The CFDA reveals its new strategy for the next 5 years
Supporting up-and-coming designers like never before
The CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers of America) and the BCG (Boston Consulting Group) have planned a vision for the next half-decade.
It all started in New York in 2006 when CFDA's chief executive Steven Kolb and president Diane von Furstenberg had a vision for the CFDA's future. Membership of the group has nearly doubled since then to about 450 designers, up from 250. Back then the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund was still growing, compared to where it is now, a high profile competition known by most of the fashion world. It even has its own cable television series starting this year.
Among other achievements, the CFDA has launched several scholarships, established the Fashion Incubator (a business development program designed to support young designers in New York) and expanded the reach of the Fashion Targets Breast Cancer initiative.
The CFDA'S family, along with the Boston Consulting Group, is a large one consisting of 82 industry leaders, designers and 16 chief executives plus publicists, editors and educators – from Ralph Lauren to Anna Wintour to Mark Lee, the chief executive of Barneys New York.
"The mission of the CFDA is to strengthen the influence and success of American Fashion Designers in the global economy" reads the mission statement from CFDA , and to be successful with this new strategy, it is focussing on four main initiatives.
Diane Von Furstenberg
They include having a more hands-on approach with New York Fashion Week. Unlike other central fashion hubs around the world, New York’s fashion week calendar lacks durable, centralised planning – its shows are overcrowded and challenging for industry professionals to reach. The CFDA plans to eventually take full control of the calendar, holding shows at more convenient and central locations, and distributing the calendar on the CFDA website, as well as an app which will enable users to see the top 25 shows chosen each season by an anonymous group of fashion industry elite.
Education also plays a big role with plans to reinforce its existing scholarship initiatives, including the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund, the Fashion Incubator and the Education Summit.
The CFDA plans to make it easier for design students to find jobs and connect them to brands in the highly competitive industry (via a database of 64 vetted graduates called CFDA+).
Branching out globally is another goal it aspires to achieve, and developing the CFDA's relationships with international schools is something which would improve the visibility of pcoming designers. We could perhaps see partnerships forming within the Middle East...
Partnerships are a big part of the CFDA, they already having a number of existing partners, but the organisation's approach to their structure and strategic components were not strong.
The new plan reveals a different categorising system to help understand each partnership – with companies ranging from Google to Kohl's.
The CFDA also plans to make it easier for designers – especially New York-based emerging talent, to manufacture their products locally, starting with an investment fund led by Theory chief executive Andrew Rosen, called the 'Fashion Manufacturing Initiative'. This new fund will offer grants to production facilities, so they can buy new and upgrade old equipment, helping New York's fashion businesses thrive.
The CFDA'S new initiatives each centre around one goal, supporting designers in achieving their dreams.