Last night, the American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA) held its 35th Annual American Image Awards aboard the Intrepid, Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York City. The location was fitting, as this year’s awards helped benefit the Wounded Warrior Project, a nonprofit organization that supports veterans’ recovery when they return home. Many military members were in attendance, members of the West Point Alumni Glee Club serenaded guests several times throughout the ceremony, ending the event with the Battle Hymn of the Republic.
Actor Bill Pullman, famous for his roles in Independence Day, While You Were Sleeping, and most recently the NBC televesion series 1600 Penn, delivered the keynote speech for the event. He discussed the positive effects of the Wounded Warrior Project, his relationship with the military, and addressed the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. Actress Bernadette Peters and actor Brian Stokes Mitchell then went on to present the awards.
Former U.S. Senator of Massachusetts Scott Brown presented the award of Brand of the Year to New Balance Athletic Shoe, Inc. President and CEO Rob DeMartini, who addressed the footwear line’s New England pride. Saks Fifth Avenue Chairman and CEO Stephen I. Sadove and President Ronald Frasch accepted the award for Retailer of the Year from designer Tory Burch, whom they in turned thanked for her continued support. Executive editor of Women’s Wear Daily, Bridget Foley, gave out the Designer of the Year award to Rebecca Minkoff. She spoke about her family’s encouragement and her love of designing from an early age. The Man of the Year honor was awarded to CEO of the Jones Group, Wes Card. He accepted the award from Ken Hicks, chairman and CEO of Foot Locker Inc.
After the ceremony, guests journeyed to the top deck of the vessel to dance under the stars and take in a view of the Manhattan skyline, with the Empire State Building proudly sporting the red, white and blue.