Originally published for 12th & Broad... It’s easy to think of Nashville Fashion Week as just one week of pretty clothes and pretty people walking down a runway each spring. While that does happen, Nashville Fashion Week is actually much more than that. A small group gathered at the delicious Little Octopus last week, after Nashville’s first snow/ice blast, to celebrate the main reason why Nashville Fashion Week exists.
The Nashville Fashion Forward Fund was established in 2011 by the co-founders of Nashville Fashion Week to help advance the career of a local talent with experience in a fashion-related field. Award recipients are selected based on pre-established criteria inspired by the Council of Fashion Designers (CFDA)/VOGUE Fashion Fund. A Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee Board committee reviews applicants, who all have ties to Middle Tennessee, each year and then announces the award recipient in January.
Previous award recipients have gone on to do incredible things in the fashion industry. Designer Juliana Bass was the first Nashville Fashion Forward Fund (NFFF) Award recipient. She used her award to fund a trip to a major trade show in Berlin, where she now resides, to better understand the international fashion market. She is now regularly showing collections at New York Fashion Week. 2012 recipient, Lauren Leonard of Leona was able to travel to Paris to meet with fabric and trend vendors to gather inspiration for what turned out to be a gorgeous Spring 2015 collection. Stylist and Pennyweight blogger, Elise Joseph was the 2013 recipient. Elise has an incredible eye and has worked with a number of fashion and lifestyle brands like Madewell and West Elm. She hopes to eventually open her own brick and mortar shop. She’s using her award for domestic and international travel to meet with artists and designers from around the world. If her Pennyweight Pop-Up, held at Wilder last year, is any indication of what’s to come, Nashville can’t get her shop soon enough. Ceri Hoover, the designer behind Ceri Hoover handbags was the 2014 recipient. Ceri used her award to travel to Milan, Italy to source leather to expand her line to include shoe design and production, which we’ll get to see with her Spring/Summer 2016 collection.
Last week, Eric Bornhop of Eric Adler Clothing was named the 2015 NFFF Award Recipient. Eric is churning out incredible menswear and debuted at Nashville Fashion Week in 2014 as part of that year’s Emerging Designers. While living in Spain in 2012, Eric was inspired by street culture to create his own clothing line. When he returned to Nashville, he worked as an apprentice under local legend and fashion designer Manuel Cuevas. Manuel taught Eric the art of tailoring and that attention to detail shines through in each piece of Eric Adler clothing. Bornhop now has his own Green Hills studio where he designs and tailors for Alan Jackson, Big Kenny, Shania Twain and more.
“Eric Adler Clothing wouldn’t be where it is today without Nashville Fashion Week,” said Bornhop. “Nashville Fashion Week has provided me with a network of peers and resources, expansive exposure and marketing opportunities and the ability to organically plant my roots in my home city of Nashville. In a rapidly emerging fashion community, Nashville Fashion Week has provided a springboard for an emerging designer like myself to get their foot in the door, one of the hardest feats to overcome in fashion.”
Bornhop’s Fall/Winter 2015 collection, which showed at Nashville Fashion Week last year, was sharp and stylish. In our skinny jeans and beanie hat world of menswear, seeing Bornhop’s collection of well-dressed men walk the runway was a breath of fresh air. I can’t wait to see what he does next.
The sixth annual Nashville Fashion Week is scheduled for April 5- 9 in select venues across the city, including what will surely be an incredible night at Cornelia Fort Airport in East Nashville, where models will walk on an actual runway. All Access Passes are available now at NowPlayingNashville.com for $350 through February 21. The All Access Pass is your best deal as it includes access to all Nashville Fashion Week events, including the Fashion Forward Gala. The price will increase to $400 on February 22 when individual event tickets will also go on sale.
For more information on Nashville Fashion Week and the Nashville Fashion Forward Fund, visit nashvillefashionweek.com.