Today the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) announces its American Image Award honorees to be celebrated virtually on June 21, 2021. Celebrating Fashion’s Future, the 2021 honorees exemplify leadership, excellence, and outstanding achievement in all sectors of the apparel and footwear industry, including design, manufacturing, and retail.
The honorees are: HanesBrands, Inc. – Company of the Year; Walmart – Retail Innovator of the Year; Gabriela Hearst – Designer of the Year; Black in Fashion Council (BIFC) – Fashion Maverick; and the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) as the inaugural recipient of the Eco-Steward of the Year. Celebrating a fifth year in partnership, the gala benefits the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) Foundation.
The association has launched the Eco-Steward of the Year award to honor the industry’s movement to accelerate its eco-journey and fashion’s contribution to protect the future of our planet and its people.
“This spring, we will celebrate the brilliant thread of unity that our industry has rallied around for the past year. We are energized around new realities, confronting new challenges, and advancing new opportunities,” said Steve Lamar, president and CEO of AAFA. “On June 21, we celebrate this industry’s future, honoring the talents and contributions of our incredible honorees as well as their ability to empower and inspire so many more.”
“This past year has been testing for the fashion industry, and designers and retail businesses have had to navigate new challenges,” said Steven Kolb, CEO of the CFDA. “We are very pleased to see how this time has aimed focus on important issues in fashion such as diversity and inclusion, sustainability, and overall excellence, as our talent pivots to look to the future.”
2021 American Image Awards Honorees
Company of the Year – HanesBrands, Inc., accepted by Mike Faircloth, Group President, Global Operations
HanesBrands, based in Winston-Salem, N.C., is a socially responsible leading marketer of everyday basic innerwear and activewear apparel in the Americas, Europe, Australia and Asia-Pacific. The company sells its products under some of the world’s strongest apparel brands, including Hanes, Champion, Bonds Maidenform, DIM, Bali, Playtex, Bras N Things, Nur Die/Nur Der, Alternative, L’eggs, JMS/Just My Size, Lovable, Wonderbra, Berlei and Gear for Sports. The company sells T-shirts, bras, panties, shapewear, underwear, socks, hosiery, and activewear produced in the company’s low-cost global supply chain. A Fortune 500 company and member of the S&P 500 stock Index, Hanes has approximately 61,000 employees in more than 40 countries.
Retail Innovator of the Year – Walmart, accepted by Denise Incandela, Executive Vice President, Apparel Division and Private Brands
What started small, with a single discount store and the simple idea of selling more for less, has grown over the last 50 years into the largest retailer in the world. Each week, approximately 220 million customers and members visit approximately 10,500 stores and clubs under 48 banners in 24 countries and eCommerce websites. In the U.S. alone, nearly 90% of the population lives within 10 miles of a Walmart. Transforming the customer experience now and into the future through innovation and an integrated omnichannel approach is bringing a much talked about future into a speedy reality. Advancing new opportunities for partnership and alignment with brands and suppliers, Walmart’s unwavering commitment to retail excellence has profoundly benefitted our industry.
Eco-Steward of the Year – Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC), accepted by Amina Razvi, Executive Director
The Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) is an industry-wide group of more than 250 leading apparel, footwear and textile, brands, retailers, suppliers, service providers, trade associations, nonprofits, NGOs and academic institutions working to reduce environmental impact and promote social justice throughout the global value chain. Leveraging the Higg Index suite of tools for the standardized measurement of value chain sustainability, the SAC is working to transform business for exponential impact.
Designer of the Year – Gabriela Hearst
Melding luxury with sustainability, Gabriela Hearst is a collection of women’s and men’s ready-to-wear and accessories, built on the principles of timelessness, uncompromising quality and sustainability. Born in Uruguay, the designer grew up on her family’s 17,000-acre ranch surrounded by horses, cattle and sheep, where the notion of luxury meant that things were beautifully crafted and made to last. In 2015, she launched her brand fusing the values of enduring utilitarian beauty learned on the ranch with her reality as a professional woman seeking practical elegance in her daily life. She has since received the 2016/17 International Woolmark Prize for Womenswear and was the 2018 recipient of the Pratt Institute Fashion Visionary Award. In 2020, she won the American Womenswear Designer of the Year Award at the CFDA Fashion Awards. The British Fashion Council awarded Gabriela with the 2020 Fashion Award in the Environment Category, celebrating her work and the positive change it has within the fashion industry.
Fashion Maverick – Black in Fashion Council (BIFC), accepted by Sandrine Charles and Lindsay Peoples Wagner, Co-Founders
Founded in 2018 the Black in Fashion Council (BIFC) has become an essential voice of our time, forging a platform enabling fashion and beauty to truly reflect the diversity of our world. The organization is made up of a resilient group of editors, models, stylists, media executives, assistants, freelance creatives, and industry stakeholders, all aiming to build a new foundation for inclusivity. By fostering meaningful and measurable change, they are blazing a trail for the American fashion industry to achieve an equitable and representative workplace and are also ensuring an indelible transformation at all levels of our industry. More than just a catalyst of inclusion, the BIFC is elevating the stature of our industry for all.
Additional information on the American Image Awards can be found at americanimageawards.org.
Supporters are encouraged to join the conversation using #AmericanImageAwards.
About the American Apparel & Footwear Association
The American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) is the national trade association representing apparel, footwear and other sewn products companies, and their suppliers, which compete in the global market. Representing more than 1,000 world famous name brands, we are the trusted public policy and political voice of the apparel and footwear industry, its management and shareholders, its nearly four million U.S. workers, and its contribution of more than $400 billion in annual U.S. retail sales. AAFA provides exclusive expertise in trade, brand protection, and supply chain & manufacturing to help our members navigate the complex regulatory environment and lower costs. Members gain unparalleled access to information and exclusive insights on regulation and policy, and premier opportunities for networking and collaboration.