This article is part of a series of interviews conducted by LIM students with members of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA). Students are enrolled in Fashion Merchandising Professor Andrea Kennedy's Introduction to the Fashion Business class.
Before walking into the interview with Marc Karmizadeh, the Director of Editorials and Communications at the CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers of America), our nervousness was at a high, as we did not know what to expect. It turns out we had nothing to worry about. Mr. Karmizadeh is kind-hearted, intelligent, and passionate about his work. Our conversation with him continued even after the interview was over, and we appreciated his encouraging thoughts toward our future journey in the fashion industry. This was our first meeting with a major influencer in the fashion world, and we definitely will never forget it.
Born in Germany, Karmizadeh says he always had an interest in fashion. Karmizadeh grew up reading German Vogue and watching CNN Style. He even attended a book signing for Karl Lagerfeld at age 13. Knowing his skill set, he decided to pursue the business and writing side of the fashion industry. After studying comparative literature at Brown University and English at the University of London, he participated in many internships, one at Harper’s & Queen, now known as Harper’s Bazaar.
Karmizadeh worked at Women’s Wear Daily for 15 years, his first full-time job. “Receiving the position at Women’s Wear Daily was one of the happiest days of my life,” Karmizadeh said. He was a market editor and wrote about hosiery and spandex. He also had the opportunity to review fashion shows and meet famous designers such as Ralph Lauren, Marc Jacobs, and Karl Lagerfeld. After being with the company for many years, Karmizadeh felt he was ready for change and new opportunities to grow, and the move to the CFDA allowed him that opportunity.
As Director of Editorials and Communications presently, Karmizadeh works on internal and external communications. He runs the CFDA website, along with all social media branding, and oversees content on all platforms. He has a team that helps him write for the website and creates a portion of the content as well.
For Karmizadeh, the most rewarding part about working for the CFDA is the organization’s philanthropy, such as fundraisers for breast cancer awareness, HIV/AIDS, disaster relief, and even for the well-being of models.
With the landscape of the fashion industry changing, there is more competition than ever before, so Karmizadeh explained how department stores are struggling to compete with online retailers. He added that casualness has come to invade the workforce and people are no longer dressing as they did before. He believes it is time for the next generation of fashion professionals to find a new, innovative strategy to approach the changing industry.
When asked about career advice for those entering the fashion industry, Karizamdeh said it’s important to always have a point of view and stick to it. He explained that without having something to say, you lose those who are willing to listen. He also said designers' main goal should be to make consumers feel good, and they should create an emotional connection to do this. Finally, he encourages people to never give up on their dreams and to understand that even when things don’t turn out the way they want them to, they can still find fulfillment in life.