Headquartered in Arlington-Virginia, American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) is the national trade association representing apparel, footwear and other sewn products companies and their suppliers, which compete in the global market and whose combined industries account for more than $225 billion in yearly retail sales. AAFA members also produce more than 80 percent of apparel and footwear sold at wholesale each year in the United States. AAFA members manufacture and market all types of apparel and footwear and are located in virtually every state, as well as internationally. Mr Kevin Burke is the President and Chief Executive Officer of AAFA, since 2001. Mr Burke is a career government relations professional with more than 25 years of experience in Washington. He previously served five years as Vice President, government relations, for the Food Distributors International. From 1987 to 1995, Burke was Vice President of government relations for the American Bakers Association. Before that, Mr Burke managed the government relations office of the National Association of Broadcasters. This role included coordinating visits by association member executives with Members of Congress, as well as fundraising and advocating on behalf of members to lawmakers and the administration. Mr Burke also worked as a legislative assistant, and later, press secretary to Representative Norm Lent (R-NY). He began his career in 1979 at the Republican National Committee and the Reagan-Bush Presidential Campaign. He currently serves on the Boards of the American Apparel Education Foundation, Boys Hope Girls Hope, the Congressional Institute, the Fashion Institute of Technology’s Educational Foundation for the Fashion Industries, the International Apparel Federation, Kids In Distressed Situations, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s National Chamber Foundation. He is also a member of various political and trade association CEO groups in the Washington, DC area. Mr Burke received a Master’s degree in Public Administration in 1983 from the American University in Washington DC. He also holds a Bachelor’s degree from the State University of New York at Brockport. Married, with two children, Mr Burke resides in Great Falls, VA, and enjoys golf, biking and running. In a tête-à-tête with Face2Face team, Mr Kevin Burke paints larger picture of apparel and footwear industry in present times. He also shares about the activities of AAFA in welfar
It has been eight years since the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) was established as a national body in welfare of these sectors. Can you list the activities/services it device to achieve the rationale behind its origin?
The American Apparel & Footwear Association was formed in August 2000 through the merger of two highly regarded trade associations: the American Apparel and Manufacturers Association and Footwear Industries of America. These organizations also went through previous mergers and acquisitions. If traced back, you’ll find the Association is actually more than 75 years old.
Drawing from a broad, strong membership base, AAFA is the national trade association representing apparel, footwear, and other sewn products companies, which compete in the global marketplace. AAFA primarily serves its membership in two ways: education and advocacy. We are the go-to resource for the industry, as well as the industry’s voice on Capitol Hill and around the world.
Being with AAFA, what all benefits do its members enjoy?
Members join for many different reasons, but they all look to us as a leader in education and advocacy. They join to gain influence in legislative and regulatory process, as well as for access to cutting-edge seminars to keep them ahead of their competition. We also offer productive networking opportunities, industry leading publications, corporate development and visibility, and exclusive discounts and services.
To better understand current milieu in global apparel and footwear industry in melting economy, we would request your comments.
The apparel and footwear industry are facing a challenging economic landscape, like all industries today. Our members have weathered storms like this before, and will thrive once again. Right now, we are helping our membership learn how to streamline their business and ways to be more efficient, while also finding regulatory or legislative solutions where applicable.
DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of Fibre2Fashion.com.