By  on December 12, 2011

NEW YORK — LF USA and the Council of Fashion Designers of America are teaming up with plans to create new initiatives to help the organization’s designer members.

The subsidiary of Li & Fung Ltd. joined the CFDA’s Business Services Network to provide such strategic business opportunities, but according to Rick Darling, president of LF USA, the association will benefit both sides.

“LF USA evolved, over the last six years, to a point in time where we are focusing more on brand building and bringing in real design expertise that includes both established as well as emerging expertise,” Darling said. “We thought there was no better way of being really able to access the top level of creativity in the market than teaming up with the CFDA.”

LF USA’s increased designer focus has included retail collaborations such as Vera Wang for Kohl’s, and Matthew Williamson, Karl Lagerfeld and Giambattista Valli for Macy’s. The company also manufactures lines for Rachel Zoe and Carlos Falchi.

For LF USA, the new partnership “puts us in the heart of the fashion industry in the U.S. in terms of the people we can immerse ourselves in and the brands we can begin to develop,” Darling said. “Our retail partners are very excited about the access to the broad range of talent the CFDA represents, and how it can be used to target and develop brands and businesses that address their white space.”

The partnership could spark specific projects or licensing partnerships, for instance. CFDA chief executive officer Steven Kolb cited the company’s global reach, resources and support as key elements that can help American designers grow their businesses. “The idea of working with LF USA and bringing design close to manufacturing is a perfect statement of how the industry needs to operate,” he said.

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