Black Designers are Acknowledged More Than Ever for the 2017 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund

In its 14-year history this is highest amount of black nominees. Four brands out of the ten finalists are captained by black designers.

 Models walk the runaway at Nicholas K show during New York Fashion Week. Photo: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for IMG

Models walk the runaway at Nicholas K show during New York Fashion Week. Photo: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for IMG

Established in 2003, the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund has provided support to a number of notable brands (including Alexander Wang, and Public School). Previous winners have been given $400,000 in funding to help further their brand and even mentorship from fashion legends, such as Diane Von Furstenberg and.

When the announcement was made on Monday out of the ten finalists four were black – the highest in its 14-year history. The four black designers are: Christopher Bevans of DYNE (is morphing fashion and technology with his luxe athleisure), Telfar Clemens of Telfar (explores the intersection of art and fashion), Victor Glemaud of Victor Glemaud (luxury knitwear), and Matthew Harris of MATEO (centred on jewellery and leather goods).

All 10 finalists are to receive mentorship and guidance by industry executives and prominent designers, leading up to the final runway show which will be hosted at the Chateau Marmont in October. The winner and two runners-up will be announced in New York on November.

The ceremony has boasted a large number of black applicants but in its history only three winners of the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund have been black designers: Carly Cushnie of 2011 (Cushnie et Ochs), Maxwell Osborne of 2013 (Public School), and Aurora James of 2015 (Brother Vellies).

Nonetheless, it seems as though the industry is collectively trying to fix the diversity problem that has long plagued the fashion industry. At this year’s NYFW (Spring) every major brand featured a model of colour and 31.5% of the models, overall, were not white.

The CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Selection Committee also welcomes four new judges, in addition to the regulars such as, CFDA Chairwoman Diane von Furstenberg and CFDA President and CEO Steven Kolb. The new additions are past CVFF winner Joseph Altuzarra and Eva Chen, Roopal Patel (Saks Fifth Avenue's Senior Vice President and Fashion Director) and Vogue Runway's Director Nicole Phelps.

However, Business of Fashion has reported that Vogue editor-in-chief and CVFF will not be amongst the rejuvenated judge’s panel.