The CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund has named its latest round of winners.
Taking home this year’s top prize of $300,000 and a mentorship with a leader in the fashion industry is Greg Chait of The Elder Statesman. Jennifer Meyer Maguire of Jennifer Meyer and Tabitha Simmons were named runners up, each receiving $100,000 to invest in their businesses.
Chait beat out better known front runners like SUNO, rising star Wes Gordon, and the much buzzed about Sofia Sizzi of Guilietta.
The designer’s LA-based, five-year-old label The Elder Statesman (TES if you’re in the know) is all about the textiles–the uber-luxurious thick gauge cashmere he sources, hand dyes, and uses to make blanket and knitwear. When Chait took me through his collection a few seasons ago in a very well-appointed apartment in the Marais in Paris, I was struck by a) the confidence and passion this bearded LA hipster had for craftsmanship and fabric b) the quality of the product–as he unfolded blanket after blanket and sweater after sweater (which are sold at Barneys) I wanted to dive in. He brings his laid back California sensibility to his subtle designs–like bajas and knit beanies–but does them in these incredibly luxurious textiles.
Chait’s a bit of a surprise win considering the big names he was up against but his confidence (in the first episode of The Fashion Fund you can see him arguing with Andrew Rosen during his presentation) and dedication to quality and craft won over the tough judging panel.
He follows past winners Joseph Altuzarra, Alexander Wang, and Proenza Schouler. So yeah, if you didn’t know The Elder Statesman until today, learn it now, because you’ll probably be hearing it a lot more.