The American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) recently hosted its American Image Awards during a digital gala that celebrated the accomplishments of the fashion & retail industries. Awards were bestowed for strides in sustainability, diversity, & global stewardship. The AAFA represents more than 1,000 world famous name brands; it is the public policy & political voice of the apparel & footwear industries. The event was a fundraiser for the prestigious Council of Fashion Designers of America Foundation (CFDA), a partnership now in its 5th year.
The June 21 gala was overwhelmingly positive. Big players such as HanesBrands, & Walmart are changing the way they do business & their efforts have resulted in notable achievements, most impressively in sustainability. Honorees actively set about working on fiscal recovery, but also on bettering how business is done. HanesBrands received the Company of the Year honor, Walmart was the Retailer Innovator of the Year, Designer of the Year went to Gabriella Hearst, & the Sustainable Apparel Coalition was named the inaugural Eco-Steward of the Year.
“Gabriella Hearst shows that sustainability is the greatest luxury we can have.”
– Nina Garcia
Elle Editor-in-chief, Nina Garcia, weighed in on her good friend, Gabriella’s ongoing mission to create fashion that is not only stylish, but good to the planet. “Gabriella Hearst shows that sustainability is the greatest luxury we can have.” Hearst is unquestionably a media darling, particularly after her appointment as Creative Director of Chloe in December 2020.
The real star of the show, however, was HanesBrands, the mega brand that is sold in 40 countries and employs 61,000 associates. HanesBrands was honored for their on-going work in sustainability that began long before the movement was on-trend. In fact, the US Environmental Protection Agency has awarded HanesBrands the coveted Energy Star for twelve years running for its reduced water & green gas emissions in manufacturing processes. Most recently, HanesBrands went further still, & is doing-away with single-use plastics. Celebrity Host & Broadcast Journalist, Tijana Ibrahimovic, mentioned some of Hanes’ most iconic brands in her congratulatory message. Ibrahimovic touched on some of HanesBrands’ “greatest hits”, such as the iconic cross your heart bra that has been a beloved fashion staple since its introduction in 1954, & Champion athletic wear. The latter continues to be a go-to for those who want timeless quality workout gear. Champion is enjoying a surge of popularity as it has been rediscovered by a new generation of consumers.
We look forward to watching the American Image Awards next year, in their full glory at The Plaza Hotel in May 2022.
- Vivian Kelly ( @thefashionhistorian )