Nashville Fashion Week Seeks Applications for The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee 2016's Nashville Fashion Forward Fund Award and Emerging Designers for 2017

Dates for the seventh annual Nashville Fashion Week were announced last night at Nashville Fashion Week's 2017 Launch Party at Virago. The city-wide celebration of Nashville's creative fashion and retail community will take place April 4 - 8, 2017 ending with the fourth annual Nashville Fashion Forward Gala on Saturday night. Applications for both The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee’s 2016 Nashville Fashion Forward Fund Award and Nashville Fashion Week’s 2017 Emerging Designer Showcase are now being accepted through November 21, 2016.

Nominations will also be accepted for both the Nashville Fashion Forward Fund and Emerging Designer applicants for the first time this year at Explain in 100 words or less why the nominee should be considered and an invitation to apply will be sent to those that qualify. 

"The aspirational mantra ‘Nashville Fashion is more than a week’ was just that when planning for the inaugural 2011 Nashville Fashion Week began. Six years later, the attention centered on the fashion community and the connections developed as a result of this week have supported Nashville’s fashion industry in so many ways," said Ellen Lehman, president of The Community Foundation. "The entrepreneurial spirit that is found in other industries throughout this community is front and center in the fashion industry. And, Nashville Fashion Week was there first to celebrate and acknowledge its potential." 


The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee is now seeking applicants for the 2016 Nashville Fashion Forward Fund Award. Professionals working in all aspects of the fashion industry from designers and photographers to stylists, models, hair and makeup artists, boutique owners and bloggers are encouraged to apply. Detailed instructions for submission are found at

Originally established in 2011, this endowed fund supports the next generation of fashion industry professionals with ties to Middle Tennessee and provides financial awards and resources for experiential professional development opportunities. Past winners include clothing designers Eric Bornhop, Julianna Bass and Lauren Leonard, accessory designer Ceri Hoover, and creative brand consultant, art director and founder of Pennyweight and, Elise Joseph. 

Applications must arrive at The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee’s office at 3833 Cleghorn Avenue by 4 p.m. CST on November 21, 2016. The award recipient is selected by a committee of the Board of The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee and will be notified in January of 2017.


Nashville Fashion Week seeks emerging designers to spotlight during the 2017 event. Applicants must demonstrate creativity, quality and a broad appeal to a wide range of consumers. If chosen, the emerging designer will have the opportunity to showcase their collection during Nashville Fashion Week 2017. All emerging designers interested in showing their collections are encouraged to submit their application for review.

The deadline to submit emerging designer applications is 11:59 p.m. CST on November 21, 2016. Emerging Designers will be notified by the end of the year and announced to the public in February at an official Nashville Fashion Week event. You can apply online at

Emerging Designer Criteria:

  • All emerging designers are encouraged to apply, but preference will be given to those that live in or have connections to Nashville and/or Middle Tennessee
  • Each collection must be original designs, debuting at Nashville Fashion Week
  • Must be available to show between April 4 - 8, 2017.

PLEASE NOTE: Nashville Fashion Week does not charge a submission fee to apply or participate. Designers selected are responsible for their own travel and related expenses, and for transporting their collection to Nashville — as well as all costs associated with designing/creating their looks, including shoes, accessories and music for their runway show. No age restrictions or specific experience is required. However, those under 18 will need parent/guardian permission to apply. 

Nashville Fashion Week is a city-wide celebration of Nashville’s thriving fashion and retail community and its vast array of creative talent. Featuring local, regional and national designers and industry professionals in an array of creative events throughout the week encourages both Nashvillians and visitors to explore the city’s diverse fashion and retail spaces through promotions, partnerships and educational workshops. NFW is founded and directed by a collaboration of fashion, retail and media professionals who have combined their passion and resources to create a volunteer event spotlighting Nashville’s growing fashion community with a sustainable focus for philanthropic support of the Nashville Fashion Forward Fund of the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee.

The Nashville Fashion Forward Fund of the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee is an endowed fund that receives proceeds from Nashville Fashion Week each year. The establishment of the Nashville Fashion Forward Fund was inspired by the professional development provided by the Council of Fashion Designers (CFDA) through programs such as the CFDA/VOGUE Fashion Fund. The Nashville Fashion Forward Fund ensures that Nashville Fashion Week is not just a signature high-profile event to celebrate creativity, but also an ongoing, sustainable focus for philanthropic support.

The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee oversees more than 1,000 charitable funds, providing customized philanthropic solutions with flexibility for donors, nonprofit organizations and the community. In the past 25 years, The Community Foundation has distributed more than $725 million to community programs and institutions. It is located at 3833 Cleghorn Avenue, #400, Nashville, Tennessee 37215. For more information, call 615-321-4939 or visit