Jeffrey Banks, John Varvatos, Vera Wang, Thom Browne, Michael Kors, Ralph Lauren, Diane von Furstenberg, Jason Wu, Alexander Wang, Tommy Hilfiger, Donna KaranCFDA Fashion Awards, Show, New York, USA - 04 Jun 2018

“I’ve been part of the CFDA from the beginning. They have worked hard to organize American designers, to create a fashion calendar, to recognize and respect the individuality and different needs of each designer, to support and mentor new designers and to rally the community around important causes….Today the CFDA is made up of such a vast diverse design community and they are trying to support the individuality of each brand.” Ralph Lauren

“As a business owner who watches every dollar, it [the CFDA Boston Consulting Group study] is probably not where I would have spent my dollars. I think you have to have a lot of mutual respect for everyone’s timelines. When everyone is out running around, these buyers cannot be on this ridiculous Ferris wheel. To me, this really needs to be driven by consideration of the buyers’ schedules. They’ll never be there with open arms and ready with a checkbook to write if they’re completely worn out.” Amy Smilovic, Tibi

“Blaming the CFDA [for New York Fashion Week’s woes] is an easy out. We as an industry, retailers, the design world, the CFDA, the press, all of us have a hand in being a voice to help move Fashion Week forward. I do believe that the CFDA can be a little insular in its thinking because it is all fashion designers. And sometimes it’s difficult when you have a collective group of like-minded people to step out of your realm of reality to understand what’s really going on. There’s been an idea floated that maybe the CFDA should not be only fashion designers but retailers, fashion influencers, media people so that the voices that are helping make decisions for the CFDA are opinions and points of view coming from all of the users of New York Fashion Week. I actually think it’s a brilliant idea.” Ken Downing, fashion director and senior vice president, Neiman Marcus

“I do agree with ‘every brand should kind of do what they think works for them,’ which is why I still continue to show. I like to put on a show. I like to fill half my audience with customers and clients and women who are interested in shopping. I’ve always done that. I just always thought that that was important because if you get them excited about something, it’s a totally different experience. All my investors have just been literally women who wanted to come to a show and then we created a relationship afterwards.” Christian Siriano

“The CFDA has been a great tool for us! You can invest as much or as little into their learning [forums]. I have participated in several sessions that I found to be instructive and useful, specifically how to properly hire with human resource training and storytelling to manufacturers in the U.S. When I had Candela and we were deciding to launch Gabriela Hearst in mid-2014, through the CFDA, we were able to hire an MBA Harvard intern who helped us develop our business plan and market analysis. The CFDA touches on many subjects including sustainability and immigration. They provide supportive retail environments for designers and also assist with showing in markets like Paris. As a designer, the business can be challenging at times, and the CFDA focuses on supporting brands at different stages starting of growth. Everyone has different sets of needs.”  Gabriela Hearst

“I don’t think the CFDA can enforce anything. They do not have authority over the independent businesses. They can suggest. So can we all do a better job of coming up with solutions that can help us all? Yes. Because if they think there’s more energy in New York as a group, it will get more buyers to come back to New York again, it will get more attention in New York again. I do think that’s important but I don’t think it’s as simple as the CFDA enforcing one thing or each designer doing one thing. I think it all has to come together as a group. It’s rather impossible to do otherwise.” Jason Wu

“The CFDA is trying really hard but its mission is to try hard for all of its members. With this kind of democratic, we-should-show-everybody kind of feeling, they can’t really say, ‘OK, you’re not going to be allowed to show during NYFW because what you do is just commercial.’ The French have no qualms about saying, ‘you can’t be part of Paris Fashion Week.’ In that way, they’re self-selecting.” Valerie Steele, director and chief curator of the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology

“I think the CFDA has done a great job with luxury designers and emerging designers. But a lot in the middle gets lost. What I would suggest is a more even playing field. It would be incredible to be more inclusive when it comes to the CFDA Awards and recognize talent from all categories and pricing.” Rebecca Minkoff

“I see them doing more than they’ve ever done before. I think they do a lot and I think they try really hard at being relevant and meaningful to the design community. But at the end of the day it’s fashion design, it’s not a social club. It’s kind of every man for himself and you’ve got to be able to stand on your own two feet and make it happen. It’s not always a popularity contest. Every house has to find a way to make things tick for themselves. And it’s not a formula that works across the board. Every business is so individual.” Mark Badgley, Badgley Mischka

