The Council of Fashion Designers of America, Inc. (CFDA) is a non-profit trade association. It was founded in 1962 and consists of a membership of more than 500 of America’s foremost womenswear, menswear, jewelry, and accessory designers. The mission of the CFDA is to strengthen the impact of American fashion in the global economy.

What does the CFDA do for the American fashion industry?

The CFDA dedicates its effort to supporting the growth of the American fashion industry. It supports all phases of the designer lifecycle, including student, graduate, early emerging, and established professional. Fashion students can receive CFDA’s support by applying for one of various scholarships. American fashion designers are supported by the annual CFDA Fashion Awards, fashion shows (i.e. New York Fashion Week) that are hosted by the CFDA, as well as other programs organized by the CFDA. These initiatives provide fashion designers with relevant access to information, resources, micro-funding, industry exposure, mentorship, and education. This helps fashion professionals operate their businesses more effectively, while also helping them gain valuable insights and develop strategies for growth.

How can one become a member of the CFDA?

Membership of the CFDA can be acquired by invitation only. It is open to Americans designing in the United States or abroad or international designers whose businesses are based in the United States. Applicants must meet certain criteria and submit an online presentation of their work accompanied by a detailed written application and letters of recommendation. An affirmative vote by the board is required for the acceptance of each new member.

What are the CFDA Fashion Awards?

The CFDA Fashion Awards is an annual event hosted by CFDA in partnership with Swarovski. In the awards show, outstanding contributions made to American fashion by individuals from all areas of the industry and related arts are recognized. The CFDA Fashion Awards Guild, an invitation-only network composed of top fashion retailers, journalists, stylists, influencers, and the 500-plus member designers of the CFDA, submit nominations for each award category. The CFDA Board of Directors approves the nominations, as well as recipients of the honorary awards.

What role does the CFDA play in the New York Fashion Week?

The New York Fashion Week is organized by the CFDA and is one of its key programs. The CFDA continues to nurture talent during the New York Fashion Week schedule by furthering the research and developments. In partnership with Launchmetrics, the CFDA helped lead a new study called Front Row to Consumer: The Voices Driving Fashion Week in Today’s Digital Era, and focused on how brands can better invest their energy and resources in an evolving NYFW landscape. Education, business development, creative expression, and diversity continue to be cornerstones of the New York Fashion Week ecosystem.

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