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CAFTA Fails Guatemala 
Page 1

Lucky Bags
Page 1

Google Bans Pampered Passion Ad
Page 1

38 Feet of Underwear
Page 2


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The American Red Cross

  January 1, 2008                                        Issue #208


11/24

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CAFTA Fails Guatemala
Guatemala's apparel and textiles industry has lost 10,842 jobs this year as falling exports to the US triggered the closure of 35 textiles mills, despite a highly controversial Central American Free Trade Agreement.
Critics say that the free trade deal is failing to benefit Guatemala, Central America's largest economy. 
Exports fell 11.3% in the January-October period to EUR1.157bn (US$1.67bn), down from EUR1.305bn in the same 2006 period, a local newspaper reported, quoting data from top trade lobby Guatemalan Apparel and Textile Industry Commission (Vestex). Consequently, Guatemala lost 9.28% of its export market share to the US to 1.65% compared to 2.2% in 2006. 
Industry observers said the industry's decline is do to competition from Asian countries, particularly China, Vietnam and Bangladesh, which make cheaper products than Guatemala. An uncompetitive exchange rate and higher energy prices are also hurting the industry, despite producers´ efforts to transform their businesses into suppliers of fast, "full package" apparel.
Vestex officials were quoted as saying that Guatemala is increasing fabric and raw material exports to its block neighbors which are then exporting the finished product to the US. During the 17th Annual Apparel Sourcing Show, Vertex's general manager, Carla Caballeros, said she expected CAFTA to show its full benefits in 2010, once the industry has restructured to benefit from the free trade accord.


24/24  

Wacoal Takes Full Control 
      of Peach John
Major Japanese lingerie maker Wacoal has bought up smaller rival mail order underwear brand Peach John. 
Wacoal, holding 45% of Peach John's shares previously, now takes full control of Peach John Co through an equity swap.
Wacoal, with its strong reputation for quality, is the leading lingerie brand in Japan and is found in almost every department store in Japan. Wacoal Holdings and Peach John plan to launch new products within the next six months while maintaining the current management team.
Peach John was started by a mother of four in 1994 as a small mail-order company importing American lingerie with her now ex-husband. 
The brand posted profits of US$8m last year by focusing on the younger end of the market which prompted the interest of market leader Wacoal. The new owners say they will not be changing the brand's raunchy image for now.


7/24   

Google Bans Pampered 
           Passion Ad

Google has banned ads from US lingerie retailer Pampered Passions after deeming them “too sexy” for the UK and European market.
The offending ads were part of Pampered Passions’ campaign inviting men to buy sexy lingerie for their girlfriends for Christmas.
The suggestive saucy tone and the mild nudity in the images has proved too much for Google who have refused to allow the ads to be shown on their network. 
According to a Google representative, “The ad has been disapproved for [its] adult content. Only family safe images will be approved. Images which are classified as non-family safe or adult content are disapproved and will not run. [The] image contains nudity and mature themes.”
However, Director of Pampered Passion, John Vargo, said that despite Google being seen as ‘cool’ and ‘liberal’ in their home country, their policies on advertising standards were rather conservative for European consumers.
He added, “Google’s refusal to show ads that are completely acceptable to UK audiences on their network is turning out to be an increasingly frequent occurrence. 
“An outright ban on ads no ruder than a Christmas cracker joke and featuring less flesh than a swimwear catalogue seems pretty ‘uncool’ to us.”


4/24              Photographed by Lawrence O. Brown

                   
               Lucky Bags
At the end of each year, department stores in Japan offer what they call lucky bags sales to their customers.
The equivalent of GBP50 (US$99.1) gets you a large a sealed bag that could contain boring socks or, if lucky, designer wear. 
This year the Takashimaya Department Store in Tokyo has come up with a super lucky bag for GBP1m.
Naturally, as with more down-market lucky bags you are not to know what it contains until you hand over the cash. But it is sure to match the more than 2,000 diamonds including a massive, pear-shaped, 8-karat diamond that adorns the platinum covered purse. 
The buyer will need an awful lot of curiosity, the cost of satisfying which will surely go down in fashion history.



9/12
Playtex's Post-Surgery Bra
The first bra for women recovering from breast cancer surgery has been created.
Playtex said its post-surgery bras were designed with full cups to conceal scarring. 
The garment is part of the brand's new Cross Your Heart porcelain range. 
It has internal cotton pockets designed to hold prosthetics. 
A Playtex spokesman said: "Playtex is proud to unveil a bra which will provide comfort and support to thousands of women across the country, helping them to feel and look great."
The new post-surgery bras come in sizes 34 to 42 in cups B to D.


2/3
              Flight Socks
Japan has taken to compression hosiery, or 'flight socks', in a big way and it is not just frequent fliers who are snapping them up. 
Domestic demand for such socks and stockings is reckoned to have already reached US$88.3m in line with worldwide sales which have been raising steadily since the mid-90s. That was when the benefits of anti-thrombosis, so called economy class syndrome, socks became more widely acknowledged.
The latest boost in sales came from a change in marketing, with Pip-Fujimoto promoting its stockings as an outdoor fashion item. Previously such socks used to be seen as home or in flightwear. The firm's domestic market share is now 50%. Other makers have been quick to follow while also emphasizing the sock's support and shaping ability.
   
 
                             
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