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Liberian-American Telfar Clemens of Telfar wins 2017 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund

At CFDA Fashion Fund Dinner and Award, a top prize of $400,000 went to Liberian-American designer Telfar Clemens of Telfar, who launched his unisex line in 2005. “I just want to thank everybody for being down,” he said, accepting the award. “I know it’s been a hard, long road but that’s what pioneers do. This is coming back to Queens.” The two runners-up were Ahlem Manai-Platt of Ahlem Eyewear and Becca McCharen-Tran of Chromat, who received $150,000 each.

Keeping the vibe consistent, Vogue’s Hamish Bowles interviewed the evening’s keynote speaker, Maria Grazia Chiuri, on ushering in a feminist tenure at the hallowed house of Dior. Bowles asked Chiuri about growing up in an Italian culture where sexism was enshrined and the fact that some questioned Dior appointing a woman creative director.

“When I started to study fashion, I never imagined it would be possible for me to arrive in this position,” she said. “I think I have a big responsibility for women because, in the past, I believe for woman it was hard to define themselves.…I think the designer is someone who has a dialogue with women, not someone who imposes a point of view.”


Bowles then asked what advice Chiuri would give her daughter “about making a place for herself in a world that is in some ways still very male-dominated?”


“To be brave,” she replied. “To believe in yourself.”


And to be wary of other people’s advice.


“You have to do what you feel is right for you,” said Chiuri. “I think it’s good if it’s your mistake.”



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