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MAC in Fashion Sponsorship

MAC Cosmetics has signed a three-year agreement as an underwriter and sponsor of three CFDA programs.

NEW YORK — MAC Cosmetics has signed a three-year agreement — valued at about $1 million by industry estimates — as an underwriter and sponsor of three CFDA programs: The CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund, the CFDA Fashion Incubator, as well as becoming sole makeup sponsor of the Fashion Awards in June.

This story first appeared in the February 7, 2014 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

While MAC is embracing CFDA, it is also shedding its role as the sole makeup presenting sponsor of Made at Milk Studios, while continuing to work backstage with designers, as it does at Lincoln Center and individual shows scattered around the city. MAC makeup artists will be working 76 shows during the eight days of New York Fashion Week and that is just a prelude to the organization’s involvement around the world. This year MAC will take part in more than 850 shows globally.

John Demsey, a group president of the Estée Lauder Cos., who oversees MAC, called the new relationship with CFDA “a unique partnership” rather than a sponsorship. He pointed out that MAC has supported fashion designers and their shows as far back as the beginnings of the brand, some 25 years ago, and has worked with CFDA shows as far removed as in Beijing. The brand’s involvement with the fashion fund dates back to its inception a decade ago.

Now to be aligned with the fashion fund, the incubator and the annual awards, which is the culmination of the nurturing process, “we felt it was an extraordinary opportunity and for us an important statement in terms of our commitment to fashion, designers, New York and the organizationally important, transformative role that CFDA has played in terms of America, the media and sponsoring designed-in-New York talent.”

Steven Kolb, chief executive officer of CFDA, said “In support of the Fashion Incubator, MAC will provide educational seminars and panel discussions on the synergy between beauty and fashion which helps to bring each designer’s creations to life on the runway. MAC will also be providing backstage makeup support during Fashion Week, and throughout the year for look books, resort and pre-fall collections and various other events. Additionally, John Demsey will join the Business Advisory Committee of the CFDA Vogue Fashion Fund, and take part in the Incubator mentoring program.”

Kolb said there will be a collaborative relationship between MAC and the designers, particularly in the fashion fund, that could result in the conceptualization of products.

Demsey asserted, “We are here because we belong here, not because we wanted to buy a spot here. This is an evolution and a reinforcement of the work we will continue to do supporting designers every single day over 23 fashion weeks. I view this as putting a strong flag on the ground. We support emerging talent as well as the existing stars of today and tomorrow.”

Demsey added the decision to cease being the sole makeup sponsor of Made was arrived at “over the past few months. As a founding sponsor of Made, we truly believe in the program and its contribution to exposing artistic expression to the world. While we are no longer continuing our front-of-house sponsorship, we are committed to supporting the designers there and all over [fashion week] by providing makeup artistry as well as guidance and assistance in many other forms. We feel Made has grown to the level where it can continue its programming, offering a superb platform to the next generation of designers.”

During an earlier interview, Demsey said MAC had decided to concentrate its money backstage “to make sure it gets to the talent that needs the curation and the development of the evolution.”