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United Legwear, American Eagle, Birkenstock Among American Image Award Honorees

It’s been a whirlwind year for the apparel and footwear industries, but certain brands, retailers and individuals have emerged as bright spots in 2018.

Announcing the honorees for its 2019 AAFA American Image Awards Tuesday, the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA), said the awards will take place on April 15, 2019 at the Plaza Hotel in New York City.

“For more than four decades, AAFA has brought together the industry’s best to celebrate incredible honorees, in a setting that is fitting of their influence,” AAFA president and CEO Rick Helfenbein, said in a statement. “There is no other event like this, that showcases designers, brands, manufacturers, business leaders, and media personalities to celebrate fashion’s future and throw a spotlight on those who are revolutionizing the world’s most influential business.”

Here’s a look at the companies—and people—that will be honored for their efforts in the industry.

Person of the Year – Isaac E. Ash, CEO of United Legwear & Apparel Co.

Isaac founded United Legwear & Apparel Co. (ULAC) in 1998 and under his leadership, the company has grown into a major global designer, manufacturer, and distributor of legwear, bodywear, apparel, bags, and accessories. A joint venture partner of Puma, licensee of Skechers, Champion, Fortnite, Starter, Weatherproof, and Pro Player, and owner of the lifestyle brand Fun Socks, ULAC works with the world’s best-known retailers and is renowned for high-quality products with great value. ULAC is also known as a company with compassion and a commitment to giving back.

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Retailer of the Year – American Eagle Outfitters, Inc.

AEO Inc. is a leading global specialty retailer that has provided high-quality, on trend clothing, accessories and personal care products for more than 40 years. Under its American Eagle and Aerie brands, the company operates more than 1,000 stores in the United States, Canada, Mexico, China and Hong Kong, and ships to 81 countries worldwide. By focusing on its customers’ individual styles, sourcing innovative fabrics and offering fits for all sizes, AEO Inc. remains at the forefront of retail and the American Eagle and Aerie brands have positioned themselves as market leaders. The award will be accepted by Jay Schottenstein, Executive Chairman of the Board and CEO of AEO Inc.

Company of the Year Birkenstock

Birkenstock footwear is sold in more than 100 countries worldwide. The German brand has a shoemaking heritage dating back over 240 years and invented the contoured footbed.  Birkenstock has been available in the U.S. for more than 50 years and opened its first U.S.-based store in SoHo in 2018. Several high-profile fashion collaborations and a tightly managed retail distribution strategy have been a part of the company’s exponential growth over the past five years. The award will be accepted by David Kahan, CEO of Birkenstock Americas.

Designer of the Year – Eileen Fisher

Eileen Fisher has worked tirelessly to build consciousness and awareness in the apparel industry on issues of social responsibility, sustainability, and human rights. The brand leads its sector as an agent of change, and has become a movement. Company Founder and Chairwoman Eileen Fisher will accept the award.