S'pore designer wins first grant from Council of Fashion Designers of America, Latest Fashion News - The New Paper

S'pore designer wins first grant from Council of Fashion Designers of America

School of the Arts alumna turned buzzy womenswear designer Grace Ling, 26, is the winner of the first Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA)/Genesis House AAPI grant, receiving a total of US$100,000 (S$135,000).

The hybrid grant and mentorship programme is designed to support the next generation of United States-based designers of Asian descent, CFDA said on its website.

Finalists were each given US$40,000 and five months to present bespoke collections highlighting the “tension and balance between their Asian heritage and modernity”, added the council, headquartered in Manhattan, New York, one of the four fashion capitals.

Ling’s three-look collection, titled Beware Of Beauty, emerged the favourite of the selection committee on Feb 7 to clinch an extra US$60,000 in funding, on top of the US$40,000 earlier disbursed, reported fashion publication WWD.

Her winning collection of sculptural gowns drew inspiration from the femme fatale of East Asian folklore: The “gumiho” (in Korean) or “hu li jing” (in Chinese) is a nine-tailed fox spirit that transforms into a beautiful woman to seduce, then devour, men.

Ling said she wanted people to look at the collection and think, “This person is so chic, she must be dangerous”, reported WWD.

“It is a privilege to be able to combine modernity, heritage and innovation in my practice,” she added.

In a little over three years since the launch of her New York-based namesake label, Ling has dressed the likes of pop star J.Lo, actress Anya Taylor-Joy and YouTube darling Emma Chamberlain.

Ling and other finalists for the grant – Haoran Li and Siying Qu of the brand Private Policy, and Andrew Kwon – were also mentored by industry veterans such as designer Prabal Gurung and Oscar de la Renta co-creative director Laura Kim.

The judges for the grant were Ms Jodie Chan, vice-president of global marketing and communications at fashion brand Carolina Herrera; Mr Laurent Claquin, head of luxury group Kering Americas; CFDA chief executive Steven Kolb; Ms Wen Zhou, CEO and co-founder of label 3.1 Phillip Lim; and Ms Rachel Espersen, executive director of experience at Korean-inspired lifestyle space and grant co-sponsor Genesis House.