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US Bridal Gown and Special Occasion Industry Unifies to Oppose Tariffs

Bridal gown and special occasion trade organizations unite to oppose the listing of wedding and social occasion attire on the Section 301 list released May 13 by the United States Trade Representative.

The proposed tariff on this bridal attire segment would increase consumer costs, damage the US bridal industry, and put jobs and consumer confidence at risk resulting in economic consequences for decades to come. Organizations representing US bridal retail and manufacturing include: the American Bridal and Prom Industry Association, Better Bridal Group, International Bridal Manufacturers Association, National Bridal Retailers Association, National Bridal Sale Event, Vows Magazine, and the International Formalwear Association.

"These tariffs could represent a "dire event" as we have such limited time and locations to relocate production. Ruining the 2.5 million weddings, all the proms and other happy events in the country would be such an unjustified price to pay," states Stephen Lang, President, American Bridal and Prom Industry Association. Adding a 25% tariff in addition to the already 16% duty required on these dress imports will significantly increase prices and hurt American families celebrating cherished lifetime moments – a wedding, prom, graduation, birthday or anniversary.

"Supporting women whether they are our customers, employees, designers or part of our local community, is the core mission of our family owned business. We cannot meet the needs of our customers with exorbitant price increases due to the tariffs, which will negatively affect our ability to run a business that supports the women we employ, and the charities we contribute to each year," Lynn Crandall, Owner, The Bridal Collection (Denver, CO). 

  • The US bridal and special occasion retail industry is comprised of approximately 6,500 independently owned bridal salons. Many are generationally owned, women-owned or community driven.

  • The number of brick and mortar bridal salons has risen 16% over the last 5 years and contributes toward a $2B US bridal gown industry that employs tens of thousands across the US.

  • The proposed tariff would reverse industry growth and create closures due to increased wholesale prices, weakened consumer confidence and significant job losses.

The tariffs on US imports from China undermine US manufacturers as components and expertise for intricately made garments is not economically available in the US.

  • As consumers demanded more unique and embellished gowns it became economically impossible to produce in the United States at competitive prices.

  • No other countries can offer the same quantity of gowns and materials for the industry to adapt and move production fast enough to avoid massive destruction to our industry.

  • Bridal salons and manufacturers collectively will suffer economic hardship as they cannot go back and raise prices on their customers to cover the cost of the tariff for orders in current production and awaiting shipment to US.

Adding a tariff to these imports only widens the door for duty-free counterfeit goods from China, defeating the purpose of the Administration's intention.

  • The proposed 25% tariff will help Chinese corporate counterfeiters and copyright infringers.

  • These illicit Asian companies use USPS "E-packet" loopholes to ship illegitimate goods sold on-line and cause the US to lose millions in uncollected duties, postage fees and sales taxes.

  • This hurts hardworking, law-abiding American brick and mortar stores and cheats our local, state and federal government out of revenue and US jobs.  

Adding the tariff will only exacerbate this very real problem and give Chinese corporate counterfeiters and copyright violators the advantage while harming our American industry.

All seven organizations respectfully urge the Administration to reconsider the tariff on bridal gown and special occasion attire to avoid an irreversible consequence for our industry and American families.

Bruce Campbell, President International Bridal Manufacturers Assoc.

Stephen Lang, President - American Bridal and Prom Industry Assoc.

Sue Maslowski, Founder - National Bridal Sale Event

Ann Campeau, Director - National Bridal Retailers Assoc.

Michelle McFarland, President - Better Bridal Group      

Peter Grimes, Publisher - Vows Magazine

Kellie Burch, Director - International Formalwear Assoc./Select Independent Formalwear Assoc.

SOURCE International Bridal Manufacturers Association



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