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By: Ivan Castano
“People are very happy with the new administration and the credits will help boost the industry’s competitiveness,” said Drescher, who declined to speculate on whether the financial assistance will help the industry raise the roughly $600 million needed to turn around its fortunes, as WWD previously reported.
“The peso is going to stay competitive enough to boost exports while not choking imports and taxes for small and midsize businesses will drop to 20 percent form 30 percent,” added the executive, who owns fashion brand Jazmin Chebar.
If all goes as planned, the industry should grow to make 157 million pieces in 2020, up 5 percent against this year, when output will decline 3 percent, Drescher claimed.
Some observers, however, noted 2019’s output will likely finish much lower than Drescher’s target.
Basterrechea said the plan’s call for greater financing access and lower taxes will help, though she doesn’t expect overnight success as the new populist team will need time to lift the country from its deep economic downturn.
A key way to bolster the sector’s fortunes will come from resurrecting past export stars such as high-end pullovers or hoodies, premium wool sweaters or leather jackets, which once sold strongly overseas.
“The textiles industry has to revive with a unique identity,” she said. “We have a lot of foreign product [referring to Asian garments] that devalue our product so we need to go back to our roots and bring back traditional products.”
Part of that effort should also include helping battered labels in the Mar del Plata province, a beaten textiles hub, regain their footing. Some of those brands include Casino, Montecarlo, Santista and others that once sold large numbers of fine sweaters.
Some names are getting ahead of the game, hoping to attract U.S. consumers.
These include, for example, Gaucho-Buenos Aires, a high-end leather goods and ready-to-wear label that just launched online in the U.S. after debuting at New York Fashion Week. The firm is using Argentina’s cowboy, or “gaucho,” culture to make leather products with a contemporary twist blending Buenos Aires’ uniqueness and glamour.
The company boasts on its web site that it wants to become the LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton of Latin America, also by selling spirits under its Algodon (cotton) Wine banner. “Our goal is to reintroduce the world to the grandeurs of the city’s elegant past, intertwined with an altogether deeper cultural connection: the strength, honor and integrity of the Gaucho,” it says of Buenos Aires.
Argentina’s weakening peso currency (worth around 60 per dollar) may help Gaucho-Buenos Aires and other firms build export sales.
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