FIT Talks: Fern Mallis Interview

Special Collections and College Archives


FIT Talks: Fern Mallis Interview
Contributor Names
Mallis, Fern, 1948-
Dillon, Phyllis (Interviewer)
Date Digitized
Phyllis Dillon speaks with Fern Mallis about her career in the fashion industry. Mallis discusses her time as a young woman working in the coveted Guest Editorship position at Madamoiselle magazine, and her time living at the Barbazon Hotel for Women. She goes on to discuss her time working for the magazine as an employee in her years after college, and the other jobs she took after leaving Madamoiselle. She then describes how she learned about the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), what led up to her being hired by them, and her development of New York Fashion Week. She discusses how vastly the industry has changed due to the rise of the prevalence and influence of technology, and issues with sustainability and how detrimental the fashion industry is to the environment. She finally speaks about her time on the FIT Board.
Fern Mallis helped transform the fashion business in the 1990s from a loosely connected group of small and large companies, into a business sector with cultural clout, influence, and a distinctive identity, when she ran and professionalized the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) as it showcased in centralized fashion shows in tents in Bryant Park. As Senior Vice President at IMG Fashion along with running NY Fashion Week, she also led new fashion weeks in cities all over the world, elevating fashion into popular culture internationally. She has participated in all parts of the industry, and has a very unique vantage point to observe and understand its recent history. Aside from her interesting and pivotal jobs, she has pioneered fashion education and entertainment for Sirius Radio and at the 92nd Street Y. Based on her wide program interviews, her book Fashion Minds, Fashion Icons with Fern Mallis, is a profound record of the career achievements of 19 fashion leaders. She serves on advisory boards that are pioneering fundraising for AIDS and breast cancer, and receive many awards. She's on the Board of Directors of FIT, received two lifetime achievement awards from Pratt Institute and FIT, and was inducted into the Business of Fashion Hall of Fame in 2014.
Moving Image
Oral histories
Fashion Institute of Technology (New York, N.Y.)
Mallis, Fern, 1948-
Clothing trade
New York Fashion Week
New York (State)
New York (State)--New York
Related Materials
Finding Aid
In Copyright
This video was produced by the Fashion Institute of Technology ("FIT") and is the property of FIT. FIT expressly prohibits the copying, displaying, or uploading to a website of any portion of this video, except for the purposes of fair use as defined in the copyright laws, without express written permission from FIT. This video has been made available online by the Fashion Institute of Technology Gladys Marcus Library strictly for research and educational purposes. If you are the copyright holder for content in this video and have any objections to this work being made available online, please notify us immediately at [email protected].
FIT Repository ID: aod_000618
SPARC reference code: US.NNFIT.SC.FITA.


Special Collections and College Archives


FIT Talks oral history series, 2014-


Guest Speakers


Fashion Institute of Technology. (2019, July 10). FIT Talks: Fern Mallis Interview [Video]. Archive on Demand.
Fashion Institute of Technology. "FIT Talks: Fern Mallis Interview." Archive on Demand, 10 Jul. 2019,
Fashion Institute of Technology, "FIT Talks: Fern Mallis Interview," Archive on Demand, July 10, 2019, video,