CFDA and Vogue Announce Fashion Fund Finalists

In a sign that sound creative talent is always heard, the Council of Fashion Designers of America and Vogue have revealed the finalists for the 2021 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund.

However unmoored many in the fashion industry may be after one rocky year, rest assured that 10 up-and-comers are vying for the CVFF.

This year’s nominees are 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 of Kenneth Nicholson; Jameel Mohammed of Khiry; LaQuan Smith of LaQuan Smith; Abrima Erwiah of Studio One Eighty Nine; Edvin Thompson of Theophilio, and Willy Chavarria of Willy Chavarria.

Reflective of the trying year that many have had throughout the industry, this year all of the finalists will receive funds and mentorship, based on their designated areas of need. The total amount that is being awarded was not disclosed.

CFDA chairman Tom Ford said in a statement, “This year’s talented group of Fashion Fund finalists is facing an industry in the process of reinvention and transformation. The program’s new format aims to help the designers better navigate and thrive in fashion’s future.”

The approach is meant to relay how the CFDA and Vogue believe in the young American designer community and want to continue to nurture, support and empower it,” according to a statement provided by the CVFF.

Those who could have applied included on-the-rise designers, previous CVFF finalists and designers who had received funding from last year’s “A Common Thread” initiative, which was set up to give a helping hand to fashion talents that were impacted by the coronavirus crisis.

Anna Wintour, Vogue’s global editorial director and Condé Nast’s chief content officer, said in a statement, “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 our finalists. It’s not only a vote of confidence in their talents, but in a brighter future for American fashion.”

The CVFF sprung from another troubling economic time. The fund was established in 2003 following the financial fallout from the 9/11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.

This year’s round of designers was chosen by the 2021 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Selection Committee. That group is composed of Vogue’s Wintour, Chioma Nnadi and Mark Holgate, as well as Ford, the CFDA’s Steven Kolb, Nordstrom’s Sam Lobban, model and activist Paloma Elsesser, Saks Fifth Avenue’s Roopal Patel and Brother Vellies’ Aurora James, who created the 15 Percent Pledge calling on major retailers to increase representation by dedicating at least 15 percent of their shelf space to Black-owned businesses.

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