Rick Helfenbein is the former president and CEO of the American Apparel & Footwear Association, the national trade association representing more than 1,000 brands in the apparel, footwear, and accessories industry. Rick is credited with overseeing a full overhaul of the operation including comprehensive rebranding, including a new logo and web site, and revamped management systems. Rick often appears on TV networks including CNBC, CNN, Fox Business, and BBC, marking a considerable shift in media strategy and outreach. He also has written numerous op-eds for The Hill, Forbes, WWD, Sourcing Journal, Just-Style and Morning Consult.
Previously, Rick was president of all USA operations for Luen Thai Holding Limited. Luen Thai is the largest publicly listed apparel manufacturing and supply chain services company on the Hong Kong Exchange. The company manufactures clothing, shoes and accessories for some of the most recognized brands in the industry, including Polo Ralph Lauren, Coach, Adidas and Michael Kors. Prior to his appointment, Rick was Chairman of the AAFA Board of Directors from March 2014 to February 2016, and had served on the board of directors since 2008.
Rick has several years of experience in the apparel, footwear, and accessories industry, and has been cited as one of the creators of the original Le Tigre brand, plus helped to engineer the split between Izod and Lacoste. He also introduced Burlington Industries to the apparel market and has extensive experience with manufacturing in the USA, Asia and Latin America. Rick holds a Bachelor of Science in Economics from the Wharton Business School. He participates in the Consortium for Operational Excellence in Retailing at Wharton and Harvard and lectures often at prestigious universities around the world.