The American Image Awards shines a spotlight on the impact public policy has on fashion and design. Designers, manufacturers, retailers, influencers, and collaborators all deserve a spotlight of their own! This year we are proud to recognize:

Person of the Year

Kenneth Cole

Kenneth Cole

Kenneth Cole is an American designer, social activist, and visionary who believes business and philanthropy are interdependent.

His global company, Kenneth Cole Productions, creates modern, versatile, and functional clothing, shoes, and accessories that make daily dressing effortless under the labels Kenneth Cole Black Label, Kenneth Cole New York, Reaction Kenneth Cole, and Unlisted, as well as footwear under the name Gentle Souls.

The company has also granted a wide variety of third-party licenses for the production of men’s and women’s apparel, fragrances, watches, jewelry, eyewear, and several other accessory categories, including children’s footwear.

The company’s products are distributed through department stores, better specialty stores, company-owned retail stores, and its e-commerce website.

For over 30 years, Kenneth Cole has leveraged his passion and unique brand platform seeking to make a meaningful impact on people’s wardrobes, as well as communities in need.

In 1985, with the help of renowned photographer Annie Leibovitz and many of the top fashion models in the world, Kenneth launched the first AIDS public service campaign. He then joined amfAR’s board of directors in 1987 where he proceeded to serve as chairman of the board for 14 years. Under his leadership, amfAR was instrumental in significant breakthroughs in AIDS research, treatment, and prevention for the betterment of millions globally, and he remains committed to MAKING AIDS HISTORY.

Recently, due to his tireless advocacy, Kenneth Cole received the first annual CFDA Swarovski Award for Positive Change and was appointed a UNAIDS International Goodwill Ambassador by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

In 2019, with a coalition of the most respected and influential nonprofits, brands, businesses, influencers and high-profile figures in the entertainment, creative and media space, Kenneth launched the Mental Health Coalition to end the stigma against mental illness.

Hear from our Person of the Year Himself


Company of the Year

Ralph Lauren Corporation
Patrice Louvet, President & CEO, accepting

Patrice Louve

Patrice Louvet is President and Chief Executive Officer of Ralph Lauren Corporation and also serves on the Ralph Lauren Board of Directors.

Mr. Louvet joined Ralph Lauren Corporation in July 2017 after serving as Group President at Procter & Gamble. In his role as President and Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Louvet is accountable for driving Ralph Lauren Corporation’s Next Great Chapter strategy and execution. He is focused on delivering sustainable, long-term growth and value creation for the iconic brand globally, in partnership with Mr. Ralph Lauren and the broader leadership team.

Over the course of his career, Mr. Louvet has overseen several different multi-billion dollar brands, ranging from Gillette to Pantene to SK-II, and has held business leadership roles globally in Europe, Asia and North America. Mr. Louvet has a proven track record of growing major global brands across diverse distribution channels, from e-commerce to wholesale to directly operated retail, and through developing strong partnerships with retailers and iconic fashion houses, including Gucci and Hugo Boss.

Mr. Louvet currently serves on the audit committee of the board and the Board of Directors of Bacardi Limited, which he joined in July 2012.

Mr. Louvet graduated from the École Supérieure de Commerce de Paris and received his MBA from the University of Illinois. He served in the French Navy from 1987-1989 as Naval Officer, Admiral Aide de Camp. Mr. Louvet and his wife have been married for more than 20 years and have a son and daughter. They currently live in New York.


Designer of the Year

Brandon Maxwell

Brandon Maxwell

Brandon Maxwell’s luxury women’s fashion brand was born out of the desire to make women feel beautiful. Focusing on craftsmanship, the entire collection is designed in New York City and Brandon’s integrity is present throughout the process. His brand is worn by many influential women, including Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Tiffany Haddish, Reese Witherspoon, Duchess Meghan Markle and Lady Gaga. Brandon was awarded the 2019 CFDA Award for Womenswear, the 2019 Texas Medal of Arts for Design, the 2018 Woolmark New York Semifinal Prize, the 2016 Fashion Group International Rising Star Award for Womenswear, the 2016 CFDA Swarovski Award for Womenswear, and was a finalist for the 2016 LVMH Prize. Brandon is a judge on Project Runway on Bravo TV.

Photography by Sebastian Faena


Retail Innovator of the Year

Alibaba Group
Michael Evans, President, accepting

Founded in 1999 by Jack Ma, Alibaba originally was designed as a website to help small Chinese exporters, manufacturers, and entrepreneurs sell globally. Twenty years later, Alibaba has grown into the world’s leading online and mobile commerce company, connecting nearly 700 million consumers with more than 190,000 brands and more than 10 million small businesses. Providing businesses with technology infrastructure, marketing tools, consumer insights, payments, and cloud computing, the company is building the future of commerce.

Michael Evans has served as the President of Alibaba Group since August 2015. As president, Michael is responsible for leading and executing Alibaba Group's international strategy for globalizing the company and expanding its businesses outside of China. He also serves as a member of Alibaba's board, having served as an independent director since the company's initial public offering in September 2014.

