About Us

The California Fashion Association (CFA) was organized in 1995, as a non-profit public benefit 501(c)(6) Corporation.  The CFA has now been the association for the apparel and textile community for 20 years.


The CFA was the outcome of Fashion Industry Round Table, hosted by then Mayor Richard Riordan. The meeting was in response to circumstances surrounding an egregious act of subverted labor law issues, commonly called the ‘El Monte Sweatshop’ incident.

At that meeting, participants agreed that an industry organization was necessary to answer the questions of the media and other groups, to gather significant statistics, on-going data, and instigate cooperative efforts with city, state, and federal officials investigating the incident, on behalf of the apparel & textile industry at large.

Ilse Metchek, then the General Manager of the California Mart, was designated to act as the temporary Executive Director of the newly formed California Fashion Association.  At the same time, Mr. Lonnie Kane, President and owner of the manufacturing firm, Karen Kane Corporation, volunteered to act as Chairman of the newly formed group.

Since then, the CFA has become a multi-pronged Association, dealing with all the significant issues affecting the apparel and textile industry of California. Ms. Metchek has subsequently assumed the Presidency of the California Fashion Association and has continued to grow the individual corporate memberships, with an outreach to allied associations globally. Mr. Kane is still the Chairman; the industry is clearly in his debt.

In 1999, the California Fashion Foundation was created “from the heart of the CFA” as the fund raising arm of the CFA. It is a non-profit (C-3) public benefit program that creates yearly events and fund raising opportunities for scholarships and other defined charities allied to the fashion industry.

Newsmaker: Ilse Metchek, President, California Fashion Association

By Alison A. Nieder

Thursday, December 7, 2017

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.

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