Friends of the CFDA, a group of like-minded individuals who are passionate about philanthropy and fashion, has formed under the leadership of Jordan Roth, theater producer, couture collector and red carpet favorite, as chairman.
The idea behind Friends of the CFDA came from Thom Browne, chairman of the CFDA, when he first took over on Jan. 1. One of his first initiatives was to select a small group of fashion devotees in support of American designers.
Friends of the CFDA will provide this group unprecedented access to the American fashion industry, including exclusive benefits such as invitations to special events, private gatherings with industry leaders and recognition for their commitment to the CFDA’s mission.
The annual membership fee benefits CFDA’s philanthropic initiatives including emerging designer support, sustainable fashion initiatives, diversity and inclusion programs, and industry education and advocacy, among others.
“As chairman of the CFDA, my emphasis is on the importance of creativity in building successful businesses…American fashion can be magical and inspiring…with Friends of the CFDA, we hope to bring exclusive access to the talent and creativity of our designers…and benefit important CFDA initiatives and programs,” said Browne.
Roth said, “When Thom asked me to lead the Friends of the CFDA, I immediately and wholeheartedly agreed as I’ve seen firsthand the extraordinary work of the organization. The CFDA has long been a driver of the fashion industry’s creativity, innovation and growth. Its programs and initiatives have nurtured emerging talents, promoted sustainability and propelled New York City as a global fashion capital. However, the CFDA’s work could not be accomplished without the collective contribution of people who recognize and experience the transformative power of fashion.”
According to Steven Kolb, chief executive officer of the CFDA, it’s not an official membership program based on dues. Rather, it’s an invite-only charter with “Friends” making an annual donation of $10,000 to the CFDA Foundation.
Asked how they decided on Roth to become chairman of the group, Kolb said, “Jordan is an amazing friend of the CFDA and he embodies a love of fashion and creativity. His enthusiasm and passion make him a perfect leader of Friends of the CFDA.”
A fashion devotee, Roth is president and majority owner of the Jujamcyn Theaters in New York and oversees five Broadway theaters including the St. James, Al Hirshfeld, August Wilson, Eugene O’Neill and the Walter Kerr. A frequent front-row attendee at fashion shows (who dresses according to each designer), Roth attended the CFDA and Spotify’s kick-off to New York Fashion Week at Gracie Mansion this month, where Mayor Eric Adams welcomed the fashion crowd.
Kolb said the goal is to start with 50 friends. “We want it to be intimate and engaging, but we are open to expanding if there is interest,” said Kolb. He said the activities will vary from networking to conversations with designers, studio visits, retail engagement and general access to CFDA events and programs.