2017 Newsmaker: Ilse Metchek, California Fashion Association

Looking for apparel industry statistics? Call Ilse. Business intelligence? Call Ilse. Advice about the impact of upcoming legislation on apparel manufacturing or trends in domestic versus offshore production? Call Ilse.

Ilse Metchek, the president of the California Fashion Association, has an encyclopedic knowledge of apparel- manufacturing practices and a vast contact list that includes everyone from apparel makers, finance executives and attorneys to textile resources, customs brokers and international trade organizations. If she can’t answer your question, no doubt she knows someone who can.

The insider’s insider, Metchek has been with CFA since it was founded in 1995, after a career spent as a designer, a manufacturer and executive director of leasing at the California Market Center (then called the CalMart). When she’s not keeping CFA members informed about key industry issues or helping to promote their projects, Metchek organizes and presides over business seminars on topics such as intellectual-property issues, financing and export opportunities, fashion technology, and consumer-behavior trends.

This year, Metchek presented B2B seminars on the state of the industry at the Las Vegas trade shows, the LA Textile Show, the Fashion Industry Human Resources Association, the YMA Scholarship Fund’s “Hearst Summer Institute” in New York and to several international trade delegations looking to break into the U.S. apparel market.

She is an informational resource for press, lawmakers and educators looking for insight into the apparel industry on hot-topic issues such as California’s strict made-in-the-USA labeling requirements or recent court decisions that are poised to affect how the apparel industry conducts business.

There’s also a philanthropic side to CFA, through its sister organization, the California Fashion Foundation, which supports a number of causes as well as hosts an annual scholarship luncheon and an annual Christmas party for neighborhood children.