Hailed as the award-winning creator of New York Fashion Week, Fern Mallis has been called an industry titan, doyenne, and The Godmother of Fashion. As the creator and host of premiere conversation series Fashion Icons w/Fern Mallis at New York’s prestigious 92nd Street Y, Mallis assembled an incredible roster of guests for her now signature in-depth interviews, including Calvin Klein, Donna Karan, Tommy Hilfiger, Tom Ford, Michael Kors, Diane von Fürstenberg, Polly Mellen, Marc Jacobs, Vera Wang, Oscar de la Renta, André Leon Talley, Bruce Weber, Bill Cunningham, Valentino, Leonard A. Lauder, Tim Gunn, Victoria Beckham, Rosita and Angela Missoni, Alexander Wang, Russell Westbrook, Bob Mackie and Christian Louboutin, to name just a few.
Mallis is widely and consistently photographed and quoted in the fashion press and broadcast media. She has been frequently featured on televised fashion and news magazine programs, including Project Runway, America’s Next Top Model, She's Got the Look, Bloomberg TV, and was a host with Isaac Mizrahi and Kelly Rowland on The Fashion Show. She is continuously featured on many podcasts, radio shows, and fashion industry news outlets.
Mallis is the recipient of a great many industry awards and accolades. She’s received the Fashion Maverick Award from American Apparel and Footwear Association, Woman of the Year Leadership Award from Concern Worldwide, Fashion Legacy Award from the Fashion Chamber of Commerce State of Style Awards, Special Award from the Diversity Affluence Organization, and the Leadership Award from the Fashion Center BID, among others. She was honored by Pratt Institute with their 2012 Fashion Industry Lifetime Achievement Award – presented to her by designer Calvin Klein. In May 2013, she was presented with the rarely bestowed Fashion Institute of Technology President’s Lifetime Achievement Award, delivering the keynote commencement address. She’s been featured in the BoF (Business of Fashion) 500: The People Shaping the Global Fashion Industry, and in 2014 was inducted into the first BoF 500 Hall of Fame. In 2018, Fern was awarded with the Humanitarian Award by the David Lynch Foundation during their annual Women of Vision Luncheon.
A founding board member of the Design Industries Foundation Fighting Aids (DIFFA), Mallis also served on the Board of The Partnership for the Homeless and created their Furnish a Future program. She was also instrumental in the creation and success of The Heart Truth's Red Dress Initiative for Women's Heart Disease. The “Sidewalk Catwalk” themed exhibition in NY’s Fashion district — an outdoor display of 32 mannequins created by the industry’s leading designers on Broadway from 35th Street to 42nd Street during the summer of 2010, was chaired by Mallis. She was instrumental in the creation and worldwide licensing of Fashion Targets Breast Cancer — a campaign that has generated well over $100 million in donations for hundreds of breast cancer organizations worldwide. She oversaw two editions of the highly successful fundraiser "7th on Sale," which grossed more than $8 million for AIDS charities.
Mallis has also raised considerable money for design scholarships and numerous other initiatives to benefit designers and the industry at large.
Former Senior VP of IMG Fashion, Mallis served as IMG's "Ambassador" and traveled to international fashion capitals to provide her expertise in creating and organizing fashion events and establishing international marketing and communications platforms. She has judged fashion shows and competitions around the world, and mentored fashion students on how to succeed in fashion careers. As former Executive Director of the Council of Fashion Designers of America from 1991 to 2001, she furthered the organization's original charter to promote American fashion as a "recognized branch of American art and culture.” She also organized 10 annual CFDA Fashion Awards Galas.
Mallis is currently President of her own fashion and design consultancy, formed to "advise, consult and create,” working with international and domestic fashion, lifestyle and design companies on branding, image, creative business strategies, and event production. She is on the Board of Directors for FIT Foundation in New York.
She’s consultant and been advisor to regional Fashion Weeks in Charleston, St. Louis, Philadelphia, Nashville, Indiana, and has created mentorship programs for Seoul Fashion Week. Fern is on the Advisory Board of New York City Jewelry Week and an Ambassador for Stonewall’s 50th Anniversary in New York City.
In addition to her 92Y Fashion Icons series, she created and hosted her own radio show, Fashion Insiders w/Fern Mallis on Sirius XM, interviewing industry personalities, celebrities, and professionals. In the three years her radio show was on the air, Mallis conducted over 400 fashion interviews. In January 2012, she made her theatre stage debut in the Off-Broadway production of Nora & Delia Ephron’s Love, Loss, and What I Wore. Mallis also created her own globally inspired FERN FINDS: jewelry, clothing and accessories line for QVC and HSN.
In April 2015, Fern Mallis released her book Fashion Lives: Fashion Icons with Fern Mallis, published by Rizzoli USA. The much lauded compendium of nineteen of her 92Y interviews, includes an array of intimate never-before-seen images detailing family histories and behind the scenes lives of the interviewees. The book launch, held at Saks Fifth Avenue, featured the book in all 16 windows on 5th Avenue and side streets. The party was attended by the who’s who of the fashion industry. The book is currently available at all major book stores, as well as Amazon.com, and in various specialty stores. In Spring 2017, Fashion Lives was published and released in Japan.
As an inspirational public speaker, Mallis makes numerous regular appearances both here in the US and abroad.