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The CFA was the outcome of Fashion Industry Round Table, hosted by then Mayor Richard Riordan. The meeting was in response to circumstances surrounding an egregious act of subverted labor law issues, commonly called the ‘El Monte Sweatshop’ incident.
At that meeting, participants agreed that an industry organization was necessary to answer the questions of the media and other groups, to gather significant statistics, on-going data, and instigate cooperative efforts with city, state, and federal officials investigating the incident, on behalf of the apparel & textile industry at large.
Ilse Metchek, then the General Manager of the California Mart, was designated to act as the temporary Executive Director of the newly formed California Fashion Association. At the same time, Mr. Lonnie Kane, President and owner of the manufacturing firm, Karen Kane Corporation, volunteered to act as Chairman of the newly formed group.
Since then, the CFA has become a multi-pronged Association, dealing with all the significant issues affecting the apparel and textile industry of California. Ms. Metchek has subsequently assumed the Presidency of the California Fashion Association and has continued to grow the individual corporate memberships, with an outreach to allied associations globally. Mr. Kane is still the Chairman; the industry is clearly in his debt.
In 1999, the California Fashion Foundation was created “from the heart of the CFA” as the fund raising arm of the CFA. It is a non-profit (C-3) public benefit program that creates yearly events and fund raising opportunities for scholarships and other defined charities allied to the fashion industry.