The American Image Awards shines a spotlight on the impact public policy has on fashion and design. April 15, 2019 will be a night to celebrate creativity and innovation across all aspects of fashion. Designers, manufacturers, retailers, influencers, and collaborators all deserve a spotlight of their own! This year we are proud to recognize:

Person of the Year

Isaac E. Ash, President and CEO, United Legwear & Apparel Co.

Isaac Ash

Founder, President and CEO of United Legwear & Apparel Co., Isaac E. Ash has built a thriving global company that manufactures legwear, bodywear, apparel, bags, headwear, and accessories and distributes at every tier of retail.

Ash started his company (originally called United Legwear Co.) in 1998, as part of a shared showroom. This followed several years of working for his Brooklyn-based family business after school, selling socks to specialty and chain stores throughout the Tri-State area.  

The first license Ash signed was PUMA, followed by Skechers and several other sport and lifestyle brands. With frequent travel to overseas factories, his firsthand expertise in manufacturing and merchandising grew, and with strategic hires in sales, operations and finance, United Legwear’s year-on-year growth was consistently positive.

In 2007, Ash completed a buyout of all interests in the company, taking a 100% ownership position which he maintains today. The investment paid off: in the last few years, United Legwear & Apparel Co. (ULAC) has added children’s apparel, backpacks, hats, bags, electronic accessories, belts, wallets, and other small accessories to the product assortment; invested in infrastructure; developed a robust fulfillment platform for direct-to–consumer sales via e-commerce, and expanded the NY headquarters to 40,000 square feet of showroom and office space. East and West Coast warehouses, a Hong Kong office, a subsidiary in Canada, and back-office operations in New Jersey all support the sales and distribution efforts. ULAC is now a global entity that employs over 200 people and distributes/ships products in nearly a dozen countries.

Today, ULAC is a highly-diversified company that owns the FUN SOCKS brand and is a joint venture partner of PUMA North America for legwear, bodywear, kids’ apparel, and accessories. ULAC is also a licensee of Skechers, Champion, Fortnite, Weatherproof, and more; master licensee of PRO PLAYER, and private label manufacturing partner to many retailers.

Ash’s success in the accessories and apparel businesses has fueled his passion for giving back. He supports a great number of non-profit/fundraising organizations, charitable initiatives, and individual needs in the community and in the industry. He has established the Core Four Values of ULAC – Unity, Loyalty, Advancement, and Charity. These essential attributes reflect Ash’s philosophy that treating people well and helping those who can’t help themselves is a not just a nice idea, but a way of life.

Read on for our recent conversation with Isaac


Retailer of the Year

American Eagle Outfitters, Inc.
Jay Schottenstein, Executive Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, accepting

Jay Schottenstein

Since 1992, Jay has been a strategic visionary for American Eagle Outfitters. Together, with his father Jerome Schottenstein, the two forged a path that led to the evolution of AEO from a regional specialty retailer, to a multi-brand global business. Jay has been instrumental in the successful growth of American Eagle and the launch of the Aerie brand, and has built a strong foundation for AEO’s leading market position.

Jay returned to AEO as Chief Executive Officer in 2014, a position he previously held from 1992 to 2002. He has served as AEO's Chairman of the Board continuously since 1992, and he remains one of our largest shareholders. Jay’s expertise across apparel merchandising, operations, retail, real estate, brand development and team management provides valuable leadership and vision for the company. 

Jay also serves as Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Schottenstein Stores Corporation. He currently is Chairman of the Board of DSW Inc., a leading footwear and accessories retailer, and previously held the position of Chief Executive Officer from 2005 to 2009.

About American Eagle Outfitters, Inc.

American Eagle Outfitters, Inc. (NYSE: AEO) is a leading global specialty retailer offering high-quality, on-trend clothing, accessories and personal care products at affordable prices under its American Eagle® and Aerie® brands. The company operates more than 1,000 stores in the United States, Canada, Mexico, China and Hong Kong, and ships to 81 countries worldwide through its websites. American Eagle Outfitters and Aerie merchandise also is available at more than 200 international locations operated by licensees in 25 countries. For more information, please visit

Read about what made American Eagle Outfitters our Retailer of the Year


Company of the Year

David Kahan, CEO, Birkenstock Americas, accepting

David Kahan

BIRKENSTOCK is a global footwear brand that stands for quality, function, and all-round well-being. With more than 4,000 employees worldwide, this traditional, sixth-generation family-run business traces its historic roots as far back as 1774. BIRKENSTOCK was already using the term “footbed” in the 1930s, giving it the meaning which is commonly understood by consumers all over the world to this day – as a synonym for outstanding comfort when walking and standing. By the early 1970s, BIRKENSTOCK had become a global player. Manufactured in Germany, the sandals are now sold in more than 100 countries on all continents. BIRKENSTOCK also has a growing range of enclosed shoes, children’s shoes, and occupational footwear, as well as specialist products for orthopedic retailers, socks, bags, and belts. In 2017, BIRKENSTOCK added sleep systems and natural cosmetics (BIRKENSTOCK NATURAL SKIN CARE) to its portfolio of products.

