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Photo Courtesy Margaret Hayes



Margaret Hayes is the president of Fashion Group International, a non-profit organization providing mentoring, networking, and professional opportunities to those in the fashion industry.


How did you get the idea to start Fashion Group International? What year was that?

Fashion Group was actually founded in 1930 as the first non profit fashion organization established by and for women. Founding members included Eleanor Roosevelt, Elizabeth Arden, Edna Woolman Chase, Lily Dache, Edith Head, Claire McCardell and Carmel Snow.

How has FGI changed since the beginning?

Originally an organization for women only, we have been accepting male members for the last 10 years. The organization has expanded dramatically to include 28 regions on five continents around the world. Our mission, however, is as it was in the beginning: to be the preeminent authority on the business of fashion and to help its members become more effective in their professional lives.

What does your role entail?

As president of Fashion Group International, it is my role to oversee the activities and programming of all our 28 regions; to further the sponsorship opportunities that help fund our events; to ensure that Fashion Group continues to offer our membership programming that presents relevant business intelligence, insights on major trends in person, in print and online and access to industry leaders and peers.

How many members are there in FGI?

How many members were there in the beginning? At its founding, Fashion Group membership numbered 17 women. Today, we have a membership of nearly 5000 men and women engaged in the fashion and design related industries, working throughout our 28 regions.

What are membership benefits?

Annually, FGI develops a full calendar of events and programs relevant to the interests and activities of the membership. Our Membership Directory, published each year, lists the contact information of every FGI member around the world; an invaluable business resource. Our members’ newsletter reports regularly on FGI activities events, while the twice-yearly Trend Report publishes straight-from-the-runway commentary. At the same time, membership offers access to colleagues competitors and peers through continuous networking opportunities.

How did you come up with the idea for the Rising Star Awards?

The concept for Rising Star was developed at an FGI Board of Directors Think Tank 15 years ago as a design competition for emerging talents in eight categories – women’s apparel, men’s apparel, accessories, beauty/fragrance entrepreneur, beauty/fragrance corporate, fine jewelry, home/interior and retail, and is a reflection of Fashion Group’s mission to advance both new and seasoned professionals in the fashion and design industries.

How does a talent get nominated for the Rising Star Awards?

Entrants, who must be in business for 1 to 6 years, are nominated by members of Fashion Group.

Who are some of the Rising Stars up for the awards in January?

The voting isn’t complete yet. Winners will be revealed at the luncheon and awards ceremony on January 26th at Cipriani 42nd Street. In the meantime, a list of finalists is on the FGI website.

What are some of your favorite highlights from past Rising Star events?

Every Rising Star event has its highlights, but, certainly, those highlights would include Rising Star winners who then go on to achieve great success. Stefani Greenfield, founder of Scoop, Paula Dorf of Paula Dorf Cosmetics, Dylan Lauren of Dylan’s Candy Bar; menswear designers Thom Browne and Carlos Campos, and women’s apparel designers Tory Burch, Phillip Lim, Christian Cota and Jason Wu are but a few.

If there was to be a film about FGI, who would play you?

Actually, I’d like to play myself. Failing that, perhaps Meryl Streep.

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