Tom Ford steps down as CFDA president

Tom Ford is stepping down after three years as the chairman of the Council of Fashion Designers of America on May 31.

'When I began my role as chairman in June of 2019, my goal was to help the American fashion industry become more globally recognized for its talent and importance. I could not have imagined the extraordinary circumstances that both the industry and the world would have to navigate - that a pandemic would shut the world down and change the course of our lives and of our businesses forever,' Ford said in a statement released by the CFDA.

'The pandemic challenged all of us to think about our businesses in new ways - from the design process and production, to how we reach and speak to our customers. We were forced to come up with creative new ways to run our companies. Some may think that fashion is just about making beautiful clothes and accessories or having runway shows, dressing celebrities and throwing parties without considering the incredible amount of work that goes on behind the scenes, or that the fashion industry is a $3 trillion industry that employs millions of individuals. As chairman of the CFDA, I have had the privilege to experience first-hand the remarkable determination and optimism that drives our industry. I am honored to have been able to support the truly incredible talent in the American fashion industry for these past three years, and I look forward to continuing in my role on the CFDA board,' he continued.

'The CFDA and its Board of Directors thank Tom Ford for his leadership in working on behalf of the American fashion industry during an unprecedented time. Tom initiated several important initiatives, with which the CFDA remains firmly committed,' said Steven Kolb, CEO of the CFDA.

During Ford's tenure, he took important initiatives on behalf of the CFDA. He diversified the Board of Directors and members and initiated new programs to bring needed diversity, equity and inclusion for the fashion industry, including CFDA IMPACT to identify, connect and support thousands of talent through diversity, equity and inclusion work and partnerships with brands to provide access to hundreds of jobs, opportunities and mentorships.

Under his supervision, the CFDA launched RUNWAY360, the innovative digital platform for displaying and selling collections, and doubled the Scholarship Fund to 500,000, USD while adding new scholarships to help young fashion students. In addition, he was instrumental in the A Common Thread initiative, which distributed more than 5 million USD in humanitarian aid to fashion companies during the first two years of the pandemic - 79% of them women and businesses owned by minority populations.

Ford will retain his advisory role over the summer and will also remain on the organization's board of directors; Steven Kolb will serve as interim president of the CFDA through December 31, 2022. A new chairperson to succeed Ford will be voted for by the organization in January 2023.

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