by Stephen Garner
Hamid Holloman

Informa Markets Fashion, in partnership with NuOrder, have announced four winners of their newly-launched Informa Markets Fashion for Change (IMFC) Grant Program. 

The program’s winners, who were selected from the 10 IMFC incubator program participants – a program launched earlier this fall in an effort to better support and elevate emerging Black talent – will be awarded grants of $10,000 each in an effort to provide much-needed capital during the critical early stages of business development. In addition to providing capital and as part of the IMFC program participation and two-season complementary inclusion in Informa Markets Fashion’s digital trade event, this funding will also support the brands as they ready for participation in the upcoming fall 2021 digital event.

The IMFC Grant Program, a program created to further build off the IMFC incubator program, identified two categories of distinction for winning grant recipients – Buyer’s Choice Award and Industry Awards. Merits of consideration for nomination across both categories included: past and present collections, craftsmanship, design integrity, and commercial viability.

The Buyer’s Choice award winner was selected by participating retailers from the digital event, which encompasses top retail buyers from womenswear, menswear, footwear, and childrenswear industries.

Hamid Holloman, who designs custom-made men’s apparel, won the Buyer’s Choice Award.

Additionally, three winners were also chosen as part of the Industry Awards selection, those include London Grant, a collection of natural provisions for home and body, handcrafted in Atlanta by founder Tiffany Staten; Confidence By Gabby Goodwin, a collection of hair accessories from 13-year-old entrepreneur Gabrielle “Gabby” Goodwin; and Enzi, a collection of made-in-Ethiopia footwear by co-founder and designer Jawad Braye.

Industry Awards winners were chosen by the IMFC Advisory Board members – who include, Kelly Helfman and Don Pietranczyk of Informa Markets Fashion, Gary Williams of Gary Williams Showroom, Felita Harris of Enform, Chip Thompson of Ralph Lauren, Tommy Fazio of NuOrder, DeAnna McIntosh of The Affinity Group International and menswear executive Shawn Howell and womenswear executive June Horne – along with members of NuOrder executive leadership, and the IMFC committee – a committee of 11 executives formed within Informa Markets Fashion whose talent spans across branding, marketing, social media, finance, and sales.

“The Grant Program is a natural expansion of our IMFC incubator program, which allows us to further enrich our offering and lend additional support to deserving participants of this program,” said Nancy Walsh, president of North America for Informa Markets. “Access to capital is one of the biggest barriers to entry that many emerging designers face and can have a huge impact on future successes. As a connector of the industry, we have the means to tap into a large pool of resources in order to help raise capital and assist in opening more doors to opportunities for emerging Black talent.”

“I was excited to be a part of the selection process and hear how each brand is giving back in their own unique way to add a refreshing point-of-view to the fashion industry,” added Tommy Fazio, fashion director of NuOrder and IMFC Advisory Board member. “Being able to help brands grow has always been a core value of NuOrder and together with Informa Markets Fashion we are honored to support the advancement and future success of the industry.”

Informa Markets Fashion for Change incubator program participants will return for another season this spring within their respective digital marketplaces; London Grant, RE ONA and Confidence By Gabby Goodwin within MAGIC Digital; LaQuan Smith, Selfish swimwear, and Pridd New York within Coterie; Leimert Park Threads and Hamid Holloman within Project Digital; and footwear brands of Enzi and Kahume within MICAM Americas.

Dates for Informa Markets Fashion digital event have not yet been announced but will occur in spring 2021.