The CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund has been reimagined this year to not only award prizes to the top winners, but for all ten finalists of emerging American fashion brands.
According to Vogue, the fashion industry has taken steps to restructure its
“business as usual” mindset in light of effects from the pandemic to be more supportive and inclusive of budding designers.
“After an incredibly challenging time for all of us in fashion, especially here in New York, we’re thrilled that this year we are able to support all of our finalists,” Anna Wintour — global editorial director of Vogue and chief content officer of Condé Nast — shared. “It’s not only a vote of confidence in their talents, but in a brighter future for American fashion.”
Instead of the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund’s normal format to grant one top prize and two awards to runners-up as it has in the past, this year all ten designers — who nearly all happen to be Black talent— will earn their grants and a year of mentorship from industry leaders.
This year’s designers include Batsheva Hay of Batsheva; Mike Eckhaus and Zoe Latta of Eckhaus Latta; Anifa Mvuemba of Hanifa; Rebecca Henry and Akua Shabaka of House of Aama; Kenneth Nicholson; Jameel Mohammed of Khiry; LaQuan Smith; Abrima Erwiah of Studio 189; Edvin Thompson of Theophilio; and Willy Chavarria.
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The CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund — which was founded in the wake of 9/11 — was created with a goal in mind to support and nurture emerging American talent in the fashion industry.
For over 18 years now, it has uplifted young designers who have gone on to become some of American fashion’s most promising stars, including people like Telfar Clemens.
These new grants arrive just after a year plus of industry changes and shrinking budgets as a result of the global pandemic. Vogue reports that this injection of funds coupled with advice from other designers and retailers can help save some of these young businesses.
“This year’s talented group of Fashion Fund finalists is facing an industry in the process of reinvention and transformation,” CFDA chairman Tom Ford shares in a statement. “The program’s new format aims to help the designers better navigate and thrive in fashion’s future.”
Similar to how the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund has been reinvigorated, the hope is that New York Fashion Week will also see some refreshing changes, including appearances from previous fund recipients like Kerby Jean-Raymond of Pyer Moss.