Let the games begin! The CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund is back in its original competition format. Amid the pandemic, the collaborating brands removed the competitive element from the fund’s 2021 and 2022 rollouts. But this year, ten finalists will once again compete against each other for three prizes: one lucky winner will receive a $300,000 grant, while two runners-up will win $100,000 each.
“Every year, I am astounded by how much talent we have in this country, with designers who are as wildly creative as they are sensitive to the world today,” Anna Wintour, chief content officer of Condé Nast and Vogue’s global editorial director, said in a statement.
This year’s finalists include numerous Black-owned designers, including 4S Design’s Angelo Fabricio Urrutía, Everard Best and Téla D’Amore of Who Decides War, Sami Miró Vintage and Diotima’s Rachel Scott. If any of these designers win, they will be joining an impressive roster of Black CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund alums, which include Felisha Noel of Fe Noel, Omar Salam of Sukeina, Lauren Harwell Godfrey of Harwell Godfrey, Jacques Agbobly of Black Boy Knits, Taofeek Abijako of Head of State and more.
“It’s so important that the world sees this new generation of American designers. … The talent in the United States is unparalleled in regards to creativity and diversity and, moreover, truly American,” CFDA Chairman Thom Browne said. “The CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund shines an important and generous light on this.”
Keke Palmer serves Mother’s Day “B-b-b-body” in Sergio Hudson
Motherhood looks good on everyone’s favorite homegirl, Keke Palmer. Although Mother’s Day was last Sunday, we still can’t get over how good the multi-hyphenated star looked in her recent mother-son photoshoot. Draped in a black and white Sergio Hudson jacket, Palmer and infant son Leodis “Leo” Andrellton posed for photographer Jacob Webster with the designer’s art direction.
As Palmer noted in an interview with Speedy Morman, pregnancy transformed the star in myriad ways. In addition to clearing up the acne she’s openly battled with in the past, her little bundle of joy also changed her physique.
“I’m shook […] I think before my body was cute, I had a little baby-time athletic shape. But what’s going on now?!” Palmer told Morman in appreciation of her postpartum body. “I’m really blown away because it could have gone a bunch of different ways.”
She also explained how motherhood has shifted her mindset.
“There’s a certain energy that I’m having where it’s like, who cares?” said Palmer. “I just have a vibe of look ‘I’m a mother.’”
Houston White X Target
Creative powerhouse Houston White’s collaboration with Target is back with a new collection just in time for summer. The 40-piece collection is part of White’s multiyear partnership with the retail conglomerate, which debuted in 2022. Designed to celebrate self-expression and the beauty of diversity, the summer collection features menswear-inspired button-down shirts, jackets, shorts, t-shirts, and more.
“We’re thrilled to expand our partnership with Houston White by offering new styles this season and bringing his assortment to even more stores across the country,” Jill Sando, Target’s executive vice president and chief merchandising officer, said in a statement. “Houston’s on-trend pieces reflect his passion for people to find their distinctive looks and express their unique style for work or play — all at a great value.”
With sizes ranging from XXS-5X and most items priced under $30, the collection is available now online and in-stores.
Six rising Black designers join Saks’ designer accelerator program “The New Wave”
“The New Wave” at Saks features six up-and-coming Black designers.
According to a release to theGrio, Saks’ designer accelerator program, The New Wave will feature ten designers in this year’s cohort that span women’s fashion, men’s fashion, footwear, jewelry, and kidswear. The Black talent in this year’s cohort includes Armando Cabral of Armando Cabral footwear, Áwet Woldegebriel of Áwet NY, Benard James of the unisex Benard James jewelry brand, Fisayo Che of Elisamama, Shawn Pean of June 79, and John Dean III of Renowned.
Now in its third year, the cohort will embark on a six-month program involving a retail boot camp, mentorship, consulting services, entrepreneurial workshops, and industry roundtables. To further support their growth, each brand will be eligible for a $10,000 grant and dedicated marketing support from Saks, including exposure on the Saks website.
Serena Williams’ wellness brand will soon be available at Walmart
Serena Williams’ Will Perform brand will soon be entering the aisles of Walmart. Since its launch in 2022, the now-retired tennis star’s collection of topical pain relief and daily muscle care products has blossomed. Created to redefine the post-workout recovery stage, Will Perform will soon be available in almost 5,000 stores nationwide, thanks to this new partnership and its prior partnership with Target.
