“This year’s AIA honorees are giants in the fashion industry, and this night is our chance to celebrate them and their achievements. It is also an honor to be supporting Mercy Ships for its life--‐ changing work around the world,” said President and CEO of AAFA Juanita D. Duggan. In her remarks, Duggan also said, “No other event brings the creative force of this industry together with the business and the policy side.”
Rick Helfenbein, AAFA Chairman and President of TellaS Ltd., congratulated the slate of honorees as he opened the event.
The 2015 American Image Awardees are: Company of the Year: Brown Shoe Company accepted by Diane Sullivan, CEO, President and Chairman; Retailer of the Year: Holt Renfrew accepted by Mark Derbyshire, President; Person of the Year: Claudio Del Vecchio, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of Brooks Brothers Group, Inc.; Designer of the Year: Cynthia Rowley accepted by the namesake designer Cynthia Rowley; and Fashion Maverick: Kelly Osbourne, Television Personality, Fashion Designer, and Actress.
AAFA unveiled a new award statuette at this year’s gala. Renowned artist Ruben Toledo designed the statuette. Toledo said, “The importance of fashion as a global industry is symbolized by the heroic stylized figures portraying diversity through the use of different metals representing humanity in living color, which for me, is what validates fashion trade and commerce. The globe at the base of the award defined by fashion products instead of continents, illustrates the idea that we are connected through creativity and all speak the same fashion language. America’s fashion influence truly is global and is represented by the work and support of AAFA and its membership.”
In her acceptance speech, Osbourne thanked her mother and father, and gave an emotional nod to Joan Rivers. She also beautifully echoed one of the evening’s themes, saying, “Everyone in this room has so much to be thankful for, and we as the fashion industry have to continue to give back.”
Other celebrities joining Debi Mazar, Kelly Osbourne, and Ruben and Isabel Toledo, along with the industry’s top CEOs in the room included: Actress Jill Hennessy from “Law & Order” and “Crossing Jordan;” Iman Obou, Miss New York 2015; Lea Black from “Real Housewives of Miami;” and K. Lee Graham, Miss Teen USA 2014.
Representing more than 1,000 world famous name brands, the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) is the trusted public policy and political voice of the apparel and footwear industry, its management and shareholders, its four million U.S. workers, and its contribution of $361 billion in annual U.S. retail sales.
Photography via GettyImages.
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