A Cause for Celebration: 2021 American Image Awards

Image courtesy of prnewswire.com

Sustainability, innovation, diversity, and global stewardship were the themes celebrated at the 2021 American Image Awards Gala which shone light upon the accomplishments of the fashion industry over the past year.  Hosted by the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) as a digital gala presentation, the audience was treated to a well-orchestrated storyline told by some of our industry’s most recognizable luminaries.

The honoree slate included:

Designer of the Year – Gabriela Hearst

Eco-Steward of the Year – Sustainable Apparel Coalition

Company of the Year – HanesBrands

Retailer Innovator of the Year– Walmart

Fashion Maverick – Black In Fashion Council

Digital Entrepreneur of the Year – ShopShops

Image courtesy of Very New York

Emceed by the host of the award-winning “The List” television show, Segun Oduolowu, the event featured opening introductions by Stephen Lamar, AAFA CEO and Steven Kolb, the CEO of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), the foundational beneficiary of the proceeds of the event.

Image courtesy of VERY New York

“The American Image Awards is about celebrating the future of fashion and the path upon which our industry has embarked in the post-pandemic era. This year’s honorees are the very embodiment of where the industry is heading, and it was a privilege to showcase their success,” said Stephen Lamar, president and CEO of the American Apparel & Footwear Association. “We cherish AAFA’s support and efforts in strengthening American fashion’s global impact. In a year that has been filled with great challenges and uncertainty, leaning into our communities and these partnerships has made all the difference in our continued recovery,” said Steven Kolb, CEO of the CFDA.

While all the themes of the evening were addressed loud and clear by every speaker, the messages of innovation and sustainability were those heard most emphatically.  At a time when the fashion industry seems to be coming to terms with the responsibility we all have to ensure the future of our planet through reducing waste and rethinking the practices we use to source and consume fashion, the messages couldn’t have been more timely, nor more poignant.  Industry giants Walmart and Hanesbrands spoke to the work they are doing on a macro scale, while white hot designer Gabriela Hearst, speaking from the Chloé global headquarters in Paris, offered her perspective on how fashion at the highest levels can innovate towards a more sustainable future. The Sustainable Apparel Coalition, the organization leading the cause to educate fashion companies to identify paths towards sustainability, truly drove the final message home by providing the 30,000-foot perspective on the cause.

Images courtesy of Very New York

Surprise appearances included Brandon Maxwell, introducing Walmart’s Denise Incandela, Elle magazine’s editor-in-chief and “Project Runway” judge Nina Garcia who introduced Gabriela Hearst, influencer and author Caroline Vazzana ( @cvazzana & Author of Making It in Manhattan) and environmental activist and Miss Earth 2020, Lindsey Coffey, offered congratulatory introductions to the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, and our own Tijana Ibrahimovic ( @TijanaStyle ) congratulated HanesBrands on an incredible 120 years in business.

While the event was overall one of celebration, it was Under Armour COO & Chair of AAFA, Colin Browne who summed it up best when he said, “we have the opportunity—no, the responsibility—to be a force for good. We also have the responsibility to lean-in and embrace changes … we can change the world. This community reaches into every household in America and in all corners of the world. Tonight, we celebrate this amazing industry.”


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