Tom Ford to develop CFDA’s international perspective as new chairman

Tom Ford is keen to develop a more international perspective for the Council of Fashion Designers of America’s (CFDA) when he takes over from Diane von Furstenberg as chairman of the trade association.Ford’s appointment to the role was first rumoured l…

Tom Ford is keen to develop a more international perspective for the Council of Fashion Designers of America’s (CFDA) when he takes over from Diane von Furstenberg as chairman of the trade association.

Ford’s appointment to the role was first rumoured last week, and the CFDA board met on Tuesday (19Mar19) to vote on his nomination. It was later confirmed the designer will step into the position in June, and Ford already has high hopes for what he can do as chairman.

“Coming back from Europe, what’s stunning to me was the isolation I feel here. I feel that America is one of the most isolated countries in the world. We’re very inward looking,” he told Business of Fashion. “What American fashion needs to become in order to be more relevant in the world is to think of itself as not just American but as international.”

Furstenberg has been chairman for the past 13 years, but is well aware the organisation now needs a fresh perspective. And she agrees that Ford, who served stints as creative director at Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent before launching his eponymous fashion and beauty brand in 2006, is the perfect man for the job.

“When I came in they needed a mother. Now they need a statesman,” she explained. “What I think is great about Tom, a designer that all designers respect and admire, is that he’s a global person (who has helped build) large companies.”

Ford, 57, will be working closely with CFDA chief executive officer Steven Kolb in his new role, and will be the 11th person to take the position of chairman – with former executives including Sydney Wragge, Norman Norell, Oscar de la Renta, and Herbert Kasper.

“Given his experience working for large luxury brands like Gucci under Kering and having started his own business not so long ago, (Ford) has a wide range of experience that will be incredibly valuable.”

According to Business of Fashion, Michael Kors and Tory Burch were among the other designers considered for the role of chairman before bosses settled on Ford.

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