THE HISTORY BEHIND IFDA
The concept of women playing a greater role in the industry, combined with a commitment to enhance the fashion image of its products, propelled six women in the curtain and drapery industry to meet over lunch in New York City, April 22, 1947. Recruited by Claire (Kohn) Coleman, a trade publication reporter, to discuss the limited impact – and prospects – they had in their respective careers, the women concurred on the value of a forum for the exchange of ideas and information within the home furnishings field.
The six colleagues around that lunch table soon became 13, then 40, and then 60. Committees were formed to draft a constitution and bylaws, to select officers, to define goals, and to plan a membership drive. As word of this fledgling group spread, the interest expanded well beyond the decorative fabrics industry.
The name chosen for the group, National Home Fashions League, reflected its directions. Its most immediate goals were “to increase the prestige and broaden the potentialities of the women in the industry; to bring together women in related fields to exchange ideas; to meet established professional women through lectures, forums and other programming; and to offer opportunities and training for members and others who would like to advance themselves through clinics and scholarships.” It was also planned to reach out to the industry and consumers with a fashion message.