Rendez-Vous with Steven Kolb

What is the current state of American fashion? On November 26th, Polimoda welcomed Steven Kolb, President and CEO of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, for an all-American Rendez-Vous on Florentine grounds. Interviewed by CFDA Editorial and Communications Director Marc Karimzadeh, the Q&A explored how the trade association has steered the trajectory and image of American fashion, touching on its future and status in the global fashion landscape.

With a background in the nonprofit sector, Kolb oversees all operations and activities for the American fashion industry’s renowned group of over 500 American womenswear, menswear, jewelry, and accessory designers, also managing its membership, trade association activities and long-standing philanthropic initiatives. Among his standout contributions, the CFDA leader is widely recognized for championing the next wave of American fashion talents, leading programs such as the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund, a springboard for young designers seeking visibility and opportunities in today’s hyper-competitive industry.

Since being appointed CEO in 2011, Kolb has spearheaded the digital organization and acquisition of the Fashion Calendar and the launch of New York Fashion Week: Men’s, also heralding the CFDA Fashion Awards towards becoming the foremost spotlight on American fashion. Overseeing the implementation of some of the council’s most important initiatives, Kolb has worked to establish the Strategic Partnerships Group (SPG), the CFDA’s Health Initiative and the Fashion Manufacturing Initiative, remaining one of the most celebrated and influential figures in American fashion today.

Joining Kolb on the Rendez-Vous stage was Editorial and Communications Director of the CFDA Marc Karimzadeh, who oversees the content direction for, CFDA social media platforms and all public relations. Prior to joining the CFDA in January 2015, Karimzadeh spent 15 years at WWD reporting on the fashion world, interviewing designers and covering fashion weeks worldwide, from New York to Paris and Milan.

During the Polimoda Rendez-Vous, the CFDA duo delved into the global status of American fashion, exploring the history of the CFDA, its role in shaping designer life cycles and what’s in store for the future of fashion in the USA.

I think there’s something very supportive about American fashion that I don’t see in other cities or other countries. We’ve been very committed to making sure that there’s opportunity for an industry that is more reflective of what society looks like. And you know, we get a lot of criticism in America for being too commercial… but commercial doesn’t mean it’s not creative, right? American fashion still is creative and that shouldn’t be lost in the equation; the creativity and the commerce certainly can sit together – and should sit together. Let’s embrace what the industry is today.

Steven Kolb

Best moments of the Rendez-Vous