It’s a very big deal as a designer to become part of the CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers of America), and an even bigger honor to be nominated to sit on the board. This year, a group of new designers are joining the esteemed crowd, including Off-White designer Virgil Abloh, Carly Cushnie of Cushnie (formerly Cushnie et Ochs), Maria Cornejo of Zero + Maria Cornejo, and Kerby Jean-Raymond of Pyer Moss.
The CFDA’s new chairman, Tom Ford, announced the news on Tuesday, September 3. He’s been busy making some changes at the CFDA, including cutting one day of New York Fashion Week (from six to five days) to better support schedules and budgets. Another major change was making the board more diverse and inclusive. The legendary designer took the reins of the influential group as chairman this year and began the process by adding Vogue.com’s fashion news director Chioma Nnadi and model Paloma Elsesser to the board. The four new members replace outgoing designers Georgina Chapman, Kara Ross, Mimi So, and Marcus Wainwright.
“I’m rearranging the board so that it is more diverse in age and more diverse in every way,” Ford told WWD. “We talked about how many slots we need to free up to make it more diverse, and what sort of diversity was missing. If we wanted to bring these people in, where is there an overlap of voice, meaning people with the same types of collections or of the same age? So that’s how that was decided.”
The CFDA’s CFO Steven Kolb told WWD that the board is examined each year and that traditionally, new members are nominated by a committee. However, it is under the realm of the chairman’s duties to add members, though they have to be approved by the rest of the board. Board members serve for six years, but can serve longer; WWD reports that Ralph Lauren has held his seat since 1971!
Each designer added to the board brings an exciting perspective and plenty of talent. Virgil Abloh’s own label, Off-White, has become incredibly popular with everyone from Kendall Jenner to Serena Williams, and he made history when he was named men’s artistic director for Louis Vuitton; he’s the first black designer to hold such a title at the brand. Zero + Maria Cornejo makes most of their pieces in New York City, with a small amount being crafted in “Italy, Bolivia, Peru, and China.” Cushnie is a favorite label of influential women like Michelle Obama and Beyoncé, and Pyer Moss has combined fashion and activism in a powerful way; Lena Waite wore a cape by the brand at the Met Gala in 2019.
We can’t wait to see what’s next for the fashion world. If we know anything about Tom Ford — and the new group of designers he’s brought on board — it won’t be boring.
Originally Appeared on Teen Vogue