CFDA reveals finalists of CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund 2021
This year’s finalists include Batsheva Hay of vintage-inspired, New York-based ready-to-wear label Batsheva; Mike Eckhaus and Zoe Latta of 2018 LVMH Prize nominee Eckhaus Latta; Anifa Mvuemba of bold womenswear brand Hanifa; mother and daughter duo Rebecca Henry and Akua Shabaka of House of Aama, and contemporary menswear designer Kenneth Nicholson.
Completing the list of finalists are Jameel Mohammed of Afrofuturist luxury label Khiry; Queens-born womenswear designer LaQuan Smith; Abrima Erwiah of African fashion-focused social enterprise Studio One Eighty Nine; Jamaican-born, Brooklyn-based designer Edvin Thompson of Theophilio, and Californian conceptual menswear designer Willy Chavarria.
The designers are the first to participate in the Fashion Fund’s new format, which opens the program up to emerging designers, as well as past Fashion Fund finalists, and designers who have received funding from the CFDA’s “A Common Thread” initiative, which provided financial relief for members of the fashion community affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
As part of the new format, which has been implemented in an effort to better support designers during the ongoing coronavirus crisis, all ten finalists will not only be granted funding, but will also receive personal mentorship from industry leaders specialized in specific areas of need.
“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,” said Anna Wintour, global editorial director of Vogue and chief content officer of Condé Nast, in a release. “It’s not only a vote of confidence in their talents, but in a brighter future for American fashion.”
“This year’s talented group of Fashion Fund finalists is facing an industry in the process of reinvention and transformation,” added CFDA chairman Tom Ford. “The program’s new format aims to help the designers better navigate and thrive in fashion’s future.”
Both Wintour and Ford serve on the Fashion Fund’s selection committee, alongside Aurora James of Brother Vellies and the 15 Percent Pledge; Chioma Nnadi and Mark Holgate from Vogue; Instagram’s director of fashion partnerships, Eva Chen; model Paloma Elsesser; Saks Fifth Avenue SVP and fashion director Roopal Patel; SVP for designer and new concepts at Nordstrom, Sam Lobban, and CFDA CEO Steven Kolb.
First launched in 2003, the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund aims to support emerging designers and encourage the development of talent in the U.S. fashion industry.
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