Facing what they feel is unfair competition since the quota system that used to limit textile and apparel imports into WTO countries was obliterated in 2005, kids apparel manufacturers in Europe are banding together under a new trade umbrella. Children’s Fashion Europe launched in 2005 and currently counts roughly 50 companies from Spain, Italy, France and Portugal among its members. In May, the group lobbied for assistance from the European Union to promote its members’ skills and assets worldwide.
‘We’re trying to protect European manufacturing in this sector because it has been threatened by the low-cost product coming from other countries,’ says international relations director Alexandra Curatalo from CFE’s headquarters in Valencia, Spain. She adds that the association also aims to institute EU rules and regulations on children’s health and safety issues, employment conditions, environmental protection, standardization and adopting trade barriers and non-compliance sanctions.
In terms of promoting the high quality of European children’s clothing abroad, CFE members get premium access to exhibition space at FIMI: The International Children’s and Young People’s Fashion Fair (Valencia, July), Salon Internacional de Puericultura: The International Baby & Child Care Fair (Valencia, January), CPM KIDS (Moscow, September) and the first-ever exclusive European trade fair in Dubai this June. Children’s Fashion Europe has also negotiated reduced ad rates with fashion magazines including Vogue Bambini, Collezioni Bambini and Kidswear.
Going-forward plans involve supporting members with legal advice, participating in research and development studies, and exclusive access to a database of non-Euro retailers, commercial agents and international fairs.