According to Hank Mercier, the brand’s CEO and co-founder, Walmart will sell the brand’s relief products, including the Will Relieve Lidocaine Pain Relief Roll-On ($13), the Will Relieve Lidocaine Pain Relief Spray ($13), and the Will Rest Nightly Muscle Recovery Lotion ($13).
“We’re here to help everyone live active and healthy lives. That’s the big idea, and Walmart is the largest retailer in the United States, and accessibility is a really important part of our strategy,” said Mercier, per Women’s Wear Daily.
Simone Smith pays homage to hip-hop with a new men’s jewelry line, Majesty
Jewelry entrepreneur Simone Smith, wife of LL Cool J, already has a thriving jewelry brand; now, she’s paying tribute to hip-hop’s 50th year with a new high-end jewelry line for men.
Smith told WWD the new line, which will drop later this month, is called “Majesty.” The inaugural collection will consist of 20 pieces, retailing from $200 to $800. “The designs are more of a throwback but with a modern approach,” said Smith.
In addition to ‘80s and ‘90s street style, Smith’s rap icon husband was understandably a major inspiration for Majesty. She enlisted his help along with their son, Najee Smith, as stars for the line’s campaign.
She also says she’s just getting started.
“I’m always thinking of what can be the next pendant or earring,” she said. “I want to keep the customer excited.”
Michael Jordan’s controversial 1992 Summer Olympics “Dream Team” jacket is up for auction
Michael Jordan’s 1992 Summer Olympics “Dream Team” jacket, which he famously wore while the team accepted the gold medal, hit the Sotheby’s auction market last week, and bidding is already at $750,000. The auction lasts through June 28 and is expected to fetch between $1M and $3M.
Not only is the jacket a relic from an iconic victory in Jordan’s career, but it was also the source of a major sports marketing controversy. According to Sotheby’s description, when Jordan wore the Reebok jacket, he was already nearly a decade years into his relationship with Nike, home of his Jordan brand. To avoid ruffling any feathers at Nike and still honor the team’s contractual obligation with Reebok to wear the jacket when accepting medals, Jordan fashioned a way to cover up the Reebok logo with the American flag.
Brahm Wachter, Sotheby’s head of streetwear and modern collectibles, told WWD: “To be able to sell this relic from such a historic world event — one that is often credited for multiplying the popularity and global reach of basketball — is both rare and unparalleled. And, beyond its legendary place in Olympic history, the jacket represents Michael Jordan’s fierce and devoted loyalty to Nike, a transformative and revolutionary partnership between two powerhouses that has stood the test of time.”
Dapper Dan honored at the 18th annual VOICES Gala in Harlem
According to a release to theGrio, on Thursday, May 11, over 500 attendees, including Manhattan D.A. Alvin Bragg, REVOLT CEO Detavio Samuels, and designer Ouigi Theodore, gathered to celebrate streetwear legend Dapper Dan and show support for The Brotherhood Sister Sol youth development organization during its 18th annual VOICES Gala.
As hip hop turns 50 this year, Dapper Dan was honored at the event for his impact on fashion, music and culture, and for his recent collaboration with BroSis and the GAP. The evening was reportedly a success, raising over $1.5 million for the cause.
Grace Jones celebrates an ICONIC birthday
Last, but certainly not least, we at theGrio would like to wish Grace Jones, who turned 75 years chic on Friday, May 19, the happiest of birthdays. The model, muse, artist and actress deserves her flowers for her impact on the culture — and continues to stun and slay to this day. From her days as an already iconic presence in New York’s Studio 54 to her groundbreaking runway appearances for renowned designer Patrick Kelly to her genre-shifting singing career, Jones has left an indelible mark on the realms of art, music, fashion, and popular culture, shaping them in diverse and profound ways. Throughout her career, Jones fearlessly challenged society’s preconceived notions of beauty and sexuality, emerging as a true trailblazer and setting a precedent for those who would follow.
As we reflect upon the extraordinary life of Grace Jones thus far, here are some of the original IT girl’s iconic looks.
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