With only four major fashion capitals in the world — London, New York, Milan, and Paris — it goes without saying that most designers showing on-schedule during Fashion Week are working in a city that they were not born in. Indeed, in the US, immigrants make up a significant part of the fashion workforce, with 20% of retail workers lacking official, documented status, according to a new report.
In light of Trump's proposed immigration policies, it is these workers, from seamstresses to tailors, that are in high risk of deportation — as are young creatives entering the country to study at one of the US's prestigious design schools. Not only will this stunt the creativity and innovation that these workers and designers have to offer, it will have a huge economic impact on the industry, which makes up a $250 billion chunk of the US economy.
Clearly the situation needs to change, which is why the CFDA has teamed up with immigration reform organization FWD.us to conduct a report on the effects of the current immigration policy on the US fashion industry. Commissioned back in January, today CFDA presidents Steven Kolb and Diane von Furstenberg (herself an immigrant) have released their findings, which strongly suggest that these immigration laws are extremely out-dated and must be reformed, pronto. The CFDA's proposed changes include creating start-up visas for foreign-born business leaders, expanding on existing student visas so that foreign students are able to remain in the country after their studies (having passed rigorous background checks).
Basically, if America wants to maintain its reputation as a melting pot for some of the most exciting young designers, the most esteemed established designers, and the most dedicated workers, it needs to sort its immigration situation out right now. Got that, Trump?
Text Tish Weinstock