In the U.S., BIRKENSTOCK has enjoyed incredible growth over the last five years – growing revenue 10X. BIRKENSTOCK was named Brand of the Year by Footwear News in 2013, again in 2017 and opened its first-ever company-owned store in the U.S. on Spring Street in SoHo in October 2018. BIRKENSTOCK has developed a managed distribution model that includes fine retailers such as Nordstrom and Barneys and select best-in-class partners across key retail segments. With a steady stream of exciting brand initiatives, such as its recent collaboration with fashion designer, Rick Owens, BIRKENSTOCK has earned tremendous market momentum.

Read on as we take you behind the scenes with Birkenstock


Designer of the Year

Eileen Fisher, Founder and Chairwoman, EILEEN FISHER, INC.

Eileen Fisher

Eileen is the Founder and Chairwoman of EILEEN FISHER, INC., the design company known for creating simple, timeless garments for over 30 years. Eileen ventured into clothing design in 1984. Her original concept — pieces that work together to help women get dressed easily — still defines the company’s collections, which are sold at 65 EILEEN FISHER stores, over 300 department and specialty stores across the U.S., UK, and Canada as well as 2 Renew stores, which are part of the company’s innovative recycling program. In 2016, the company became one of the largest women’s fashion companies to be certified a B Corporation which voluntarily meets high criteria for social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. In addition, the company is the largest B Corp in the state of New York.

Eileen is passionate about business as a movement. In spring 2015, the company announced VISION2020, a bold five-year plan that addresses sustainability and human rights. In keeping with Eileen’s belief in collaboration, VISION2020 calls for partnering with other brands to shift the fashion industry.

Given Eileen’s commitment to the development and growth of the whole person, she launched LIFEWORK — a personal transformation initiative that invites participants to explore individual purpose, well-being and conscious leadership through a variety of online and in-person workshops and events.  

In 2017, Parsons New School of Design honored Eileen at their annual gala for her work in sustainability. Eileen was selected to join the Steering Committee for New York State’s Inaugural Council on Women and Girls — launched by Governor Andrew Cuomo, the committee was formed to ensure that government policies and programs protect women’s rights and equality advancement in the state. In 2016, Eileen was presented the Force for Good Award by the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP).  

Read a conversation with our designer of the year


Media Brand of the Year

James Fallon, Editorial Director, accepting

Jim FallonJames Fallon is the editorial director of Fairchild Fashion Media, overseeing editorial for WWD, Footwear News, Beauty Inc, and Fairchild Live Media. Fallon has served in leadership positions for over 35 years with Fairchild, most recently as editor of WWD.

Prior to becoming editor, James was London bureau chief for Fairchild Publications for 20 years. In that role, he covered London and areas of continental Europe for all the Fairchild titles, including WWD, the consumer magazine W, the men’s wear publication DNR, and Footwear News. During his tenure, he reported on everything from apparel and textiles to telecommunications and supermarkets; the arts to the British royal family, and the enlargement of the European Union to counterfeiting and data security. James served as news editor in the Washington, D.C., bureau of Fairchild Publications for two years before being transferred to London. He is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in journalism and has a master’s degree in journalism from Stanford University. James lives in Tarrytown, NY.


Media Brand of the Year

Paul Jowdy, Chief Business Officer and Publisher, WWD + Fairchild Live, accepting

Paul JowdyPaul Jowdy serves as Chief Business Officer and Publisher, WWD & Fairchild Live. Prior to his appointment, Paul served as Senior VP, WWD & Group Publisher. Paul served as Publisher of Every Day with Rachael Ray before joining Fairchild. A 14-year veteran of Condé Nast, Paul served as Vice President and Publisher of Details and, prior to that, as Publisher of Bon Appetit from 2005-2011. During his tenure with Bon Appetit, the magazine saw a major redesign and exponential sales growth. Previously, Paul served as Associate Publisher of Vanity Fair and Advertising Director of Condé Nast Traveler. He started with Condé Nast in 1995, at Details. Paul earned a B.B.A. from the University of Miami, Florida. He resides in Manhattan.


Fashion Collaboration of the Year

Disney Princess X Ruthie Davis 
Ruthie Davis and Disney Company, accepting

Ruthie Davis

Ruthie Davis offers more than just fashion and footwear, she offers a lifestyle that embodies the brand DNA that has been so carefully crafted over the years: to stand out and stand tall, to set trends yet stay timeless. As a CFDA member and one of AAFA’s Designers of the Year, Davis designs footwear that is far from conventional. Every shoe is a piece of architectural art, all while staying true to the chic, modern, and sporty designs that women worldwide have fallen for. Residing in New York City and President of her eponymous brand, Davis has the advantage of being a woman who designs for women.  She “walks the walk” in her shoes.

