AAFA HONORS INDUSTRY LEADERS DURING 2017 AMERICAN IMAGE AWARDS
(New York, NY) – April 25, 2017 – The American Apparel & Footwear Association welcomed executives and personalities from fashion and retail as it hosted the 39th AAFA American Image Awards. Emceed by award winning actor Alan Cumming, the event celebrated innovation and leadership throughout the apparel and footwear industry. Celebrated at historic 583 Park Avenue, the event benefited the Fashion Manufacturing Initiative, a program within the Council of Fashion Designers of America Foundation that nurtures and supports domestic production, connecting fashion designers to local manufacturing.
The AAFA American Image Awards celebrated: Andrew Rosen, Founder and CEO of Theory (Person of the Year); Marc Fisher Footwear (Company of the Year), accepted by Marc Fisher and Susan Itzkowitz; Stuart Vevers of Coach, Inc. (Designer of the Year); Nick Graham (Fashion Maverick); and Ed Nardoza (Lifetime Achievement Award).
“A true partner to the fashion industry, AAFA’s passion for influencing fashion and business were on full display at the American Image Awards. It is our opportunity to recognize the best of the best and to give back to the industry,” said Rick Helfenbein, president and CEO of the American Apparel & Footwear Association. “Last night brought together an exceptional group of personalities and professionals, all while supporting our industry.”
“Collaboration is essential during these uncertain times, and the American Image Awards showcases the many stakeholders that are essential to make the industry a success,” saidPaula Zusi, chairman of the American Apparel & Footwear Association. “It was an honor to be able to bring all of these influencers together to recognize the best in the industry.”
Highlights of the evening included a moving speech from Nick Graham, known as “Chief Underpants Officer” of Joe Boxer, who spoke about changing the face of fashion when he turned an underwear company into one of America’s most popular lifestyle brands. Guests were treated to an encouraging speech from Marc Fisher and Susan Itzkowitz of Marc Fisher Footwear, one of the best-known “PAIRS” in the footwear industry. Stuart Vevers, Executive Creative Director of Coach Inc., engaged the audience with his inspiring work and brand transformations. Andrew Rosen, recognized as a major contributor to American Fashion, discussed his passion for design and creating opportunities for the next generation of American fashion designers. A round of enthusiastic applause erupted as Ed Nardoza, former WWD Editor-in-Chief, took to the stage and was recognized for his lifetime of work and dedication to covering and supporting the fashion industry.
A star-studded gathering of designers, fashion executives, and celebrities came together to celebrate the honorees. Kenneth Cole (who introduced Andrew Rosen), Ruthie Davis,Norma Kamali (who introduced Ed Nardoza), Stan Herman, Jeffrey Banks, Cynthia Rowley, Michelle Smith, and Stacey Bendet Eisner, along with retail executives fromNeiman Marcus, Macy’s, Bloomingdales, TJX, Burlington, QVC, and Ross were in attendance. The event also drew stars from the world of entertainment including Emma Roberts, Evan Peters, Camren Bicondova, and Bill Nye “The Science Guy.” Models and fashion influencers included Nikki Taylor, Natalie Suarez, Dylana Suarez, and Dilone.
“The CFDA and AAFA are aligned on efforts to support the fashion and apparel industry,” said Steven Kolb, President and CEO of the CFDA. “Thanks to the AAFA and all those who attended last night, the CFDA will be able to further expand the Fashion Manufacturing Initiative (FMI) and build a more extensive ecosystem of manufacturing throughout the entire city of New York.”
Representing more than 1,000 world famous name brands, the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) is the trusted public policy and political voice of the apparel and footwear industry, its management and shareholders, its four million U.S. workers, and its contribution of $361 billion in annual U.S. retail sales. AAFA stands at the forefront as a leader of positive change for the apparel and footwear industry and delivers a unified voice on key legislative and regulatory issues. AAFA enables a collaborative forum to promote best practices and innovation. AAFA’s comprehensive work ensures the continued success and growth of the apparel and footwear industry, its suppliers, and its customers.
The Fashion Manufacturing Initiative (FMI) is a program of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) Foundation (a 501©3 organization) in partnership with the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC). FMI was created to nurture, elevate, and preserve garment production in New York City, ultimately connecting fashion designers to local manufacturing. The program includes: FMI Grant Fund offering matching grants to facilities committed to improving their services through innovation and technology; Apparel Skills Training Courses to generate a stronger workforce; a New York City Production Database on CFDA.com; and ongoing professional development sessions, industry events and collaborative partnerships.