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New President of FIA
By Jose Gomez on Thursday, March 01, 2012

To the Tampa Bay Fashion Community,
"In a developing market, let us resist the urge to act like divas, and let's remember that everyone has to start somewhere, and no one is too big to fail. Just ask Sears."
I am honored and thrilled to have been named the successor to Alma Vidovic as the new president of The Fashion Industry Association. I first learned of the FIA about a year ago, and have been in love with its vision ever since. In the last several months, I have participated as a board member in the restructuring of our goals and initiatives. I am happy to say that we now have a strong board, dedicated to the task of making the FIA an important part of what will be the story of Tampa Bay’s rise to becoming a viable and important fashion market. But, our goal is not just a local one - it’s an international vision that I am convinced will be achieved through the use of media, the internet, and the passion of our membership base.

Alma’s vision of bringing industry professionals together to help educate and develop their businesses and careers will continue.  But, our goal this year is to focus on the real needs of our fashion community and meet them in a way that is both unique and relevant. Our Business Seminar Series is just one of several initiatives that you will see from FIA. However, in order to have the impact we are envisioning, we need the participation of our local community. In addition, partnerships with other similarly-minded associations and major fashion events in our area are also absolutely crucial to the mission. I am convinced that a united market is infinitely more powerful than a divided, competing, conflicting one.

I am not alone in this...

So, on my first day as president of FIA, I am issuing a challenge to the Tampa Bay fashion community as well as every other developing fashion market in the world. Find ways to bring the community together and promote your local fashion market as a united front instead of segmenting your community and making people choose between groups. Identify the strengths of the various groups and welcome new groups. Begin creating a framework for cooperation and mutual interest. Have zero tolerance for gossip and encourage face-to-face business interaction.

Above all, find a way to help everyone succeed, especially if it promotes healthy competition and increases market awareness. At the end of the day, fashion without art is emotionless. But, fashion without commerce is invisible. Let us foster a vibrant environment that forces us to continually raise the bar for everything from the garments we create to the events we promote. In a developing market, let us resist the urge to act like divas, and let’s remember that everyone has to start somewhere, and no one is too big to fail. Just ask Sears.

With that, I want to end by thanking all of our members, associates, the board of directors, and the Tampa Bay fashion community for giving me such a warm welcome. So many exciting things are on the way this year, especially during September. I am humbled to have the opportunity to serve you, and I look forward to networking with every one of you.


Jose Gomez, Jr., CEA, MVTA
President of the Fashion Industry Association



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