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Nashville Fashion Forward Fund

Established 2011

The Nashville Fashion Forward Fund of The Community Foundation is dedicated to supporting the next generation of fashion industry professionals with ties to Middle Tennessee and will present an annual award to advance the career of select local talent with demonstrated experience in a fashion-related field.

Monies are raised for the Nashville Fashion Forward Fund through Nashville Fashion Week, founded and directed by a collaboration of fashion, retail and media professionals who have partnered to combine resources and passion to create an event spotlighting Nashville’s growing fashion industry. In addition to designers, professionals in all aspects of the fashion industry from photographers to stylists, fashion publicists and hair and makeup artists are encouraged to apply.

The award recipient is selected by a committee of the Board of The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee. For more information, contact Amy Fair at The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee at 615-321-4939.

The 2015 Nashville Fashion Forward application process is now open.  Deadline for submission is December 13, 2015 (this is a Sunday).  All applications must be received or postmarked at The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee’s office by 4PM this day.  The application and FAQs are available to the right as a download.  For questions, call or email Amy Fair at 615-321-4939 or

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Past Nashville Fashion Forward Fund Award Winners

2014: Ceri Hoover

Ceri Hoover, founder of premium leather goods company Ceri Hoover Bags, was recognized as the Nashville Fashion Forward Fund Award recipient a year after her company was founded.  She is the first accessory designer to receive the Award. Hoover previously owned interior design company Cooper Gray.  During one late night session sewing custom cowhide pillows for clients, she reimagined the pillow—folded over as a clutch and the response from others inspired her to follow this new direction in design. Today Ceri Hoover Bags can be found in over 150 boutiques across the country, in Anthropologie Stores, and at
“I’m so grateful to be part of the talented design community in Nashville,” said Hoover. “I'm encouraged by our diversity, and though we are still growing as a community, the inspiration and appreciation for individual style is invigorating.”

2013:  Elise Joseph

Elise Joseph, born and raised in Nashville, has made a name for herself as a stylist, a blogger of her largely followed design blog, Pennyweight, and on Pinterest where she has earned over 1.3 million followers. She has partnered with fashion brands such as Steven Alan, Madewell, Equipment, Need Supply, J.Crew, Gap, Warby Parker and West Elm.
"The Nashville fashion community is always giving back, which is what I too hope to do in my home city for years to come. It is an exciting time to be a Nashvillian, and I’m determined to help this town continue to flourish and grow, while maintaining our deep Southern roots, charm and history" said Joseph.


2012:  Lauren Leonard

Since Leonard’s debut of her line, Leona, in the spring of 2008, it has quickly gained a faithful following and is sold at more than a hundred of the most discerning and renowned retailers internationally.
“I can't thank the directors and founders of the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee and Nashville Fashion Week enough for all they have done to support their local fashion talent as well as introduce Nashvillians to fashion originating outside of the city,” said Leonard.

2011: Juliana Bass

The Nashville Fashion Forward Fund's inaugural recipient was designer Julianna Bass. The Award allowed her to attend The Bread and Butter Trade Show 2012, a European market in Berlin. The experience allowed her to better understand the international fashion market from both business and creative prespectives.

Bass was born in Pulaski, Tenn., and attended Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro where she studied apparel design and costume design. She launched her eponymous collection in 2008 after design studies at the Fashion Institute of Technology.