AAFA Celebrates Integrity and Impact with the 2024 American Image Awards

Photo courtesy of Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images for AAFA American Image Awards

The American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) hosted the 2024 AAFA American Image Awards last evening at the iconic Gotham Hall in Midtown Manhattan – constructed in 1924 and celebrating its 100th year of history in NYC.

Emceed by the host of Boston Globe Today, Segun Oduolowu, the gala honored leaders and advocates across the apparel and footwear industries. The Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) Foundation is the event’s long standing charitable beneficiary.

The AAFA American Image Awards honorees included Lizanne Kindler, executive chair & CEO, KnitWell Group, as Person of the Year; Carhartt as Company of the Year, accepted by Danilo Amoretty, senior vice president of global product supply and operations; Wes Gordon, creative director, Carolina Herrera, as designer of the year; Global Fashion Agenda, accepted by CEO, Federica Marchionni, as Eco-Steward of the Year and Allan Ellinger, senior managing partner, MMG Advisors, as Trailblazer. 

Delivering touching remarks as they accepted their statuette, Eco-Steward, Frederica Marchionni spoke of the American dream being alive and well and inspiring all to strive to achieve their highest aspirations. Trailblazer, Allan Ellinger, shared his belief in the power of doing good and offered tremendous hope for our collective future. Designer of the Year, Wes Gordon, inspired all to see the power of creating beautiful things as being truly life changing, not only for himself and his team, but for his clients the world over. Danilo Amoretty accepted Carhartt’s honor as Company of the Year, which comes as the iconic brand celebrates 135 years; he spoke about one of the company’s core values— to “Respect the Past, While Walking Bravely Into the Future”— as the company continues to redefine the limits of workwear through its commitment to quality gear with enduring value and the development of sustainable practices to protect our planet for future generations. 

Finally, Person of the Year, Lizanne Kindler, was moved to emotion as she shared the inspiration she finds in those around her—family, colleagues and customers. Other impactful moments included remarks from both AAFA and CFDA leadership, Stephen Lamar and Steven Kolb, with a mutual glowing salute to the impact the eight years of partnership and the far-reaching impacts. Katie Ioanilli of Ralph Lauren welcomed Ferrara Manufacturing’s chief operating officer, Gabrielle Ferrara who shared the success Ferrara Manufacturing (a past recipient of CFDA foundation funds that have been raised by this event) has had in manufacturing locally in the newly built manufacturing facility where the U.S. Olympic uniforms, many of Ralph Lauren’s top tier product and military uniforms are currently made.

“Tonight is a powerful reminder of the positive change that individuals can steer. We are reminded that we can and should draw collective strength from our individual diversity and that we are making incredible strides as an industry as we support manufacturing, foster new talent, and train the next generation,” said Steve Lamar, president and CEO, AAFA. “Over the years ahead, I look forward to even stronger partnerships as we fashion new extended producer responsibility mechanisms, negotiate smart trade programs, and scale circular solutions.”  

Before the program began, the red carpet stirred with excitement as fashion executives, designers, and various luminaries gathered to celebrate the evening’s honorees. Among the designers were Cynthia Rowley, Todd Snyder, Michelle Ochs, Evan Hirsch and Dr. D’Wayne Edwards. Other VIP guests included Indre Rockefeller – founder of The Circularity Project, journalist Belle Bakst, journalist Tijana Ibrahimovic, journalist Charlii Sebunya, influencer Joshua Kamei, influencer Charlotte Groenveld, chef Brad Willits, and actor David Granados.