AAFA Adopts "We Wear" Brand Identity

The American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) unveiled a new brand identity at its semi-annual Board of Directors meeting in Washington, D.C. AAFA’s new “We Wear” brand identity will allow the Association to clearly communicate who the industry is, what the industry does, and why the industry’s work is important to the U.S. and global economy. The name of the association remains unchanged.
“The U.S. apparel and footwear industry has a compelling story to tell, and our new ‘We Wear’ brand identity will help us tell it in a concise way, and in a way that ties together our entire organization,” said AAFA President and CEO Kevin M. Burke. “When Americans get dressed each day, we put on more than clothes and shoes. We wear jobs, our economy, innovation, intellectual property, global markets, and much more. That is exactly how we have translated our new brand identity.”
“Hardworking American families spent more than $340 billion on new clothes and shoes at retail last year,” Burke said. “When consumers buy clothes and shoes, they support more than four million U.S. jobs across our industry’s supply chain. This powerful information will help drive the conversations we have with government decision makers here in Washington. With our new brand identity, our elected officials will not easily forget the significant impact that clothes and shoes play in our lives, and in our economy.”
Over the past year, AAFA has researched and developed a stronger way to define and express the value proposition AAFA delivers to the industry from Washington, D.C. By doing so, the “We Wear” brand will improve AAFA’s overall effectiveness in Washington as the leading advocate of the U.S. apparel and footwear industry.
Goals of the new brand
At its core, the “We Wear” brand aims to highlight AAFA’s critical mass and achieve successes in Washington on behalf of the industry. This includes seeking legislation that opens new markets to increased trade in a way that understands the industry’s 21st-century business model, aggressively protecting U.S. brands’ intellectual property, reducing regulatory burdens that do not promote competitiveness in the global market, and seeking opportunities to strengthen the Berry Amendment for domestic manufacturers who outfit U.S. servicemen and women.
What happens in the industry's showrooms, design studios, distribution centers, factories, and retail outlets is truly important to the overall health of the industry. But, the many of decisions the industry makes are the result of some action or decision that was made in Washington, D.C.
By better communicating AAFA’s critical mass, AAFA will show our elected officials that the U.S. apparel and footwear industry truly impacts the entire economic health of the United States and that the industry makes a valuable contribution to the global economy. Through all of this, the overriding goal is to drive the industry forward by reducing regulatory strangulation, creating increased opportunity for the industry to participate in the global marketplace, and maintaining the ability to keep customers and products at the forefront.
Consumer-driven market share
When compared to other consumer industries, AAFA represents one of the largest consumer segments. For instance, each year, American consumers spend nearly $2.5 billion on deodorant and $15 billion on bottled water. They spend $20 billion on video games, $75 billion on fast food, and $130 billion on soda. They spend more than $340 billion on clothes and shoes – more than seven times what it costs to run the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The industry even outpaces the sales of new cars which account for around $175 billion each year.
Well-paying industry jobs
In terms of employment, the U.S. apparel and footwear industry directly employs more than four million U.S. workers. These important jobs includes industry executives, textile mill workers, sourcing managers, wholesalers, retail floor associates, technical designers, and marketing professionals, just to name a few. The industry also supports countless other U.S. industries, like the more than 37,000 transportation jobs it requires to move products from the port to the sales floor and the 235,000 dry cleaning jobs required to maintain and protect the industry’s quality product.
And these are well-paying jobs. According to an AAFA/24Seven, Inc. survey conducted earlier this year, the median salary across the entire industry supply chain is $70,000. According the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average hourly earnings for a worker in a U.S. apparel factory is $11.82 per hour. The average hourly earnings for a worker in a U.S. apparel or footwear brand is $25.28 per hour and the average hourly earnings for a worker in the retail side of the apparel and footwear business is $14.38 per hour. Likewise, the average hourly earnings for a worker in transportation and logistics, a key link in the apparel and footwear supply chain, is $21.74 per hour.
What to expect
In early November, AAFA will roll out a new Web site that is fully-integrated to improve the way the AAFA communicates with the industry and the way the industry communicates with Washington. Throughout the upcoming year, AAFA will also release new statistics and data points to reinforce the positive economic impact the industry has on the U.S. and global economy. AAFA is also planning to produce new tools, resources, and educational programs that will help the industry compete around the world.
Little-known apparel and footwear facts
While the United States accounts for one-quarter of total global apparel and footwear retail sales, the United States accounts for just five percent of the world’s population. Global growth is a top priority for the industry.
The U.S. military spends more than $2 billion each year on military apparel and footwear for U.S. servicemen and women around the world. It is the domestic apparel and footwear industry that produces these products under the Berry Amendment.
In 2010, U.S. consumers bought 20.5 billion garments and 2.3 billion pairs of shoes. Americans spent more than $1,100 on 68 new garments and 8 pairs of shoes, on average. Ninety-nine percent of the footwear and 98 percent of the apparel sold in the U.S. are produced globally.

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