Tom Ford on Melania Trump (and the Future of American Fashion) – The New York Times

By on March 21, 2019

“I think the key to the future of American fashion is to become more international and more global,” Mr. Ford said. “Having recently returned to America, one of the things that struck me the most in every industry and in American life was how isolated America was and how inward looking. I’ve always thought of myself as an international designer, designing to a global market, and I think that American fashion needs to think that way. Even if you’re just starting a business you have to be immediately thinking about what’s going to help you be marketable to the world, and not just to America.”

And even more than that — not just to New York. Although the CFDA is based in Manhattan, Mr. Ford, who has been a member since 2000 and has won seven CFDA awards, including the lifetime achievement prize in 2014, has no plans to move, or to be in the city more than the “four or five times” a year he currently visits. He also has no plans to make himself an example of a designer who recommits to New York Fashion Week on a long-term basis.

“I have a global business and sometimes I may need to show in another country,” he said (he has shown in London and Los Angeles). “Sometimes I may need to show in Asia; I may need to show in Europe. I was very honest and upfront about that. But I think the CFDA is an American thing and not so much a New York thing.

“Arguably New York is the center of a certain America, and I realize part of the CFDA is organizing and — I don’t want to say policing — New York Fashion Week. But it is also encouraging American designers to be successful and part of that is embracing the fact we live in a big world,” he said.

It’s an interesting statement, and one that verges on the political in a time when the fight over a border wall has been one of the defining discussions of the year. Under Ms. von Furstenberg, the CFDA lobbied for greater intellectual property protections for designers, embarked on a model health initiative, raised the volume on the conversation about diversity and inclusion, and brought new American designers to Paris for a fashion week showcase. Now it is up to Mr. Ford to choose his issues and decide how to direct his new cast.

“I’m pretty steel-willed,” he said.

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