Bethann Hardison and the Council of Fashion Designers of America have revealed the 10 recipients of funding from the Designers Hub grant.
Established by Hardison with help from the CFDA, the Designers Hub champions Black designers and Black-owned fashion brands and businesses, offering guidance and growth opportunities. Made possible by the CFDA‘s and Vogue’s “A Common Thread” fund and supported by Tom Ford International, the financial support is geared for businesses dealing with economic fallout caused by the coronavirus crisis.
The 10 recipients are Aisha McShaw; House of Aama’s Akua Shabaka; Ashya’s Ashley Cimone and Maya Annece; Azede’s Azede Jean-Pierre; Jamall Osterholm; Third Crown’s Kristin and Kofi Essel; Oak & Acorn’s Miko Underwood; Edas’ Sade Mims; Salone Monet, and Bed on Water’s Shantell Campbell.
In total, $150,000 is being distributed among the 10 recipients with each receiving about $15,000. After reuniting with the members of the Designers Hub in June for the first time since February, Hardison wanted to know how they were doing and she learned about the struggles they were facing.
To determine how the financial support would be doled out, she considered those who didn’t have the opportunity to get funding either because they didn’t apply or they didn’t qualify. “Anyone who didn’t get any funding from any place — that’s who was going to get it, as far as I was concerned,” she said.
“Very proud of the conscious support” from Ford and the CFDA via A Common Thread, Hardison said, “In the spirit of giving, this grant has made a great impact. Mostly because it was a magnificent surprise. It moved me greatly when I saw the e-mail from Tom [Ford] to Steven [Kolb] and the CFDA to give his donation to help our designers that hadn’t received, hadn’t qualified or hadn’t applied to receive funding.”
Ford said in a statement, “I have enormous respect for Bethann and her important work to bring diversity and equity to fashion. As both an American designer and chairman of the CFDA, I am happy that we are able to support the Designers Hub and help Black talents build their businesses, make their voices heard and leave their mark on the industry.”
How A Common Thread used industry contacts and reached out to to help raise money for a range of designers, during the pandemic was “brilliant,” Hardison said. “But then you recognize there are brands that just don’t qualify. That went to my heart; I think Tom heard me moaning one day about that. I’m like the wife they all wish they never had,” she said, laughing.
About two months ago she learned via the aforementioned e-mail that Ford’s donation to A Common Thread was to be earmarked for her group. The funding will help the 10 companies pay invoices, buy fabrics, cover the costs of having garments finished and other expenses.
Some designers from the Designers Hub recently met with Intermix and both parties are exploring ways they might work together. On another front, Hardison said Designers Hub participants will soon be learning more about profits and loss, how to make sure the proper checks and balances are in place for their businesses and what to do when you receive funding from a company or someone. There will also be guidance about e-commerce expertise, she said.
Noting how the Designers Hub is working together, Hardison said, “With all the different initiatives that have come along after this one, you do need to reach out so that all of the different initiatives, whatever they are servicing, don’t step on each other.…You just want to make sure that everyone is able to either help each other or make sure that you don’t interfere so that everyone can benefit from it. And then the people, who are there to help you or who come in to participate and offer support, are also not confused by anything.”