ATLANTA — The Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs in partnership with RagTrade Atlanta has created the Atlanta Emerging Fashion Designer Grant that will award five fashion designers $1,500 each to assist with building their businesses in Atlanta.

The award is designed to support American fashion designers based in the City of Atlanta. It is an expansion of the city’s already existing Emerging Artist Award created a several years ago to provide grant opportunities to cultural, nonprofit and community organizations and to individuals, said Camille Russell Love, executive director of the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs. “We support artists in Atlanta with an award to pursue their craft in Atlanta,” she said. That includes artists, writers, dancers, musicians, those involved in film — and now fashion.

“We believe that this grant program will not only benefit the growth of our fashion community, but the city as well,” Love added. “Atlanta is a hub of creativity and is really expanding its reach to artists and help fuel their creativity,” Love said. “We want to make Atlanta where they want to be.”

Acknowledging that fashion designers often leave Atlanta to pursue their careers in New York, Los Angeles or elsewhere, Angela Watts, founder of RagTrade Atlanta and president of 10 Squared, an Atlanta-based marketing and communications company, said, “Our goal is to keep them here. . .and the first step is this grant.” RagTrade Atlanta was launched in August 2014.

Grant recipients will be selected by a committee of industry experts from Atlanta’s fashion community. Submissions will be evaluated based on the talent demonstrated through the criteria of the application and the candidate’s capacity for future distinction in Atlanta’s growing fashion industry. Specifically, applicants will be evaluated on creativity and innovation, unique design aesthetic, workmanship, industry references, photos of the designer’s collection, benefits they have or plan to create for the community and a career plan.

Phase one of the application process began May 6 and will run through June 5, ending at 5 p.m. EST. The top 10 applicants will be selected for phase two and will be required to participate in a short interview with the panel. The five recipients will be selected by Aug. 1 and will be notified via official letter.

For access and guidelines to application, visit the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs Web site at

Atlanta has four accredited fashion degree schools, which are the Savannah College of Art & Design, the Art Institute of Atlanta, Clark Atlanta University, and American Intercontinental University.


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