Stand Fed up with foreign companies
ﬂooding the market with counterfeit
gowns and dresses, some of the
formalwear industry’s biggest names
are taking their ﬁght to federal court
ounterfeiting in the global marketplace is nothing
new. Our history books trace the act as an affront to
the American economy as far back as 1889, when
English companies exported cotton goods bearing
U.S. company logos and trademarks to other coun-
tries and continents, because there was a standard to be upheld.
However, the illegal act hurt companies then and it’s certainly
hurting companies now. Industries from coast-to-coast are seeing
revenue and subsequent job losses at alarming rates, with foreign
companies inundating the bridal, prom and formalwear markets
with poorly made phony gowns.
Now, though, a growing group of industry leaders and icons is
taking this ﬁght to federal court, as the companies responsible for
these counterfeit items are being dragged into the light and ex-
posed as criminals. Steve Lang, President and CEO of Mon
Cheri, is one of those leaders taking charge and ﬁghting for his
industry’s rightful success. So far, it’s looking like the American
Bridal and Prom Industry Association is a true force to be reck-
C Pageantry magazine: What is the American Bridal and
Prom Industry Association all about?
Steve Lang: The association is a combination of manufacturers,
retailers, apparel marts, magazines—basically, it’s anybody in the
supply chain that represents the women’s and men’s formal wear
industry. We started this association to better the industry, to make
it better not just for the manufacturers but for the retailers and ul-
timately the consumers. It has been in existence for about a year
and we’re picking up more and more members every single day of
the week, and we’re thrilled about it.
PM: What is the premise behind this association?
SL: The premise has multiple platforms. One of the major plat-
forms that we’re working on right now is educating the industry
and the consumers about the rampant counterfeiting that’s going
on, mainly in China. There are factories over there that are weakly
copying dresses that are made by manufacturers, such as Tony
Bowls, one of my major brands, and they are basically cheating the
American consumer. They’re making very poor copies, and they’re
not paying taxes or duties when the goods come into the country.
They’re basically not only copying our goods, which is illegal,
but they’re also violating American Customs and tax laws. Any-
body who buys one of these dresses is subject to having to pay the
penalties and the ﬁnes if U.S. Customs ﬁnds out that they know-
ingly bought counterfeit items. It’s illegal. If you knowingly buy
counterfeit, you have a problem.
PM: You touched on this before, but what kind of companies
are involved in the ABPIA?
SL: It’s all of the major manufacturers, boutiques, and sales asso-
ciates involved in the industry, and it’s also right down to anyone
who is in the supply chain. We’re going beyond just ﬁghting this
counterfeiting issue overseas. We are also working to bring nation-
al health insurance to the industry, and the better scheduling of
markets for the retailers who come to market to see the products
that they sell to the consumer. It’s about better education for the
retailers and how they can better educate their customers on the
product and the choices out there. It’s a full “a la carte” assortment
of activities that we’re working on, and the industry really needed
an association, some central point for the major powers-that-be so
they can come together and do a better job for the retailers.
PM: And of course the major crux is the counterfeiting in the
industry. Is counterfeiting that pervasive? Is it something that
we should all be concerned with?
SL: It’s terrible. In our industry, 500,000 units came into the Unit-