Your recent article (“Fern’s Thorny Edge,” Feb. 13) on Fern Mallis, executive director of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, has prompted the Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS (DIFFA) to respond. We agree with your concept of Fern Mallis as a “powerful woman.” Our experience has only been one of powerful generosity, magnanimity, leadership and genuine concern.
Long before WWD’s article ran, DIFFA planned to honor Fern Mallis for her “Decade of Commitment to DIFFA” and the AIDS Community at large. On April 24, Fern’s friends and our supporters will gather at the Puck Building to see DIFFA’s Collection Rouge fashion event and to celebrate Fern’s unfailing support of those affected by HIV and those at risk.
Fern has been in the trenches and on the front line since the earliest days of AIDS. During her 10 years as a DIFFA trustee, her leadership, compassion and commitment made an important contribution to the team, which to date raised and distributed $20 million in DIFFA grants to worthwhile organizations throughout the United States.
Her sense of style and production values have been the hallmarks of her fund-raising, marketing and event leadership for DIFFA and, as we are aware, for countless other organizations dealing with issues from the homeless to breast cancer.
Our hats are off to this powerful and great lady
Daniel Baldinger New York
(The writer is chairman, board of trustees, DIFFA.)


In these uncertain retail, manufacturing and fashion times, why is it necessary to devote three pages — mainly negative and petty — to a woman, who is at least trying to generate an exciting atmosphere and bring greater visibility to the New York shows.
She woke up the City of New York, Bryant Park and unified the manufacturers. Fern helped promote a very important industry to the world. Any risk-taking, innovative and strong focused individual will have their enemies — so be it. But as it was stated in the article, “Almost everyone admires the achievement of 7th on Sixth…and the collective impact it’s had on the fashion industry….” Shouldn’t we all applaud that fact and focus on how we can continue the momentum, rather than focus on the small details you seem to repeat over and over again?
James C. Maharg
New York
(The writer is president of ALU New York.)

WWD welcomes your letters. They should be sent to WWD, Letters to the Editor, 7 West 34th Street, New York, N.Y. 10001. To be considered for publication, letters should have the writer’s name, address and daytime telephone number.

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