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Nashville Fashion Forward Fund

Established 2011

The Nashville Fashion Forward Fund is an endowed fund that supports the next generation of fashion industry professionals with ties to Middle Tennessee by providing an annual financial award and resources for experiential professional development opportunities. Funds are raised through Nashville Fashion Week, a five day celebration, co-founded and directed by a collaboration of fashion, media and marketing professionals who have partnered to combine their passion and resources to create a completely volunteer-led and run event that spotlights Nashville’s growing fashion community with an ongoing, sustainable focus for philanthropic support of our creative community.

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.

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2016 Nashville Fashion Forward Fund Recipient - Brett Warren

Fashion photographer Brett Warren has been named the sixth annual Nashville Fashion Forward Fund recipient by The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee (CFMT). A committee of the Board of CFMT selected Warren amongst a group of experienced fashion industry applicants with ties to Middle Tennessee. Warren is the first photographer to be selected as a recipient of the fund. 
Brett Warren lives in a world where anything is possible. While studying design and photography at MTSU, Brett became passionately inspired to present the world as it could be through images that would appeal to the mind and imagination. What started with a dream and a Nikon Cool Pix has turned into a means to convey emotion, and to share untold stories and convictions. Along the way he found encouragement through a personal encounter with Wayne White, a more-than-serendipitous internship with Annie Leibovitz, and invitations to shoot at New York Fashion Week.
Since 2011 he has produced multiple events, spoken at Universities, worked behind the scenes on sets for Vogue, art directed major label music videos, and had his work featured in local and national publications. In addition, Brett has been highly active in the local community by serving on the Nashville Fashion Week Advisory Council, and is an avid supporter of the Nashville fashion community. He has been recognized among his peers, for his “Point of View,” and built long-lasting relationships with those in and out of the fashion world.
While he has worked with easily recognized brands such as, Billy Reid, Surface Magazine, and GQ, he is just as passionate about working with some that may not be as familiar…yet.
Established in 2011, the objective of the Nashville Fashion Forward Fund of The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee is to provide an award that recognizes the individual achievements of a fashion industry professional. The financial resources that accompany the award are intended to provide an experiential professional development opportunity for the recipient to further advance their career in the fashion industry.

Past Nashville Fashion Forward Fund Award Winners

Nashville Fashion Forward Fund 2015 Award Recipient - Eric Adler Clothing2015: Eric Bornhop of Eric Adler Clothing

Eric Adler Clothing was born in the mountains of Southern Spain and raised in the hills of Middle Tennessee. In 2012, while living in Spain, he was inspired by street culture to create his own line of clothing. After returning to Nashville, he worked as an apprentice under local legend and fashion designer Manuel Cuevas. Manuel taught Bornhop the art of tailoring and encouraged him to explore his own personal style. Eric developed his own clothing line at night and on weekends while working with Manuel. Eric Adler made its debut in 2014 at Nashville Fashion Week after being selected as one of ten featured emerging designers that year. Since then he has opened 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,” Bornhop said. “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.”

2014: Ceri Hooverer

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.