As the year winds to a close, the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) has revealed the honorees of its 2019 American Image Awards. Birkenstock nabbed the Company of the Year mantle in recognition of the German brand’s strong comeback story, which has been fueled by a series of buzzy fashion collaborations and a bevy of celebrity fans. David Kahan, CEO of the brand’s Americas division, will accept the award.
Isaac Ash, CEO of United Legwear & Apparel Co., has been named Person of the Year. Since its launch in 1998, Ash’s New York company has grown into a fashion hosiery and accessories powerhouse, boasting such licensed brands as Skechers, Champion, Weatherproof, Starter and Pro Player. The company also produces its own lifestyle collection, Fun Socks.
Entertainment giant Disney and designer Ruthie Davis will be honored for their magically whimsical Princess collaboration. The power partnership has seen Davis put a high-fashion spin on “Snow White” with colorful, ornately detailed heels, boots and sneakers inspired by themes such as the poisoned apple, the Seven Dwarfs and the age-old good-versus-evil conflict. Davis also released a Mulan-inspired capsule this year.
Trendy teen chain American Eagle, which operates more than 1,000 stores, has scored the Retailer of the Year title, while Eileen Fisher is being honored as Designer of the Year on the strength of her creative talents as well as her championing of such issues as social responsibility, sustainability and human rights within the fashion industry. Footwear News sister publication WWD will be honored as Media Brand of the Year.
“For more than four decades, AAFA has brought together the industry’s best to celebrate incredible honorees,” said AAFA president and CEO Rick Helfenbein. “There is no other event like this that showcases designers, brands, manufacturers, business leaders and media personalities to celebrate fashion’s future and to throw a spotlight on those who are revolutionizing the world’s most influential business.”
The 2019 American Image Awards will be held on April 15 at New York’s Plaza Hotel. Actress Brooke Shields is slated to host the event.
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