After graduating from Loomis Chaffee, Davis earned a Bachelor’s degree in English and Visual Arts from Bowdoin College. She went on to earn an MBA in Entrepreneurship from Babson’s Olin Graduate School of Business, with the intention of someday forging an independent fashion label of her own. Davis honed her design and marketing skills by holding executive positions at Reebok, UGG Australia, and Tommy Hilfiger before launching RUTHIE DAVIS in 2006. The RUTHIE DAVIS brand is sold in top tier retail establishments worldwide including RUTHIEDAVIS.COM.

A trailblazer in the realm of collaborations, Davis has recently partnered with Disney on the notable Disney x Ruthie Davis shoe collections for Snow White, Mulan, and Aladdin’s Jasmine with more to come.  She has also worked with Universal Illumination on a Ruthie Davis x Minions collection, Swarovski on a capsule collection, HSN on their Disney “Beauty and the Beast” Event, Ruthie Davis X John Bartlett on a vegan capsule, and Designow on her first apparel collection. The designer’s cutting-edge vision has awarded her a number of accolades, including the American Apparel & Footwear Association’s 2014 “Designer of the Year” award, FashInvest’s 2016 “Fashpreneur” award, WGSN’s Global Fashion Collaboration of 2015 Nominee, and Babson’s 2015 “Entrepreneur Hall of Fame” award. Year after year, she has been named one of Footwear News’ “20 Directional Design Stars,” in 2012 was noted as one of Vogue Italia’s top “Vogue Talents,” and one of Goldman Sachs’ 100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs.

Davis, “a woman who designs for women,” ensures unparalleled quality and craftsmanship every step of the way. Her custom designs have grown to be the top choice of celebrities, ranging from A-listers like Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Zendaya, Ariana Grande, and Demi Lovato, to top-tier supermodels and actresses like Naomi Campbell, Halle Berry, Kendall Jenner, Laverne Cox, and Sofia Vergara.

In addition to overseeing the operation of her company, Ruthie serves as a television fashion expert with regular spots on Bravo, E!, Bloomberg, CNBC, Fox News, CBS News, Yahoo Finance, and NBC among others. She is involved with various organizations including being an elected member of the University of Delaware Arts and Science’s “Fashion Advisory Board,” the Loomis Chaffee “Head Council,” and the New Britain Museum of American Art’s “Education Committee.” She is a guest lecturer at MIT Sloan School of Management and taught a course on footwear design at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT.) She consistently dedicates time to mentoring emerging designers and entrepreneurs by speaking at colleges, business schools and design schools, but her message is always the same, “Find your passion, work hard, live your dreams.”

Learn more about how this collaboration was formed.




Brooke Shields

Brooke Shields

Brooke Shields began her modeling career at 11 months old in an Ivory Soap commercial. As a 14 year old model, Brooke was the youngest fashion model ever to appear on the cover of Vogue magazine. That same year, she appeared in the now-famous, controversial Calvin Klein jeans ad. By 16, she had become one of the most recognizable faces in the world.

At age nine, she appeared in her first film, Alice Sweet Alice, and rapidly gained fame after staring in Louis Malle's Pretty Baby,and the coming-of-age tales Blue Lagoon and Endless Love. As a model, Brooke has graced the covers of hundreds of magazines, most notably as Time Magazine's "Face of the Eighties." Today, Shields continues her prolific career on screen and stage, as a best-selling author and an advocate for women and the arts.

In addition to her film achievements, Shields has maintained a successful and acclaimed television career. Her work on "Suddenly Susan" garnered her a Golden Globe nomination and five People's Choice Awards. She currently can be seen on "Law & Order: SVU" in a major recurring role and is featured in the indie drama Daisy Winters, released fall of 2017. Brooke also has a Sirius XM show, "Brooke Shields Now," which covers topics such as parenting, relationships, and style.

In 2006, Brooke wrote her best-selling memoir, Down Came the Rain, detailing her struggles with post-partum depression, its impact on her family and friends, and her use of therapy & medication. The book created a watershed moment in public awareness of the disease. In 2014, Shields released her memoir There Was a Little Girl, a candid look at her relationship with her mother, who was both her manager and an alcoholic. The memoir is a raw and unguarded look at the damage alcohol causes in intimate relationships.

Incorporating decades of experience working in the fashion world, Brooke created an apparel and accessories line exclusively for QVC called Brooke Shields Timeless. This is her first apparel collection. The line will feature a selection of separates, including classic button-ups, flowy blouses, tailored bottoms, flirty skirts, colorful scarves, and contemporary fashion jewelry. Brooke’s collection officially launched in March 2018 on QVC.

While attending Princeton University, Brooke pursued her love of theatre as a member of the Princeton Triangle Club. Shortly after graduating with an honors degree in French literature, she made her Broadway debut as Rizzo in the hit musical Grease, for which she earned the Theatre World Award in 1994 for "Outstanding Debut on Broadway." Shields also starred in Chicago, Wonderful Town, Cabaret, and The Addams Family.

Brooke serves on the board of WIN, an organization dedicated to providing housing, services and programs to homeless women and children in NYC. In her personal life, Brooke continues to be a strong advocate for women's issues and keeping the arts alive in schools. She is the happily married mother of two beautiful daughters.


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