In June, Teen Vogue’s Editor-in-Chief Lindsay Peoples Wagner and founder of Sandrine Charles Consulting Sandrine Charles, created the Black In Fashion Council, an organisation designed to hold the fashion industry accountable for the commitments they made earlier in the year in regard to diversifying their workplaces and uplifting Black talent. On Thursday, the organisation announced a partnership with Los Angeles retailer Fred Segal to further amplify its mission. As part of the partnership, the Black In Fashion Council and Fred Segal launched the Season Zero design contest, which gives early-stage designers the opportunity to acquire not only funding to build their brands, but also mentorship from both BIFC and Fred Segal and retail space at Fred Segal’s West Hollywood flagship store. In the press release, Charles said, "Fred Segal was one of the first brands to not only join the Black in Fashion Council, but also pinpoint areas of improvement.”
Starting on 1st October and ending on 2nd November, designers can apply to win $10,000 (£7,500). The second and third place runner-ups will each receive a $5,000 (£3,800) cash prize. To be considered, all applicants must be an emerging designer without retail partners or their own brick-and-mortar store, submit 10 to 15 design examples of their work, and provide a bio and explanation of their brand’s vision. Once all applications are submitted, a panel of judges including Peoples-Wagner, as well as Fred Segal’s Vice President of Women’s Merchandising Ashley Petrie and Vice President of Men’s Merchandising Brian Nyilas, will decide the winners. According to the release, the winners will be announced on 4th December via social media and on Fred Segal’s website.
“We are happy to support and endorse this programming as they continue to make strides to improve inclusivity within their retailer,” Charles and Peoples-Wagner said. Jeff Lotman, the CEO and owner of Fred Segal, mirrored that message. “During these challenging times, we understand that it has become more difficult for designers and artisans to find the support and guidance needed to succeed in the industry. Historically, there have been even more barriers for Black creators,” he said. “We’re excited to give up-and-coming talent an opportunity to kick start their journey through industry mentorship and a retail platform.”