A look from Aisling Camps.

The Council of Fashion Designers America and Fashion Trust USA have recognized five designers of color with exceptional talent and promise with a $40,000 award each to support their business needs.

The designers are Aisling Camps, a mechanical engineer turned fashion designer; Charles Harbison, founder and creative director of Harbison, a luxury lifestyle studio; Sergio Hudson, designer of his eponymous luxury women’s wear label; Sami Miro, founder, designer and creative director of Sami Miro Vintage,  and Omar Salam, founder and creative director of global fashion house Sukeina.

Designer Sergio Hudson and one of his looks

Designer Sergio Hudson and one of his looks.  Michael Buckner/WWD

The CFDA launched the CFDA Fashion Trust with Tania Fares in 2018 but no longer administers it. However, it is distributing the remaining funds of the program to these five talents.

Fares couldn’t be reached for comment on whether the Fashion Trust USA awards will continue on their own.

The recipients were selected by a committee of industry experts, which included the CFDA Black Advisory Board members — Tracy Reese, Samira Nasr, Bozoma Saint John, Stacie B. Henderson and Martin Cooper — and Fashion Trust USA cofounders Tania Fares, Laura Brown, Elisa Sednaoui Dellal, Anne Crawford and Karla Welch.

The award seeks to support creatives of color in alignment with the CFDA Impact initiative, which identifies, connects, supports and nurtures Black and Brown creatives and professionals in the fashion industry.

“The Council of Fashion Designers of America is pleased to work with the Fashion Trust USA to recognize the noteworthy talent of these designers, and provide financial awards to support their vision and short-term goals,” said Lisa Smilor, executive vice president of the CFDA.

The CFDA Fashion Trust was founded as a charitable initiative that provided business support to U.S.-based designers through financial grants and strategic mentoring. The idea of a Fashion Trust originated in the U.K., where Fares founded the program in partnership with the British Fashion Council, and helped such designers as JW Anderson, Erdem and Emilia Wickstead.

The CFDA decided to end its partnership with Fashion Trust amid COVID-19 and recent social justice movements, as it decided to pivot its focus to helping designers navigate this time, working on diversity, equity and inclusion programming and focusing their support on internal programs rather than an outside organization. The CFDA remains supportive of Fashion Trust and it was part of the decision to support the selected designers.

 

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