Newsmaker: Ilse Metchek, California Fashion Association
For decades now, Ilse Metchek has been the go-to person if you want inside information on anything going on in the California apparel world.
She is often referred to as “the Queen” of the L.A. fashion industry because of her vast knowledge and varied background. She has worked as a designer, apparel company owner, the executive director of leasing at the California Market Center and ultimately the president of the California Fashion Association, where she has been since its founding in 1995.
As head of the CFA, whose 210 members are clothing makers, textile manufacturers, finance people, attorneys, customs brokers and international-trade organizations, she organizes business seminars on subjects that range from how to protect your trademark and brand to how to turn your fashion idea into a sustained business model. Many of these seminars are presented during major trade shows such as MAGIC and during Los Angeles market weeks.
She is always on top of legislative bills, free-trade-agreement issues and legal rulings and their effect on California clothing businesses. She also keeps the apparel industry informed about what is going on in the state legislature in Sacramento, Calif.—and is ready to give her opinion.
This year, she was instrumental in rounding up opposition to Assembly Bill 2379, known as the Polyester Bill. It would have required that all clothing made from more than 50 percent polyester include a label warning of plastic microfiber shedding, recommending that items be hand-washed to reduce microfiber shedding.
The bill was never brought to a vote on the Assembly floor by the June 1 deadline and is no longer active.
The philanthropic arm of her organization is the California Fashion Foundation, which supports a number of causes and every year organizes funding for scholarships, presented at a luncheon for fashion students. It also hosts an annual Christmas party for needy children.