Bethann Hardison To Receive CFDA's Highest Honor For Diversity Efforts

Beauty & Style | Camille Travis | 03/13/2014 | 01:00 PM EDT

Hardison's work to promote culturally diverse runways has payed off

Former model agency owner Bethann Hardison will be fêted by the Council of Fashion Designers of America with its highest honor for her efforts in bringing diversity to the runways.

Designer and CFDA President Diane von Furstenberg announced the news Tuesday afternoon (Mar. 11) while conducting a live interview with supermodel Naomi Campbell at the SiriusXM offices in New York City. Hardison is credited as the founder of Balance Diversity, a coalition that urges designers and casting directors to promote the colorful range of ethnicities.

The industry vet made a huge splash during last year's New York Fashion Week where she released a memo to the CFDA and other organizations demanding change. She called out several top designers including Prada, Versace, Louis Vuitton and more, while tapping iconic supermodels such as Campbell and Iman to promote the campaign.

When asked about her feeling on receiving the honor, Hardison told Fashionista, "When [Diane] said it I knew she wasn't joking, but I couldn't believe it. For her to come in and tell me the good news-- I looked right at Naomi and ran into her arms and started crying."

Hardison will be awarded at the June 2 ceremony at Alice Tully Hall in New York City.

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