After three years as the chairman of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, Tom Ford is stepping down.

Credit: Vogue

Tom Ford has been serving as chairman of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) since June of 2019 – following the departure of Diane Von Furstenburg. He announced that he will be ending his three-year term on May 31. The sought after designer initially signed on as chairman for two years. However, he extended his role for an additional year. Historically, the chairperson role is a 2-4 year term, with only a few notable exceptions.

Influence of Design

Ford oversaw the board during the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic, during an unprecedented time where closures forced the widescale cancellation of events and fashion shows worldwide.

Credit: Teen Vogue

Despite this setback, the designer remained steadfast throughout his tenure in his determination to gain the international recognition of American Fashion and its cultural influence on the world. Vogue reported that he launched the CFDA’s A Common Thread initiative together with the high-end magazine, donating over $5 million to the fashion industry in the United States.

Tom Ford also helmed the reins of New York Fashion Week and the Met Gala, bringing the iconic events back to their full force in 2021 and 2022; simultaneously observing Covid safety protocols, while reinvigorating the sense of American culture.

“Extraordinary Circumstances”

In a statement issued by CFDA, Ford says, “On May 31st,  I will be ending my three-year term as Chairman of the CFDA. When I began my role as chairman in June of 2019, my goal was to help the American fashion industry become more globally recognised 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.”

Credit: Vogue

Ford will remain in his advisory role through the summer while the CFDA votes for a new chairperson. They will remain on the board of the organisation thereafter. CFDA CEO Steven Kolb will assume the duties of interim chair through December 31, 2022. The board’s current officers – vice-chair Tracy Reese, secretary Vera Wang, treasurer Stan Herman – will remain in place for the remainder of the year, the CFDA says, as reported by Fashion Industry Executive.

New Ways of Thinking

Newcomers and change-makers, Tory Burch, Thom Browne, and Aurora James were unanimously elected to join the board effective from June 1. The CFDA adds that its board will vote on a new chairperson in the fall to start in January in alignment with CFDA’s fiscal calendar.

Credit: Fashion Design Weeks

“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,”

Ford continued in his press address to the AFDA.

“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 honoured 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.”

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