CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Nominates a Record Number of Black Designers

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The monumental win for black designers is worth celebrating, but it also comes with more than a few caveats. Most notably, there are no black women nominated this year. It also reflects a distinct lack of diversity for the award overall, given that, since it began in 2003, only three finalists have been black, biracial or multiracial: 2011’s Carly Cushnie of Cushnie et Ochs; 2013’s Maxwell Osborne of Public School; and 2015’s Aurora James of Brother Vellies, according to Fashionista

This isn't the first time that Diversity within the fashion industry hasn’t been contained to just the designers making the clothes. On the runway, many designers’ collections are worn by models, that also fail to reflect diversity. For the fall '17 season shows in New York, London, Paris and Milan, 72.1 percent of the models were white, and only 27.9 percent were women of colour. But, for some designers, like Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons, there hasn’t been a single black model on their runway in over a decade (until its most recent menswear presentation).

It’s important to celebrate the strides made in the industry, it’s also important to reflect on the piecemeal approach we’ve become accustomed to. It’s huge that someone like Telfar Clemens, the designer as best known for his killer collections as he is for the DJ sets he spins at Venus X’s GHE20G0TH1K parties, is in the running for the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund award. It’s also reflective of the uphill battle that black designers must to go through to find success in the industry. 

Christopher Bevans of Dyne

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Aesthetic: Dyne sits at the harmonious intersection of wearable tech's cutting edge and athleisure’s sleek-sporty appeal.

Career Highlights: Bevans worked with Nova's Tony Melillo, and helmed teams at Sean John and Nike, prior to launching Dyne in 2015.

Must-haves: Performance popovers that are as well suited for efficient airport travel, as they are for attacking a strenuous hike.

Telfar Clemens of Telfar

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Aesthetic: Long before Gigi Hadid and Zayn, the Telfar collection was exploring gender neutral territory, along with retro-modernist minimalism.

Career Highlights: Clemens is longtime friends with Hood By Air's Shayne Oliver, with whom he has often DJ'd at nightlife icon Venus X's legendary GHE20G0TH1K parties.

Must-Haves: Telfar's logo-medallion embossed leather totes are pure anti-establishment luxury.

Victor Glemaud of Victor Glemaud

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Aesthetic: Art-informed alta-moda knitwear comprises the core of the Victor Glemaud collection assortment

Career Highlights: A graduate of F.I.T., Glemaud worked for years as a fashion publicist at powerhouse firm KCD, before simultaneously designing both the men's and women's Tommy Hilfiger collections.

Brand must-haves: Slashed Smedley-style jumpers and décolletage-baring fine gauge styles (of which Selena Gomez is a fan).

Matthew Harris of Mate

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Aesthetic: Mateo purveys fine jewellery with updated Art Deco influences, classic in its simplicity and contemporary in its creativity.

Career Highlights: Harris earned a B.S. in Hospitality Management prior to dedicating his efforts to jewellery design and launching Mateo in 2009.

Brand must-haves: Fall 2017's collection featuring a modernist re-envisioning of pearls in an inarguably timely manner

Ash Allibhai