Meet the 2021 CFDA/’Vogue’ Fashion Fund Finalists

The Fund returns in a new format that awards grants and personal mentorship to all 10 designers.

Looks from the LaQuan Smith Fall 2020 collection.

Looks from the LaQuan Smith Fall 2020 collection.

Almost two decades ago, after Sept. 11 — which suspended New York Fashion Week and left several young designers without a show or hope for a future — Vogue and the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) teamed up and created a joint Fashion Fund, through which emerging design talent could compete to win a monetary prize and mentorship.

Over the years, brands including Brother Vellies, Tanya Taylor, Bode, Pyer Moss, Jonathan Cohen, Chromat, Glemaud, Veronica Beard, Telfar, Sandy Liang and Christopher John Rogers have participated in the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund. Then in 2020, the industry faced another business-halting hurdle: the Covid-19 pandemic. The Fund’s immediate response was to press pause on the annual competition and instead launch a fundraising initiative called “A Common Thread” to provide relief to U.S. fashion businesses. Now, it’s coming back — only in a new format.

Instead of presenting one top prize and two awards to runners-up as it has in the past, the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund will offer grants and personal mentorship with industry leaders to all 10 American brands named as finalists. The application was opened up to emerging designers, as well as to past CVFF finalists and to recipients of funding from “A Common Thread.”

“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 in a statement. “It’s not only a vote of confidence in their talents, but in a brighter future for American fashion.”

The 2021 finalists, which were announced on Tuesday, include buzzy brands like LaQuan Smith and Hanifa, as well as New York Fashion Week favorites like Batsheva and Eckhaus Latta.

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

See below for the full list of finalists, and stay tuned through the fall for more CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund developments. Congrats to the very deserving class of 2021!

Batsheva (women’s ready-to-wear), Batsheva Hay
Eckhaus Latta (women’s ready-to-wear), Mike Eckhaus and Zoe Latta,
Hanifa (women’s ready-to-wear), Anifa Mvuemba
House of Aama (men’s and women’s ready-to-wear), Rebecca Henry and Akua Shabaka
Kenneth Nicholson (menswear), Kenneth Nicholson
Khiry (jewelry), Jameel Mohammed
LaQuan Smith (women’s ready-to-wear), LaQuan Smith
Studio One Eighty Nine (men’s and women’s ready-to-wear), Abrima Erwiah
Theophilio (men’s and women’s ready-to-wear), Edvin Thompson
Willy Chavarria (menswear), Willy Chavarria

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