Prior to that, Mr. Evans spent 30 years in global finance. He served as vice chairman of The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. from February 2008 until December 2013. He served as chairman of Asia operations at Goldman Sachs from 2004 to 2013 and was the global head of Growth Markets at Goldman Sachs from January 2011 to December 2013. He also co-chaired the Business Standards Committee of Goldman Sachs from 2010 to 2013. Michael joined Goldman Sachs in 1993, became a partner of the firm in 1994 and held various leadership positions within the firm's securities business while based in New York and London, including global head of equity capital markets and global co-head of the equities division, and global co-head of the securities business.

Michael is a member of the Board of Directors of Barrick Gold Corporation. He is also a trustee of the Asia Society and a member of the Advisory Council for the Bendheim Center for Finance at Princeton University, and a board member of City Harvest.

Mr. Evans received his bachelor's degree in politics from Princeton University in 1981 and won an Olympic gold medal for his home country Canada as a member of the men’s eights rowing team in the Los Angeles 1984 Summer Olympics.

Michael Evans on innovative ingredients for Alibaba’s Success


Fashion Maverick

Bravo/Project Runway
Erica Forstadt, Vice President, Current Production, Bravo Media, accepting

Erica Forstadt headshot

As Vice President, Current Production, Bravo Media, Erica Forstadt serves as the executive in charge of production on several of Bravo’s hit shows including “Project Runway,” “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills,” “The Real Housewives of Orange County,” “Shahs of Sunset,” and “Southern Charm.” Based in Los Angeles, Forstadt reports to Kathleen French, Senior Vice President, Current Production.

Prior to joining Bravo, Forstadt served as VP, Programming and Development at OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network for over four years. While at OWN, Forstadt acted as creative executive on OWN’s original documentaries along with many of OWN’s original docuseries including the Real Screen Award winning “Lindsay.”  Her work as Executive Producer on the film, “Running From Crazy,” garnered her a Primetime Emmy nomination.  

Before her time at OWN, Forstadt was an independent producer and director working on a variety of documentary series and specials. She directed the documentary segments of the “Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show,” served as the showrunner for Sundance Channel’s popular documentary series “Be Good Johnny Weir,” directed Brett Morgen’s Peabody Award-winning series “Nimrod Nation,” and creatively contributed to the debut season of “Iconoclasts” as producer. Additionally, her work creating the video model for Conde Nast’s web-based original programming garnered her a 2008 Emmy Award nomination in the Advanced Media category.

Before breaking out on her own as an independent producer and director, Forstadt spent over seven years at MTV Networks where she worked on and developed several original series including the groundbreaking “Diary.”  Forstadt also contributed extensively to the development, production and direction of shows such as “MTV Jammed,” “MTV Treatment,” “MTV Icon,” and the documentary “Jennifer Lopez: Beyond the Runway.” In 2004, Forstadt was awarded the coveted assignment to direct and produce MTV’s “Choose to Vote” PSA segment for the Super Bowl XXXVII Halftime show, the star-studded piece reached an estimated audience of 140 million viewers worldwide.

Bravo's Project Runway on the new era in fashion.



Brooke Baldwin

Brooke Baldwin is a Peabody Award finalist who anchors CNN Newsroom. She is also the creator and host of CNN's Digital series "American Woman" which focuses on the stories of trailblazing women who have broken barriers in their respective fields and are now helping other women do the same. In addition to holding down two hours in the studio, Baldwin is often sent into the field to the biggest breaking stories in the U.S. and around the world.

Baldwin joined CNN after serving as a lead reporter for the 10 p.m. newscast for WTTG in Washington, D.C., where she covered the shooting massacres at both Virginia Tech and the West Nickel Mines School, a one-room Amish schoolhouse in southeastern Pennsylvania. At WOWK in Charleston/Huntington, West Virginia, she was the morning anchor and reported on the Sago Mine collapse and Martha Stewart's release from federal prison. She began her news broadcasting career at WVIR in Charlottesville, Virginia. Baldwin earned a double bachelor's degree in journalism and Spanish from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. While at UNC, she also studied at the Universidad Ibero Americana in Mexico City.

A few of Baldwin’s recent awards:

In September 2015, she hosted an historic town hall in Washington, D.C. with 40 people who have all been touched by gun violence, including Sandy Hook, Aurora, and WDBJ-TV. That interview landed Baldwin and her team a Peabody Award finalist nomination.

Baldwin was nominated for an Emmy for her coverage of the NYC chokehold death protests in 2014. In 2012, she reported live from Newtown, Connecticut in the days following the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting.

She was part of the network's Peabody-award winning team, covering of the oil spill disaster in the Gulf, the collapse of the Upper Big Branch Coal Mine in West Virginia; and the battle over the fate of the nation's big three automakers. Baldwin worked with the network's Special Investigations Unit to complete her first hour-long documentary "To Catch a Killer" which won a Silver World Medal for Best Investigative Report at the New York Festivals International Television & Film Awards 2012.

Read a quick chat with Brooke Baldwin.


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