Over recent days, all of us at Vogue—like so many of you, I’m sure—have been preoccupied not only with the health emergency brought by this terrible pandemic, but with the question of what each of us can do to help (besides, of course, stay home). One of the worst feelings a crisis like this one can inspire is helplessness.
And there is so much help that is needed, especially as small businesses and workers across this country suffer devastating economic consequences. Among those already affected are those in the fashion community, from designers to their employees and retail workers up and down the economic scale. There are inspiring stories of designers making masks and medical supplies, but I have also been hearing from those who fear they won’t make payroll, or who have seen orders returned, their stores closed, who fear their businesses and their livelihoods may not survive what we’re going through. And all of us at Vogue—together with the Council of Fashion Designers of America—are determined to help.
Vogue and CFDA have a long partnership, of course, stretching back 15 years to 7th on Sale, an event we organized in response to the AIDS crisis. After 9/11, we launched the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund to cultivate the next generation of American fashion designers, and in 2009, we created Fashion’s Night Out, a celebration of shopping at a moment when the economy needed a boost. Remembering these projects inspires my optimism. There are always things one can do in the face of crisis.
So in that spirit I’m pleased to announce that Vogue and the CFDA have decided to repurpose the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund to provide support for those in the fashion community affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. And to raise awareness of this effort, we are launching a video series called A Common Thread, which will tell stories about how American designers and their workers and colleagues are coping, how businesses have been affected, what we all plan to do to move forward. These stories will go behind the scenes to show everyone who contributes to this creative, vibrant, and incredibly important industry.
I am eager for you to see these videos—and I hope some of you will contribute if you can, by texting THREAD to 44-321 or by contributing online here. There is not a simple fix for our industry, I know. The challenges we face are profound. But this fund, I hope, is a step in the right direction, and I’m looking forward to telling you more about it in the days and weeks to come.