In 2005, I was inducted into The Council of Fashion Designers of America.  Long before that time (and during my days as a stylist in Europe), I didn’t really know what the CFDA was (or did). However, the organization was founded in 1962 by Eleanor Lambert as a not-for-profit trade organization to support American womenswear, menswear, jewelry, and accessory designers. Today, the CFDA consists of over 400 members across the nation (we have 2 from Alabama). Their mission statement has grown to reflect a desire to “advance artistic and professional standards within the fashion industry, establish and maintain a code of ethics and practices of mutual benefit in professional, public, trade relations, promote and improve understanding and appreciation of the fashion arts through leadership in quality and taste, and to support the overall growth of American fashion as a global industry.”

Some of the programs growing out of this agency include the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund for which Alabama Chanin was a finalist in 2009 and which Billy Reid (the other CFDA member in the state of Alabama) won in 2010. Other programs include CFDA Fashion Awards, Made in Midtown, and the great {Fashion Incubator} program, among many others.


In March of this year, the CFDA is preparing to launch their third “You Can’t Fake Fashion” campaign to raise awareness of counterfeit goods and spotlight issues surrounding intellectual property and design. The idea is to celebrate beautiful, original design and discourage buyers from purchasing “knock offs.” As CFDA CEO Steven Kolb said, “Authentic and original design is so critical to the industry’s livelihood.” In 2010, Billy Reid and I shared a flight to Washington D.C. on behalf of this initiative to speak with our Alabama representatives about legislation that would help protect designers against Design Piracy.

The CFDA is partnering with eBay to auction off very limited-edition bags specially tailored and personalized by nearly 100 designers. Each bag features the tag line, “You Can’t Fake Fashion,” and is customized by a range of American designers who use their individual bags to celebrate their own aesthetic, brand, or style.

This year’s collection launches today, March 18th, in New York City, with an eBay auction. The past two collections have sold out quickly, so those interested in buying should bid early.

Our bag from last year was appliquéd using 100% organic cotton jersey in the Anna Maria Horner “Little Flowers” stencil. Come back tomorrow for more on this stencil.

This year’s bag is appliquéd all-over with our Paisley stencil in Alabama Indigo fabric. The bag handles are covered with 100% organic cotton jersey pulls.

Each designer’s bag will be sold at auction, with bids starting at $100, through eBay’s Fashion Vault. But, if your favorite bag sells out before you can buy it, the CFDA is offering standard versions for $50. We recommend buying one and customizing it with your very own design. You can also download patterns from our Maker Supplies + Stencils page and use it to make a bag that’s your own individual style. And look for our DIY take on the Paisley Tote coming on May 2nd.

Proceeds from the sale of “You Can’t Fake Fashion” bags will benefit the CFDA Foundation.  Bid here for a chance to buy the original Alabama Chanin bag designed specifically for this event.


5 comments on “YOU CAN’T FAKE FASHION (PART 2)

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  1. dawn tremblay

    I am always thrilled to see the new creations coming from Alabama Chanin. Thank you so much for being such a model for sharing. I start March break tomorrow and can hardly wait to dive into my latest Chanin projects (I have just added the purse to my to do list. 🙂


  2. Sandra Cardew

    I can’t seem to locate the standard version of the CFDA handbag that’s being offered for $50. Could anyone tell me how to find one?


  3. Sharon Reilly

    for your version of the bag did you create it from ‘scratch’ or create a ‘cover’ for the CFDA standard version?