Despite the diversity issues that exist within the fashion industry, Black women are breaking barriers, overcoming the odds and changing the status quo. According to WWD, CaSandra Diggs has been appointed to become president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America.
Diggs’ appointment is historic as it marks the first time in the nonprofit trade association’s 58-year history that a Black woman has been at the helm. Diggs began her journey with the CFDA in 2001 as a member and has risen up the ranks over the past 19 years. Prior to her appointment, she served as the association’s Chief Administrative and Financial Officer. In her new role, she will spearhead the development of strategies that will be instrumental in the CFDA’s growth. She will also focus on leading new initiatives that champion education and diversity amongst the association’s members and in the fashion industry.
Diggs is excited to take on the role. “CFDA remains a vital pillar of the fashion community,” she said in a statement. “I am delighted to join Tom Ford and Steven Kolb as we continue to advance and evolve the CFDA into a modern, forward-thinking organization that is reflective of our times.” Steven Kolb, who serves as the CEO of the CFDA, says Diggs is an “innovative thinker with a strong understanding of organizational and business operations” and believes she will play an integral role in pushing the association forward.
Diggs appointment comes at a time when there is a major need for diversity in fashion leadership, especially within the Council of Fashion Designers of America. According to Fast Company, a mere 3 percent of the trade organization’s members are Black. In June, the CFDA unveiled initiatives centered on pushing the needle forward on diversity and inclusion within its organization. Within the plan, the association announced the creation of internship, mentorship and career placement programs.