It seems like the fashion industry is making a collective effort to remedy its notorious diversity problem. This year, every major NYFW show featured a model of color and, overall, 31.5 percent of the runway models were non-white. A new milestone was reached Monday when the ten finalists for the 2017 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund were announced: four of the nominated brands are led by a black designer — the highest number in the 14-year history of the fund.
There’s Telfar Clemens of Telfar, who explores the intersection of art and fashion. Last year, he staged an exhibition titled TELFAR: RETROSPECTIVE at the Berlin Biennial, creating mannequins of different genders and body types in his likeness and displaying a family portrait series shot by Asger Carlsen. Christopher Bevans, who is morphing fashion and technology with his luxe athleisure, NFC-capable brand DYNE. Rounding out the list is Matthew Harris of the jewelry and leather goods brand Mateo and Victor Glemaud of the luxury knitwear brand Victor Glemaud.
Established in 2003, the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund has provided support to a number of notable brands (including Public School, Alexander Wang, and Proenza Schouler). Past winners have been blessed with $400,000 in funding and mentorship from industry legends like Andrew Rosen and Diane Von Furstenberg.
Only three winners of the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund have been black designers: Carly Cushnie of 2011 winner Cushnie et Ochs, Maxwell Osborne of 2013 winner Public School, and Aurora James of 2015 winner Brother Vellies. The winner and two runner-ups (who will each receive $150,000) will be announced November 6.