Genesis And Council of Fashion Designers of America Announce First Design + Innovation Grant Winner

02/16/2024 by

Genesis and the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) are pleased to announce the first ever CFDA | Genesis House AAPI Design + Innovation Grant winner, Grace Ling. With the support of notable industry mentors and funding from Genesis, participants were challenged to create a bespoke fashion collection highlighting the tension and balance between their Asian heritage and modernity over the course of five months.

Alongside fellow rising AAPI fashion designers Andrew Kwon, and Haoran Li and Siying Qu of Private Policy, Grace Ling presented her final collection to an esteemed judging panel and was announced as the grant's inaugural winner at a private event at Genesis House on February 7th. The collections were judged by Jodie Chan (Vice President of Global Marketing & Communications at Carolina Herrera), Laurent Claquin (President of Kering Americas), Rachel Espersen (Executive Director, Brand Experience, Genesis House & Studios), Steven Kolb (CEO of CFDA), and Wen Zhou (CEO and Co-Founder of 3.1 Phillip Lim).

"It has been an incredible experience working with the CFDA and these immensely talented designers throughout this one-of-a-kind program supporting the AAPI community," said Rachel Espersen, executive director, brand experience, Genesis House & Studios, at Genesis Motor America. "Our three finalists produced beautiful works of art that showcase their unique style and interpretation of their heritage, and we're deeply proud of their journeys over the course of these last few months."

CFDA | Genesis House AAPI Design + Innovation Grant winner, Grace Ling, produced a collection of three full looks inspired by a femme fatale character, each representing seduction, transformation and initiation. Ling, known for blending futurism and sustainability, utilized a unique 3D printing process to create one of the looks from the collection. Showcasing a new feminine aesthetic, each look blends aspects of Asian heritage with modern touches, incorporating references to figures from Asian folktales along with motifs such as hair, which symbolizes respect in Asian culture.

"I am very honored to be the recipient of Genesis House's first AAPI Innovation Grant with CFDA," said Grace Ling, designer. "It is a privilege to be able to combine modernity, heritage and innovation in my practice, and this has given me the opportunity to do so. Genesis House is very inspiring in these aspects and I look forward to taking these values with me in my future work."

Genesis and the CFDA announced their initiative to support the next generation of AAPI fashion designers in June 2023, selecting Andrew KwonGrace Ling, and Haoran Li and Siying Qu of Private Policy as the three inaugural participants. The participants were provided expertise and counsel from global fashion and business leaders Prabal Gurung (Fashion Designer), Grace Cha (Innovation Consultant) and Stephanie Horton (Senior Director of Global Marketing at Google) as they curated their collections over the course of five months. The designers also had access to an advisory board including Alina Cho (Journalist), Fernando Garcia and Laura Kim (Founders, Monse), Jodie Turner-Smith (Actress), Rachel Espersen (Executive Director, Brand Experience, Genesis House & Studios), Sandra Park (Vice President Merchandise Manager - Menswear, Saks) and Steven Kolb (CEO of CFDA), and received a $40,000 grant on behalf of Genesis to finance their design innovations. As part of the challenge, they participated in an immersion trip to Seoul, South Korea to study the country's heritage and explore Korean culture as a source of inspiration for their collections.

The collections were showcased at Genesis House in New York City on February 7th, 2024, alongside select iconic pieces from renowned AAPI fashion designers Altuzarra, Bibhu Mohapatra, Monse, Naeem KhanPeter Som, PH5, Prabal Gurung, and Vivienne Tam. Guests admired the custom garments on display and heard from the grant's participants on the inspiration behind their collections before Grace Ling, was awarded an additional $60,000 for the development of her collection, bringing the total grant awarded to $100,000. The final designs will remain on display at Genesis House through March 3rd.

"Each of the three finalists of the inaugural CFDA | Genesis House AAPI Design + Innovation Grant program showcased exceptional work, which made the selection of a winner very difficult," Steven Kolb, CEO of the CFDA, said. "Congratulations to Grace Ling and as well as Andrew Kwon and Private Policy. We look forward to seeing you continue to build your brands in innovative ways while honoring the invaluable contributions the AAPI community has made to American fashion."

Genesis House is a sophisticated oasis located in the heart of New York City's Meatpacking District, offering experiences influenced by Korean culture and community, culinary excellence, and innovative architecture and technology. Consisting of the Showroom, Restaurant, and Cellar Stage, the lifestyle space evokes audacious design, progressive function and a distinctly Korean atmosphere that showcases the Genesis brand in harmony and balance with its surroundings.