Why is the CFDA Important to Clothing Designers?

by Sarah Clark
Fashion School Review Columnist

September 4, 2006

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If you haven't already heard of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), you'll quickly become acquainted with them during fashion school. Their membership comprises more than 250 of the most influential names in fashion.

CFDA is best known for its annual celebrity-studded fashion design awards ceremony. In 2006, the event was attended by Hollywood style-setters, including Lindsay Lohan, John Legend and Scarlett Johansson. But the highlight of the night was not film stars who merely don some of the finest fashions in the world, but the designers who create them.

Clothing Design Award Winners
If you want to know which fashion designers are creating the biggest buzz among the most influential ranks of fashion, keep up with the CFDA fashion awards. This past June, Belgian-born designer Olivier Theyskens took home the CFDA award for best international designer. Theyskens has become the darling of the fashion industry, making friends and admirers of fashion doyennes like Anna Wintour, the powerful editor of Vogue.

Other fashion designers who were honored at this year's CFDA awards include Francisco Costa of Calvin Klein for Womenswear Designer of the Year, Thom Browne for Menswear Designer of the Year, and Tom Binns for Accessory Designer of the Year.

Tracking Auspicious Careers in Fashion
The CFDA Awards provide an opportunity for during fashion school students to keep up with those pursuing some of the most successful careers in clothing design. It may also teach fashion school hopefuls a thing or two about the clothing design industry, such as the skills and aesthetic that are highly regarded and whose career in fashion and design are garnering acclaim.

The CFDA can also provide you with a "who's who" list of fashion industry players. On the organization's Web site (cfda.com) you'll find a list of its members, who include celebrity designers such as Vera Wang, Diane von Furstenberg, Donna Karan and Calvin Klein. You'll also find names of clothing designers who are not fixtures in the vernacular of popular culture, but nonetheless have great clout in the industry.

So while you're in fashion school, refining your clothing design skills, acquaint yourself with the CFDA as you prepare for a career in fashion.


About the Author
Sarah Clark is a freelance writer specializing in career development and postsecondary education.

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