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Annually the Council of Fashion Designers of America gathers to recognize "the outstanding contributions made to American fashion by individuals from all areas of the industry and related arts, with awards being given for design excellence in womenswear, menswear and accessories as well as extraordinary accomplishments in journalism, creative vision and lifetime achievement" with fanfare and celebration. Last night Proenza Schouler, Lady Gaga and Alexander Wang were among the winners.

We think that the CFDA could improve on the event by taking a lesson from the James Beard Foundation.

Although each nominee was clearly deserving of recognition, the 12 winning brands/designers do not represent the whole of America like what we experience at the JBF Awards (which include a whopping 59 categories). Additionally, the CFDA awards one International talent (this year Phoebe Philo for Céline) of the twelve while failing to represent creative vision outside New York City. 

It's with the utmost respect and admiration for the CFDA that we suggest building an inclusive American fashion community that embraces a variety of talent. Taking a note from JBF, expanded categories might include books, television programming, webcasts, store design, culture and culture. Much like the best regional chefs in America category, designer and retail store concept nominations could be valuable stepping stones for national awareness as brand strive to achieve outstanding designer achievements.

This expanded scope, in addition to the existing professional development programs like the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund, CFDA Fashion Incubator & Business of Fashion, would assist in expanding reach while inspiring the industry. 

A breadth of nominees is the future.