FDRA, FFANY Union Is Now Official

After FDRA and FFANY announced in June they would join forces, the union is now official.

The Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America has assumed the management of the Fashion Footwear Association of New York operations.

FDRA CEO and President Matt Priest is overseeing the new entity, while FFANY’s Executive Director John Heron will become a strategic advisor to FDRA. Heron will provide expertise on the New York marketplace and brands to ensure a smooth transition.

“This is a seminal moment for our industry, and I am pleased and excited our respective boards were able to make it happen. FFANY has served the industry incredibly well, and folding them into our FDRA infrastructure will allow us to bring together executives to better coordinate the industry’s direction and support industry strengthening initiatives,” said Priest. “I look forward to working with John in the coming months to welcome FFANY members into our association and ensure that the legacy continues on a positive and impactful path forward.”

FDRA will immediately take over daily operations, trademarks and finances as well as oversee the role of coordinating dates and industry activities of the FFANY New York Market Week. (Existing FFANY members will now be part of FDRA.)

As the pandemic continues to dramatically impact in-person events, it isn’t clear what the show landscape will look like in 2021. “We hope that the industry can come together at some point in 2021 in Manhattan, but like so much else in the world right now, we continue to be in a state of uncertainty due to forces outside of our control,” Heron said.

Industry leaders were upbeat on the deal’s benefits for the industry.

“FDRA is the gold standard for industry associations across our country because of its tremendous impact on policy issues as well as robust communication platforms, information services and many programs that support all aspects of the footwear industry. This union will position FDRA to be a stronger association,” said FDRA Chairman Mike Jeppesen.

Jim Issler — the Berkshire Hathaway Shoe Holdings chairman who is also a longtime director and past chairman of both organizations — applauded the move. “Consolidation is nothing new to our industry, and in the last three decades we have witnessed retailers and wholesalers alike merging into much larger entities,” he said. “The merger of the FDRA and FFANY will create an alliance that maintains the footwear industry’s most important marketplace, while forging an even stronger entity to promote the common interests of all the members of this new partnership.”

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