THIS ARTICLE WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON THE MEDIUM WEBSITE ON 20 MARCH 2019.
The American designer is set to take helm of the Council of Fashion Designers of America
After a three-year search to replace Diane von Furstenberg, American fashion designer Tom Ford accepts the appointment and will take over chairman duties for the CFDA in June of this year. For those not familiar with the organization, The Council of Fashion Designers of America is a not-for-profit trade association, founded in 1962 by noted publicist Eleanor Lambert, whose “membership consists of more than 500 of America’s foremost womenswear, menswear, jewelry and accessory designers.”
The organization also owns the illustrious Fashion Calendar and is responsible for staging the menswear portion of New York Fashion Week, as well as host the annual CFDA Fashion Awards. More importantly, the CFDA is committed to promoting emerging American designers through its foundation fund of the same name.
In a congratulatory Instagram post on the Tom Ford brand page, the company included the following quote by Ford:
“I have had the privilege of being a member of the American Fashion community for many years and have experienced what the CFDA does for its members and the industry as a whole. Having lived and worked in each of the global fashion capitals of the world, I look forward to working with the Board of Directors to further the voice of American Fashion and its designers.”
As the new chairman of the organization, Ford joins an impressive panel of sitting board members including Co-Vice Chairmen Michael Kors and Marcus Wainwright, Treasurer Mimi So, and General Secretary Vera Wang.
Reaction on social media ranged from excitement to minor concerns.
Personal stylist and academic advisor, Christina Ingrassia, wrote on her Facebook page, “Hallelujah and A — to the freaking — Men,” she added, “Can’t wait to see what he does with this place.”
On Twitter, Gary Wassner, fashion entrepreneur, expressed concern about Ford working remotely from Los Angeles: “By now everyone in fashion knows that Tom Ford will be the new chairperson of CFDA. LA based. What will this mean to NY and NYFW?”
Fashion critic Vanessa Friedman chimed in with her perspective via an article teaser:
In a celebratory tweet, exiting chairwoman Diane von Furstenberg shared the news via a candid photo of Tom Ford with the words “I DO” drawn over it for good measure.
“When I came in they needed a mother. Now they need a statesman,” von Furstenberg said in an interview with The Business of Fashion. “What I think is great about Tom, a designer that all designers respect and admire, is that he’s a global person [who has helped build] large companies.”
Indeed, in the same article with BoF, Ford expressed one of his priorities as the new chairman:
“What American fashion needs to become in order to be more relevant in the world is to think of itself as not just American but as international.”
This sentiment seams up perfectly with the organization’s mission to “strengthen the impact of American fashion in the global economy.”
As for his predecessor? In an interview with CFDA News’ Marc Karimzadeh, Ford said, “As the Chairman, I look forward to continuing the incredible work Diane has done over the last 13 years.”
He added, “Diane is a true force and her contribution to the CFDA and to American fashion immeasurable. We all owe her a great deal.”