items advertised by the global retailers as bamboo were actually made of rayon.

The guests touched on the important topic of circular fashion, explaining that circularity challenges the fashion industry to close the loop on production, including responsible manufacturing, use, and end-of-life for every garment. The idea is to build an industry that designs products to be used more, made to be made again, and made from safe and recycled or renewable components.

One aspect of the circular economy is traceability which they explained as the ability to track the supply chain from raw material to finished product. Traceability is knowing where and how every single part of a garment was made. Only by truly tracking recycled content in the circular supply chain can a company support its recycling claims. 

After the Menswear students presented their design concepts, the executives offered their industry feedback on color palettes and brand names, among other things. The Menswear students are in their second quarter of the 9-month program and will have completed sketches of their collections by the end of spring quarter on March 20.

On March 2, the Menswear students travel to the Dominican Republic for an 11-day study tour, visiting factories including CODVEVI and Grupo M textile manufacturer, Gildan Activewear Dominican Republic Textile Company, and Wacoal. The program culminates in June where the cohort will be celebrated as they show three complete looks at an industry reception on campus, June 8.

Roni Miller, Department Chair of FIDM’s Apparel Industry Management and Menswear Programs, is networked with the executives through the professional organization Americas Apparel Producers' Network (AAPN). 

First established in 1981 as the American Apparel Contractors Association (AACA) by Don Strickland in Atlanta, today’s Americas Apparel Producers’ Network (AAPN) has adapted and innovated to become a significant network of diverse members that make up the apparel supply chain. Throughout its history, AAPN’s leadership has acknowledged, adapted and led change initiatives facilitating the effectiveness of its members.

Students interested in learning more about FIDM's programs in Advanced Study Menswear, Apparel Industry Management, or Merchandise Product Development are invited to attend Spring Open House at the FIDM Campus in Los Angeles on April 15, 2023, and meet Department Chairs Roni Miller and Eva Gilbert. Register to attend.

Categories:  Apparel Industry Management Menswear Merchandise Product Development Industry Partnerships Student