TRADITIONALLY, November has been the month when the latest crop of CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund finalists is formally introduced in the pages of this magazine, but for the first time in its history, that celebration has been deferred for the year. Back in March, as the orders to shelter in place were sweeping the country and the devastating economic impact of the pandemic was beginning to be felt by the fashion industry, it quickly became apparent that an immediate response to the crisis was required, and within a matter of weeks, the fund was repurposed under the umbrella A Common Thread to relieve designers and fashion brands facing severe financial hardship.
Just as the original Fashion Fund was launched in the wake of 9/11 to foster a new generation of designers, this new effort underscores the urgency around mentoring and supporting new names. Of the many designers who received grants from A Common Thread, three rising fashion labels stood out for their distinctive points of view—and we wanted to amplify their voices. Between Fe Noel’s female-led approach to community building, Sukeina’s ambition for the craft, and Studio 189’s commitment to activism, this trio represents a considered and forward-looking way of creating fashion.—Chioma Nnadi