Last week the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) announced its first-ever class of “interim” members. The new tier, which waives and then discounts membership fees for the first three years (year one is free), was created to function as a pipeline to full CFDA membership for promising emerging designers who likely don’t yet have the capital to swing the costs of full CFDA membership.
Among the inaugural interim class are several up-and-coming fashion designers, and a name known very well to fine fashion jewelry devotees: Lauren Harwell Godfrey. The Northern California-based fine jewelry designer ad founder of the Harwell Godfrey brand has been a superstar within the industry for years, but is now clearly positioned to jettison into the larger fashion-sphere. Top stylists and fashion editors are already clued in—Sarah Jessica Parker wore a Harwell Godfrey ring on the cover of Vogue in December.
The designer’s colorful, bold and high-end jewelry has aesthetic roots in ancient patterns: it utilizes intricate geometrics to realize designs that feel brand new, but also grounded and meaningful.
“It’s an incredible honor to be accepted into an organization that counts so many of my fashion heroes as members,” Harwell Godfrey told The Zing Report. “Personally, it signifies being a part of the conversation surrounding what is happening in American Fashion today, and that’s incredibly exciting.”
The designer first connected with the CFDA in 2020 when the organization’s president, CaSandra Diggs, reached out to her after seeing this New York Times article written by journalist Tanya Dukes, who interviewed her about being a Black designer in the fine jewelry industry. “It was very gratifying to be on their radar,” the designer recalls feeling after talking to Diggs and others in the organization. “And when I found out last December that the invitation was official, well, I freaked out!”
Harwell Godfrey’s also delighted that membership tethers her and her brand to the NYC fashion community, explaining, “I’m based in the San Francisco Bay Area, and it can be challenging at times because the fashion community isn’t as robust here. Being a part of the CFDA brings me so much closer to that community despite the physical distance.”
And as an interim member, she’ll have the chance to take advantage of business development guidance and support, along with individual mentoring and industry introductions.
“As an independent business without investors, having this kind of support is invaluable,” she asserts. “I’m grateful that the CFDA saw something in my work that they believe is worth supporting and fostering. I am beyond excited about the connections and opportunities it will hopefully offer.” — Emili Vesilind
Top photo: Harwell Godfrey 18k gold and gemstone cuff bracelet with stone beads and diamonds, $28,000 (all photos courtesy of Harwell Godfrey)