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Thom Browne elected chairman of the CFDA

By Danielle Wightman-Stone


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Thom Browne SS23, Catwalkpictures

The Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) have unanimously elected Thom Browne as its next chairman for a two-year term.

Browne will take up his new role on January 1, 2023, succeeding Tom Ford, who completed his term at the end of May. CFDA chief executive officer Steven Kolb will continue to serve as interim chair until the end of the year.

As chairman of the CFDA, Browne will be responsible for driving forward the organisation to strengthen the impact of American fashion in the global economy. He follows in the footsteps of Diane von Furstenberg, Stan Herman, Carolyne Roehm, Perry Ellis, Mary McFadden, Bill Blass, Herbert Kasper, Oscar de la Renta, Norman Norell, and Sydney Wragge, who have all been chairs of the CFDA.

Commenting on his appointment, Browne said on the CFDA website: “I am very excited about taking on the chairmanship of the CFDA. I feel a huge responsibility in working with Steven and the CFDA team to carry on the positive and important work of Tom, Diane and Stan. I, also, feel that it is important to give back to an industry that has supported me so well over the last 20 years. I am so proud to be an American designer, there is so much happening in American design today that the world needs to really see and recognise and truly appreciate.

“My most important message is that everyone should have all the opportunities to thrive as designers, but the core of this success has to start from pure creativity. It is our responsibility as designers to keep the story being told in an uncompromisingly creative way that reaches all in the most positive way. It is the mission of the CFDA to support and encourage new voices and new designers to parlay their creativity in to a unique and singular level of success.”

Thom Browne to succeed Tom Ford as CFDA chairman

Browne launched his business in 2003 with five grey suits in a made-to-measure shop in New York City’s West Village, creating a sharply tailored uniform comprising a jacket and trousers paired with a grey cardigan, a white oxford shirt, a grey tie and silver tie-bar, and classic black brogues. He has since expanded into complete men’s and women’s ready-to-wear collections, footwear, accessories, and fragrance, and has showcased his collections in both New York and Paris.

The designer became a member of the CFDA in 2005 and has won the CFDA’s Menswear Designer of the Year award three times: in 2006, 2013 and 2016. He is also among the nominations for the 2022 awards taking place on November 7. He has also been a runner-up of the 2005 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund.

In addition to serving on the CFDA board, Browne is a past member of the organisation’s admissions committee and serves on the selection committee for the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund.

Confirming Browne as chair, Kolb said: “Thom understands the steps that are required to build an American fashion business that is both successful and highly respected by the global fashion community. He started as an independent menswear collection in New York and developed his brand into a fast-growing, profitable business with a strong global presence.

“Thom firmly believes the craft of fashion is the foundation of success, and his commitment to creativity runs through everything that he touches. Thom’s significant contribution to design innovation has been recognised by museums around the world. Our members, at every level of the CFDA, and the organisation as a whole will benefit immensely from his thoughts, ideas and experience, and I’m looking forward to our work together.”

Browne added: “As designers, it is our responsibility to provoke, to educate, to entertain, to make laugh and to make cry, and, most importantly, to make beautiful clothes and to succeed in nurturing the next generation of American design.”

The CFDA currently has 477 members featuring womenswear, menswear, jewellery, and accessory designers.

Council of Fashion Designers of America
Thom Browne
Tom Ford