“People on the outside really don’t understand that [every business is individual]. We told Joan Rivers one time that all the designers get together in the basement of Bergdorf Goodman before each season, and we all decide what colors we’re going to show together, we all make a big decision and it’s top secret. And she believed us. She thought that’s how it really works.” James Mischka, Badgley Mischka

“No one from the CFDA has been in touch with me recently about asking me to help them with something or offering up something. I literally don’t know what they do. I read things in the paper, and I don’t mean to minimize their activities on behalf of promoting younger designers, I think that’s important.” Alex Bolen, chief executive officer, Oscar de la Renta

“American fashion celebrates individuality, uniqueness. Each house, each brand can be whatever it wants to be without conforming to a certain established ‘model’ or structure, and this is why we are so proud to have our home in New York, the capital of the American fashion industry. But that reality also makes the work of the CFDA particularly challenging — with the noise of homogenizing calendars and shows. That said, in recent years they’ve done outstanding work to support and boost our businesses with their varied programming — last week, they had an initiative to connect New York-based brands with Alibaba. That’s added value.” Emilie Rubenfeld, president, Carolina Herrera

“The CFDA has done a great job. It’s a bigger and more difficult job than most people think. I did love it when it [NYFW] was in Bryant Park and everybody seemed to go and show there. As it changed, many of the people dispersed, including myself, to different locations. There was something very nice about that unity. The CFDA has been extremely accommodating to try to make [the schedule] work. That’s a big job. They have done a marvelous job, and I think Steve Kolb has done a very good job with that. The CFDA is very important.” — Dennis Basso

“The CFDA proposes various measures to stimulate business and to improve and elevate the position of American fashion, which is wonderful.…However, compared to before, the meaning of attending New York Fashion Week has become difficult to pinpoint. The major American brands have started opening showrooms in Paris, and I know that the number of buyers and customers going to New York from Japan has decreased. Paris has become the center where both people and [showrooms] are concentrated. While the revival of popular brands like Gucci and Fendi has helped to resuscitate Milan, New York has few brands that are a hook. I also think there are very few major New York brands that put on shows of a high level.”  Yumiko Watari, fashion director, Sogo & Seibu, Tokyo

“With the help of organizations, American designers and brands do their utmost to strengthen industry and perception of the U.S. fashion industry. I also know that everyone in the U.S. has grown up with the will and the conviction to be able to move things on their own. This is something I do miss sometimes here in Europe.”  Torsten Stiewe, head of fashion buying, KaDeWe Group, Berlin

“The CFDA has established a platform to both support and grow the community of American fashion designers and continue to sponsor and welcome new, young talents as well.” Mike Amiri

“Supreme’s CFDA award for Designer of the Year was the biggest possible acknowledgment of current American fashion culture. Supreme as a brand that captures the energy from the new generation, designers or not. As a young American designer, the CFDA support of Supreme was a way of saying ‘we see you’ to everyone in America working on a brand and craft right now — myself included.” Reese Cooper

“I think it would be unfair to dictate what a brand should do, so the CFDA is trying to allow brands to make their own decisions. At some point, it would be nice to create some order within the industry so that people understand all of this!” Stacey Bendet, Alice + Olivia

“The CFDA has been an organizing body for all the conversations that have taken place in our industry over the last decade. Their strength has been in collecting this feedback and promoting flexibility for brands to experiment with new ideas. The CFDA needs to continue to bring the industry together to have more serious conversations around what new shape the fashion-show world should take. This should involve both established and up-and-coming designers, as well as buyers and editors. Many of us are modernizing our brands and businesses by taking factors such as sustainability, consumer centricity, global production capabilities and limitations and technology into account. These same factors should be considered when updating the American fashion industry system as a whole….I am proud to be part of a system that encourages everyone to do what’s best for their brand.” Tommy Hilfiger

“I know the CFDA makes a lot of effort with graduates from the fashion schools. And there are a lot of programs to help them, which is very good. But it’s a large body of members and who you help and how you help them is an open-ended question.” Yeohlee Teng

“I was a two-time participant in the CFDA Vogue Fashion Fund and I know firsthand what an extraordinary job the CFDA does helping young designers in their careers. The very existence of this program is remarkable and a testament to the American fashion industry’s community spirit and camaraderie.” — Wes Gordon, creative director, Carolina Herrera

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