An overview of the International Furnishing and Design Association

Started in 1947, the International Furnishings and Design Association is the solitary all-industry body whose professional members offer products and services to the design and furnishings industry. IFDA is the source of power, through its services and programs, to enhance the stature and professionalism of the industry internationally. But it doesn't stop there; the IFDA is also involved in an educational foundation and active membership.

The International Furnishing and Design Association is a global professional union of leaders engaging in the wide range of industries that represent the world of commercial and residential furnishing and design. The International Furnishing and Design Association enter its 59th year in 2006. The community of IFDA members today embraces manufacturers, distributors, designers, and writers; sellers of furniture, wall coverings, floor coverings, window coverings, decorative fabrics, lighting, accessories and construction products. IFDA network also includes those who are engaged in contract and residential design, graphic, education, licensing, publishing, communications and marketing.

Over the course of almost 60 years the association has undergone major developments. Commenced as the Home Fashions League with a core of six women in the textile industry in New York, the goals of the group were to raise the prestige and widen the women's potential in the industry; to unify women in associated fields to swap over ideas; to meet recognized professional women on the forums, lectures and other training programs; and to provide opportunities and education for members who would like to make progress through scholarships and clinics.

A lot of things have changed since the first official board conference of the League in 1948. In 1949 IFDA membership extended to 237 as administrative women in all segments of home furnishing and designs were offered the membership. From 1949 till 1957 eight local chapters throughout the country were founded and integrated. The League issued its first membership code in 1959 and established its pioneer national office in Dallas, Texas, in 1964. In 1970, IFDA Educational Foundation was incorporated to help control the philanthropic and educational activities of the association.

As the International Furnishing and Design Association grew, gaining more members and more chapters, its top management acknowledged the need to introduce two key changes: in 1986 men were allowed to join as full members, and incurrent name of IFDA was chosen in 1988.

At the same time so much has changed within the International Furnishing and Design Association over the past sixty years, the board of IFDA says its objectives have remained effectively the same even while its membership has turned out to be more diverse. "IFDA is an association of executives from all aspects of the design and furnishing industry from manufacturing to publications to communications to interior design. Our association covers all the bases," one of the board's members says.

"The International Furnishing and Design Association provide an expert forum for interaction and communication amongst a variety of disciplines inside the industry. We are, possibly, the most multi-facet association within the design and furnishing industry. We have fifteen chapters across the country and an enormous membership around the world," adds the executive.

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