The digital 2021 AAFA American Image Awards, which advantages the Council of Fashion Designers of America Foundation, honored corporations and people Monday which might be dedicated to range, inclusion, innovation and international attain.
This 12 months’s recipients have been HanesBrands as firm of the 12 months; Walmart as retail innovator of the 12 months; Gabriela Hearst as designer of the 12 months; Black in Fashion Council as Fashion Maverick, Sustainable Apparel Coalition as Eco-Steward of the Year (a brand new class) and ShopShops as Digital Innovator of the Year.
The forty third annual ceremony was hosted by Segun Oduolowu, who famous that, “Such amazing work is being done by these incredible organizations and especially over this last year of new challenges and new realities. But tonight is all about embracing new opportunities.”
Stephen Lamar, president and chief govt officer of the AAFA, which represents greater than 1,000 manufacturers across the globe, spoke from the National Mall in Washington, D.C. and welcomed the attendees by saying that, “This is indeed a summer of recovery for many individuals, families and communities. We’ve gotten this far together because of heroic efforts by so many throughout our country and the world.”
He added that, “While our work is not done, and COVID-19 remains a very real threat throughout the world, I’m confident we have the purpose and resolve to tackle the many challenges that lay before us.” He additionally famous that the AAFA is concentrated on serving to corporations thrive, preventing the hardest battles, ending the commerce wars and defending model integrity.
For the previous 5 years, the AAFA has partnered with the CFDA Foundation as its beneficiary of the American Image Awards. The gala will return subsequent 12 months to The Plaza Hotel on April 26.
In a taped dialog with CaSandra Diggs, president of the CFDA, Lamar mentioned, “This year, we advocated jointly on a number of policy fronts, both those that related to COVID-19 and those that don’t.”
According to Diggs, the American Image Awards partnership has supported trade investments and the CFDA Foundation in all of its programming, most lately in its range, fairness and inclusion work.
“Collectively these investments have helped support CFDA’s ability to be a better steward of our industry’s future,” mentioned Diggs, noting that the very high ranges of management should play a component in making the final word tradition shift. CFDA has launched the IMPACT program and elevated monetary help of the Designer Hub, each of which establish and help underrepresented creatives and professionals in vogue. As a outcome, she’s seen elevated quantity of investments in manufacturers of shade, with six of 10 Fashion Fund finalists being from the Designers Hub and $1 million awarded by a CFDA donation to Icon360. She’s additionally seen promotions and hires of execs of shade in key positions in main organizations.
Colin Browne, chief working officer of Under Armour and chairman of AAFA, mentioned, “The expression that we may all be in the same storm, but we’re not in the same boat, is so very true. The past year has truly amplified the inequalities that exist in our society. We need leadership, leadership that is intentional and grounded in purpose. We need to be nimble, adaptable, but most important to be vocal. We have the responsibility to be a force for good,” Browne mentioned.
Further, Browne mentioned that over the previous 12 months, the trade has moved in very sudden methods and it occurred far quicker than they ever anticipated, “Consumers and their expectations have changed. They expect us to be sustainable. They expect us to be global citizens.…We have the opportunity lean in and embrace these changes. And that I believe is the strength of this community.”
In accepting the Fashion Maverick Award, Lindsay Peoples Wagner, cofounder of Black in Fashion Council, which was based final August, mentioned, “We are incredibly honored to be a part of so many changes in the industry that occurred. We just really wanted to work hard and make sure there was measurable and sustainable changes in the industry. We have a long road ahead.” Sandrine Charles, the opposite cofounder, added that she envisions a day the place Black persons are represented and amplified at each stage.
Amina Ravzi, govt director of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, accepted the inaugural Eco-Steward Award. SAC is a worldwide, multistakeholder nonprofit alliance for the style trade. It is comprised of greater than 250 main attire, footwear and textile manufacturers, retailers, suppliers, service suppliers, commerce associations, nonprofits, NGOs and tutorial establishments working to cut back environmental influence and promote social justice all through the worldwide worth chain.
Ravzi mentioned this has been a 10-year journey and she or he’s extremely proud to see their work acknowledged by the AAFA. In May, they launched their new transparency program that may assist corporations talk their sustainability efficiency to each shoppers and stakeholders “helping them make more informed decisions as well as drive collective action and scale,” she mentioned. “Now more than ever, we need to come together as an industry to solve systemic challenges that no single organization can solve alone,” she mentioned. “We believe that partnership is the new leadership…there’s so much work to do and no time to waste,” she added.
