The fashion industry has not been immune to the economic effects triggered by the ongoing coronavirus crisis. In light of the halt in productions and dramatic declines in sales, Harlem’s Fashion Row (HFR), a New York-based organization that champions designers of color, is stepping up to empower the fashion community during these unprecedented times.
On May 30, HFR will launch a new nonprofit called ICON 360 to support designers impacted by the global COVID-19 pandemic. The nonprofit program seeks to provide grants for designers of color who are pivoting their businesses during the pandemic and need funding to scale.
“During this crisis, I thought it was critical to do everything in our power to support designers of color,” said Brandice Daniel, who founded HFR in 2007 as a platform for black and brown designers, in a statement. “I’m incredibly inspired by the resilience of designers who are making bold pivots in their business. As a fashion community we have an incredible opportunity to help scale the businesses of designers who are thriving even in the middle of a pandemic.”
To raise funds, the organization will host a virtual fundraiser on May 30 co-sponsored by Gap, Inc., Ciroc, Nike, and Shea Moisture to offer designers financial relief and encouragement. According to a press release, 100% of the proceeds will be allocated towards the ICON 360 grants, which eligible candidates can apply for beginning June 15.
A number of special fashion industry guests will appear during the digital event, including designers Tracy Reese and Christopher John Rogers, stylist Kesha McLeod, and writer Tamu McPherson. In addition, Teen VOGUE’s Editor in Chief Lindsey Peoples Wagner will host a panel discussion about the Gen Z and Millennial response to the COVID-19 crisis. Guests will also have an opportunity to view a fashion show with past HFR designers along with upcoming emerging designers.