Giorgio Gucci Visits Capitol Hill To Protest Counterfeit Trade and Distribution
Giorgio Gucci made his first visit to Washington yesterday as part of a forum discussion entitled "Intellectual Property Rights in the Fashion Industry and Its Effects on Our Nation's Economy." Gucci, descendant of the famous Gucci dynasty, is the third generation of Gucci heirs that began with his grandfather, Guccio, who established the Gucci House of design in 1905. Panelists included Caroyl Miller, deputy textile negotiator from the U.S. Trade Representative Office, Jean Bonilla, director of the Office of Intellectual Property Enforcement and Steve Hicks, director of trade policy and agreement at the office of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
The forum was jointly hosted by the Greater Washington Fashion Chamber of Commerce, a trade association for Washington's fashion industry, and Representative Diane E. Watson (D-CA). Panelists discussed two bills being circulated on the House and Senate sides that would impose stricter regulations on the production and distribution of counterfeit goods as well as the current actions U.S. agencies are taking to stop the trade and sale of such products.
"Survival in fashion is dependent on [designers] being able to produce creative, individual materials," said Rep. Watson, who represents the red carpet-rich district that includes Hollywood.
Gucci spoke passionately against the trade, calling it a "terrible business [that is] ruining the economy ... and promoting child slavery."
Panelists urged audience members, many of whom were staffers tasked by their Members to attend the session, to help promote the two bills, arguing that counterfeit production leads to child endangerment (due to unregulated child labor), possible terrorism (as black market money is put into the wrong hands) and organized crime as a result of the trade of the goods.
"The people who are exploiting the work of others have no conscience," said Gucci, who also spoke directly to the women in attendance, saying that "all women want nice things ... so I understand how tempting it is ... but any woman who carries a copy is hurting other women." He also directly addressed the men in the audience, saying that if they loved their women, they would buy only the "real thing." This statement elicited strong applause from the crowd.
Known for his Giorgio G brand of clothing, accessories and now cognac, Gucci is celebrating his tenth year in business with a week-long trip to the United States. He will be in New York City on September 29 to launch and auction his cognacs at the Taj hotel.
[Image courtesy of Kate Michael]