- Lindsay Weinberg
Anna Wintour and Tom Ford Create Coronavirus Relief Fund
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Tom Ford and Anna Wintour at the CFDA Vogue Fashion Fund Show in 2017
Their initiative, A Common Thread, will "raise both awareness and needed funds for those in the American fashion community who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic."
Two leaders of the American fashion industry — Anna Wintour and Tom Ford — are creating a fund to help young designers impacted by the coronavirus.
A Common Thread, as it's called, repurposes the annual CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund at least for this year. The competitive Fashion Fund typically supports emerging designers with money and mentoring, including Proenza Schouler and Kerby Jean-Raymond in the past.
But now, with the new coronavirus shuttering nonessential businesses in several states including California and New York, the Vogue editor in chief and Council of Fashion Designers of America chairman have decided to instead offer up-and-coming artists, seamstresses and manufacturers funds to help them pay bills during the pandemic.
Applications open starting April 8, and applicants do not need to be a part of the CFDA.
A Common Thread will "raise both awareness and needed funds for those in the American fashion community who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic," according to the CFDA website. "The CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund was originally established as a response to the tragedy that took place on 9/11. Now, as we are all faced with new challenges, it is being repurposed to — in addition to raising and distributing funds to those who have been most affected — highlight designers and tell the stories of those who work tirelessly behind the scenes across the country in our incredibly strong and vibrant fashion industry."
COVID-19 is the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
The New York Times notes that the fund typically offers $700,000 for the winner and two runners-up, which will likely make up the available funds for coronavirus relief, in addition to new donations.
"There is no reason that we’re not at some point going to be hitting up larger companies for bigger contributions," Ford told Women's Wear Daily. "It will really depend on what happens after all this is over. If it only lasts three months, I think we’ll be able to raise more money than if it drags on and on."
Fashion designers, tailors and more can submit videos under the hashtag #cvffacommonthread to be featured online, telling their stories of how they've been affected.
Each of Wintour and Ford's tentpole events, the Met Gala and CFDA Fashion Awards, respectively, have been postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak, which has seen 33,000 COVID-19 cases in the U.S.
The fashion community has been rallying around the medical community as well, offering support to health care workers by turning their sewing facilities into manufacturing centers for medical masks and garbs. Christian Siriano, Brandon Maxwell and Prada are among the fashion labels to start making medical gear for local hospitals. Hollywood's Costume Designers Guild has also put out the call for volunteers to sew masks as several hospitals face shortages.
Jean-Raymond of Pyer Moss decided to contribute financially to struggling designers, by "setting aside" $50,000 for "minority and women owned small creative businesses who are currently in distress." He encouraged artists to reach out to him.
And Nicole Kidman's stylist, Julia von Boehm, is offering styling sessions via Zoom video chat in exchange for $300 or $600 donations to coronavirus relief charities.