In receiving the Digital Innovator of the Year award, Liyia Wu, founder and CEO of ShopShops, mentioned, “I’m humbled to be recognized in such a challenging year. With COVID-19 lockdown and so many challenges, I was happy to keep so many of my favorite brands afloat through live selling…when physical shopping wasn’t an option.” She mentioned there’s little question that this previous 12 months has altered the best way shoppers store ceaselessly. “It is my hope that ShopShop can help preserve the art of shopping. Shopping is not just commerce, but discovery and entertainment.”
Nina Garcia, editor in chief of Elle, launched Gabriela Hearst as designer of the 12 months. “[Gabriela] is somebody I’ve nice admiration for each professionally and personally. She is a fellow Latina and somebody who has turn out to be an inspiration to everybody in our group.
“She has made it her mission to show us that sustainability is the truest luxury we have. Gabby sets trends and not just the ones that hit the runway,” Garcia mentioned. In 2017, Hearst was the primary designer to carry a carbon impartial present, and was the primary designer to make use of deadstock cloth again earlier than it was en vogue.
Hearst, who was videotaped in Paris, thanked the AAFA for honoring herself and her staff, expressing that this honor offers her firm the gasoline to give attention to their sustainability mission.
Designer Brandon Maxwell, who gained AAFA’s Designer of the Year final 12 months and can be the artistic director of Walmart’s elevated manufacturers, launched Denise Incandela, govt vice chairman, attire and personal manufacturers at Walmart, who accepted Retail Innovator of the Year on behalf of Walmart. Maxwell mentioned it was a dream of his to be carried by Walmart his entire life as a result of he shopped there rising up and it’s a spot he continues to buy.
In accepting the award, Incandela mentioned, “It’s been a year unlike any other. Bringing your [Maxwell’s] creative direction and incredible design talent to Free Assembly and Scoop brand is definitely one of the highlights.”
She additionally congratulated her fellow winners, “You’re an impressive group, and your accomplishments are taking the industry to the future at lightening speed. It’s a future we couldn’t have predicted 16 months ago, before we knew how a global pandemic would affect retail and shopping behavior in both the short and long term, from groceries to pet supplies to home goods to apparel and everything in between. We’ve all been working hard to be there for our customers when they needed us most,” she mentioned.
Over the course of the final 12 months, she mentioned they expanded their grocery and decide up choices; they launched Walmart Plus, which allows clients to avoid wasting money and time, and partnered with federal, state and native governments to place COVID-19 testing and vaccine distribution in place in Walmart areas throughout the nation. “Looking back, it’s really remarkable to witness the innovation that was born from a necessity to move fast and be there for our customers,” she mentioned.
But she additionally touched on the lighter moments: “We sold a lot of fantastic tops for those Zoom calls and we chased loungewear and slippers for the entire year because our customers wanted to be comfortable at home.” She mentioned they aggressively added nationwide manufacturers like Champion, Reebok and U.S. Polo Association and expanded unique elevated manufacturers like Free Assembly, Soffe and Scoop. She mentioned they’re excited to accomplice with Maxwell to raise their manufacturers; that they’ve partnered with ThredUp, and purchased Zeekit, a digital match expertise.
Mike Faircloth, group president, international operations, American casualwear and e-commerce at HanesBrands, accepted the Company of the Year award for HanesBrands.
Spanning greater than 40 nations and using 61,000 associates, HanesBrands produces 70 % of its attire in its personal factories.
“We sincerely appreciate AAFA honoring our company’s long-standing commitment to corporate stewardship and sustainability,” Faircloth mentioned. “Similar to all companies, Hanesbrands had to quickly face the COVID-19 pandemic’s unprecedented challenges from keeping our people safe to navigating an uncertain economic environment.” He mentioned they have been in a position to pivot their operations in a matter of weeks “meeting an urgent need at a critical time.”
He mentioned the credit score goes to its manufacturing associates, provide chain staff and the associates all through the corporate who got here collectively to work collectively underneath essentially the most tough circumstances and famous that, “Sustainability is one of our core strengths and we’ve re-doubled our commitment to this important space.”
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