The Council of Fashion Designers of America is welcoming 12 new members to its base.
The additions will increase the organization’s total membership to 452 people.
The new lineup includes Autumn Adeigbo, Abrima Erwiah of Studio One Eighty Nine, Claudia Li, Christopher John Rogers, Hillary Taymour of Collina Strada, Jonathan Cohen, Kenneth Nicholson, LaQuan Smith, Marina Moscone, Eckhaus Latta’s Mike Eckhaus and Zoe Latta and Willy Chavarria.
The CFDA has mapped out initiatives to improve diversity among its ranks and to attract talent to the industry. The incoming members seem to be testimony to that effort.
Stan Herman, treasurer of the CFDA’s board, said, “It represents what’s going on in fashion, the movements from left to right — from #MeToo to Black Lives Matter. Listen, the CFDA has responded. Tom [Ford, CFDA president] has responded. I certainly sympathize and empathize because I would have been in that role years ago [as chairman.] Actually, every new member that I knew really deserved it.”
He recalled how annual incoming members used to consist of 30 to 40 designers at one point under Diane von Furstenberg. “But these [new members] were vetted very carefully and with mind to what’s going on,” Herman said.
Last year the CFDA did not increase its roster in order to focus on members that had been impacted by the financial fallout caused by the coronavirus crisis.
The CFDA’s chief executive officer Steven Kolb said in a statement of the new members: “Their diverse talent already significantly contributes to our industry and represents the future of American fashion, which they will no doubt help to define.”
On another level, the CFDA is offering a new associate member tier for existing CFDA members who are in good standing with the organization but have not been actively producing a fashion collection for three or more years.
Next month the CFDA will also roll out an interim member tier, which will be a pipeline to CFDA membership for emerging designer brands that “exhibit great promise and have achieved a level of industry recognition and consumer engagement,” according to material provided by the CFDA. To be considered, designers should be in business for at least one year, but not more than five years. Their annual sales cannot exceed $2 million to be eligible.
The new associate member and interim member tiers dovetail with the CFDA’s objectives to address and support designers’ varying needs throughout their careers. The expense of joining the CFDA has been a factor and in some cases a deterrent for some aspiring and existing members through the years. The organization now offers a sliding scale of annual memberships that vary by category.
Many years ago when some designers started to drop out of the organization, a category was created to woo them back. “We called it ‘emeritus,’ when a person was no longer really involved but still was a fashion person. Then that disappeared. I think this is a resurrection in the right direction,” Herman said.
The CFDA will host a new member and interim member orientation this fall, and all designers will be introduced to the membership at a biannual membership meeting that is expected to be held in November via Zoom, a CFDA spokesman said.