How the CFDA and Fashion Heavyweights are Helping Independent Designers and Factories

Martin Lerma

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The Council of Fashion Designers of America (the CFDA) is launching its second round of grants, which in total amount to nearly $5 million, to support the fashion industry as it maps a road to recovery post-pandemic.

In the second round, $2,015,000 will be distributed in a multi-pronged strategy. Thirty-six companies––including brands, retailers, factories and two other businesses––will split $1,015,000, just over half of that amount. The CFDA and Vogue will also make a joint $1 million donation to ICON 360, a new non-profit founded by Brandice Daniel of Harlem’s Fashion Row specifically designed to aid designers of color forced to pivot during lockdown.

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“The global pandemic continues to impact the entire fashion industry, which needs our support now more than ever,” said Tom Ford, Chairman of the CFDA, in a statement. “This second round of funding allows us to help additional brands, retailers, and factories through the severe challenges of this time. We are also incredibly pleased to be able to provide funding to the new ICON 360 grant program from Harlem’s Fashion Row, which supports designers of color and reinforces CFDA’s important work to create systemic change within our industry.”

But in an important move that recognizes fashion is more than just designers and retailers, the CFDA’s Fashion Manufacturing Initiative (FMI) also partnered with the New York City Economic Development Corporation to donate $500,000 to New York City-based fashion manufacturers and their workforce. The donation was made with support from Theory owner Andrew Rosen and fellow titan Ralph Lauren.

To do so, the FMI arranged its budget to reallocate funding for A Common Thread to use as microgrant investments. These in turn help cover expenses manufacturers incurred due to the disruption of business as a result of months of forced closure.

Recipients of these most recent grants include: Adam Lippes, Alabama Chanin, Naeem Khan, Tabitha Simmons, Indigenous Designs, Hero Shop, Circular Systems. To date, A Common Thread has raised $4.9 million.

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