2020 was a year like no other.
COVID-19 created significant challenges for the fashion industry, threatening the survival of many businesses. We also experienced the emotional toll of systematic racism in our country and were called out for the inequalities that exist in our industry.
At the same time, 2020 proved just how strong and resilient we are as people, as an industry, and as a country.
With empathy and action, CFDA rose to the challenges.
We immediately refocused all 2020 plans and programs to provide support and resources to those impacted by the pandemic. The CFDA and Vogue raised $5 million for A Common Thread and gave relief grants to designers, small retailers, and factories. We supported the production and distribution of PPE materials. We retooled our supply chain program with new offerings. We provided business-focused webinars and shared Industry Insights to address the time-sensitive issues. Working with allies in Washington, we lobbied Congress for inclusion in the CARES Act, and CFDA.com became a valuable resource hub for real-time information and advice.
The CFDA Board of Directors addressed the inequalities that exist for Black and brown creatives and professionals in fashion – starting with the establishment of a Black Advisory Board to guide the organization’s efforts, which will include a best-in-class talent directory, paid mentorship/apprenticeship programs, and data-focused research as a base for change.
With the establishment of RUNWAY360, the CFDA’s new digital platform for presenting collections, and the findings and recommendations from our study with Boston Consulting Group on the environmental impact of NYFW, our organization continues to lead the reinvention of Fashion Week.
This important work continues in 2021 with determination. Member support remains an important focus as we continue to build on the benefits of being a CFDA Member and work to ensure greater representation. The new year also marks the 25th Anniversary of the CFDA’s Scholarship program, with plans for increased support for students, CFDA.com will receive an update and content on the site, as well as on our social channels, will continue to focus on news and stories about the CFDA, our Members, and the industry at large.
I am personally starting the New Year full of hope and excited for new opportunities. I hope you are too.
All my best,
Chief Executive Officer
Council of Fashion Designers of America