From left, actor Gabrielle Union, Kevan Hall, costume designer Ruth E. Carter, Angela Dean and TJ Walker during the Black Design Collective's inaugural scholarship gala in 2019 during which Carter was honored
Photo: Black Design Collective
As of Thursday, May 28, 2020
Founded to cultivate design talent in the industry by elevating black designers and apparel makers, the Black Design Collective announced last week the launch of its COVID-19 Crisis Response Fund. Through this initiative, the BDC seeks to support design professionals of color during the pandemic. According to the BDC, designers of color comprise less than 10 percent of America’s fashion designers, and, coupled with the consistent challenges they face, these artists are experiencing greater obstacles during the COVID-19 pandemic, explained Kevan Hall of Kevan Hall Designs, who founded the collective with Angela Dean of DeanZign and TJ Walker of Cross Colours.
“When you add a pandemic that causes canceled income and a decline in demand for creatives, something had to be done. Without support, these designers may never recover and their contributions to the industry would be lost,” Hall said. “The COVID-19 Crisis Response Fund will provide micro-grants to designers and affiliates to help them cover operating costs and increase online brand awareness and sales.”
In addition to raising money for the fund through https://www.gofundme.com/f/black-design-collective-covid19-crisis-fund, the collective is working on providing additional resources to aid designers. Every Monday, the BDC hosts virtual Los Angeles–based workshops via Zoom in order to address COVID-19-related topics that include brand building, label expansion, digital marketing and financial assistance such as the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program.
The invitation-only workshops, led by creative veterans, are available to members in addition to their friends and families and other industry professionals. A recent workshop, hosted by Essence Magazine’s former editor-in-chief, Constance White, was the first session produced from New York City.
Additionally, the BDC is proud to reveal that many of its members have been diligently contributing to the support of frontline workers and protection of the public by manufacturing masks and adding protective features to existing personal protective equipment such as hospital gowns. These steps have allowed these designers to continue employing staff, but Hall reveals that additional support is needed to maintain production led by these creatives.
“We are raising money for the fashion, costume, accessory and textile communities along with industry affiliates,” he said. “We need your help to help our creative community of black design talent.