by John Russel Jones

Genesis and the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) today announced the opening of submissions for the CFDA | Genesis House AAPI Design + Innovation Grant for 2024-2025. Following the overwhelming success of the first-of-its-kind challenge, the second iteration of the mentorship program will continue to advance its inaugural mission to support innovation in design within the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. The program invites emerging fashion designers to compete for funding and support as they take on the challenge to create collections that celebrate the fusion of their Asian heritage and contemporary design.

The CFDA | Genesis House AAPI Design + Innovation Grant offers rising fashion designers the opportunity to receive invaluable education and mentorship from industry leaders, along with financial backing from Genesis, to transform their creative visions into reality. Aspiring designers who apply will be selected by a new committee of advisors and mentors who will provide their expertise and counsel to the selected participants as they curate their collections. Three applicants will be selected as participants in the mentorship program. The selected participants’ final collections will be showcased prominently at Genesis House in February 2025, where an advisory board of industry experts and CFDA members will judge the resulting designs. Mentors and advisory board members include:

  • Alina Cho (Journalist)
  • Eva Chen (Vice President of Fashion, Meta)
  • Fernando Garcia and Laura Kim (Founders, Monse)
  • Jodie Chan (VP of Global Marketing & Communications, Carolina Herrera)
  • Rachel Espersen (Executive Director, Genesis Brand Experience, Genesis House & Studio)
  • Sandra Park (Vice President Merchandise Manager – Menswear, Saks)
  • Stephanie Horton (Senior Director Global Marketing, Google)
  • Steven Kolb (CEO, CFDA)
  • Tina Leung (Stylist and Influencer)
  • Wen Zhou (Co-Founder, 3.1 Phillip Lim)

Each selected participant in the CFDA | Genesis House AAPI Design + Innovation Grant will receive a grant of $40,000 from Genesis to fuel their research and design development over the course of the challenge. This grant will enable them to embark on an immersive journey to Seoul, South Korea to help inspire their collections. The winning designer will be presented with an additional $60,000 to further grow their business, resulting in a total grant award of $100,000.

“We’re thrilled to collaborate once again with the CFDA on this incredible initiative where we have the opportunity to highlight the innovative spirit of the AAPI community in fashion design,” said Rachel Espersen, Executive Director of Brand Experience at Genesis House and Studios, Genesis Motor America. “As we continue to champion design, heritage, and technology at Genesis House, we’re eager to help facilitate the remarkable creativity that is sure to emerge from this year’s applicants.”

“The CFDA | Genesis House AAPI Design + Innovation Grant helps us highlight emerging AAPI talent, significantly impacting American fashion and our efforts to build greater diversity in the industry,” said Steven Kolb, CEO of the CFDA. “We are excited to start the second edition of the program and help creatives build their ideas.”

In February 2024, Grace Ling was announced as the winner of the first-ever CFDA | Genesis House AAPI Design + Innovation Grant. Ling showcased her final collection at Genesis House, highlighting three bespoke looks that combined aspects of her Asian heritage with modern touches, incorporating references to figures from Asian folktales and utilizing a unique 3D printing process to create one of the looks from the collection.

Submissions for the second annual CFDA | Genesis House AAPI Design + Innovation Grant open today, June 12, inviting designers to apply for the opportunity to participate in this exciting program. Designers can apply here.

Genesis House is a sophisticated oasis located in the heart of New York City’s Meatpacking District, offering experiences influenced by Korean culture and community, culinary excellence, and innovative architecture and technology. Consisting of the Showroom, Restaurant, and Cellar Stage, the lifestyle space evokes audacious design, progressive function and a distinctly Korean atmosphere that showcases the Genesis brand in harmony and balance with its surroundings.