Ilse Metchek | Photo courtesy of California Fashion Association

Ilse Metchek | Photo courtesy of California Fashion Association


Newsmakers 2020: Ilse Metchek, Fashion Insider, Continues to Make Changes

Ilse Metchek, president of the California Fashion Association trade group, has long been one of the insiders of California fashion, along with being an advocate for the industry. She’s uniquely qualified to be called an insider’s insider and an industry advocate because there are few who share her track record of working in almost every area of fashion.

During this pandemic year, the CFA has broadened its membership criteria. Membership was extended to those making sewn products, or personal protective equipment such as masks and gowns. Since August, the organization has produced a Zoom seminar series in collaboration with Black Design Collective.

Metchek also continued to speak about industry issues in newspaper columns, interviews with journalists, as well as talks with fashion students. At the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, she has sponsored the Hank Pola Scholarship, named for her late husband, though the initiative was placed on hiatus this year.

Through her work, Metchek has aimed to keep fashion leaders a step ahead of news headlines. In a recent column for California Apparel News, she advised readers that change would continue to come at a lightning-fast pace.

“The world of fashion is changing,” she wrote. “It is certainly a challenge but also a great opportunity for the companies that grab all new concepts and run with them. Technology and continual testing can create the environment for innovation; all products and brands will grow and benefit by listening, experimenting and implementing.”