CFDA and Lexus Launch the Sustainability in Fashion Initiative


The Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) can effectively be considered one of the most influential organizations in helping up and coming American designers enter the credible fashion market.

Much to our joy, the CFDA has launched the “CFDA and Lexus Fashion Initiative” as part of its scheme to support new designers, comprising workshops, mentorships and fieldwork for meaningful change in the U.S. fashion industry.

The Initiative will consider ten brands or designers for review, requiring them to demonstrate how they aim to significantly evolve the ethical and environmental standards of their design and production methods. The aim is to create a higher standard of sustainability and social responsibility across the board in order to instill a stronger sense of purpose, community and positive change in the fashion industry. The CFDA believes the principles to change design are “inspiration, innovation and imagination.”

Each year, the grand prize winner of the Fashion Initiative will receive $150,000 and two runners up will receive $50,000 to be used for establishing and developing ethical and environmental practices for their business.

The program spans over the course of 17 months, is completely accessible via the web and is available to any U.S.-based fashion designer. The CFDA recognizes the need for ample time for designers to perfect their craft and receive steady, supportive mentoring over a span of time where changes really do begin to develop.

The ten finalists chosen from the applicant pool will be announced next month. The CFDA is looking for companies that are already consciously utilizing ecologically and socially responsible practices in order to definitively drive the desire for those principles across the span of the fashion industry. The finalists will then be evaluated by the board, which conists of some of the most influential individuals in American sustainable fashion such as Timo Rissanen of Parsons School of Design, Amber Valletta of Master + Muse, Olivia Wilde of Conscious Commerce, Scott Hahn of Loomstate and Linda Greer of The Natural Resources Defense Council, to name a few.

This Initiative not only demonstrates the increased recognition and support of new fashion brands and designers, but also the considerable need for ethical and eco-friendly practices at the base level of a fashion brand.  “It just would be great if you just see this commitment to sustainability permeate the entire fashion community,” says Andre Lim, the Marketing Maanger at Lexus, “I believe it’s going to happen one day. It’s just a matter of time of knocking down those dominos one at a time.”

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Image: CFDA