The CFDA has been recognizing talented fashion designers with awards since 1981. And while some early winners, like Calvin Klein, Giorgio Armani and Donna Karan went on to become household names; others eventually fell out of the spotlight--some were bought out by licensees and others switched careers entirely.
We perused the CFDA's complete list of past winners and dug up some old names some of you may have never even heard before. Click through to find out what they won and who they are.
Jhane Barnes • Honored in 1981 as the first ever menswear designer of the year • Known for using new, innovative fabrics • Still designs menswear, eyewear and interiors • Also won several Coty Awards and a Woolmark Award for menswear
Andrew Fezza • Honored in 1981 for menswear • Has garnered comparisons to Giorgio Armani • Suiting, sportswear and accessories--produced through licensing deals--can still be found in retailers like Men's Warehouse
Fernando Sanchez • Honored in 1981 for Womenswear • Studied at L'École de la Chambre Syndicale alongside Yves Saint Laurent • Known for revolutionizing lingerie and applying couture dressmaking techniques to clothing that could be worn in or out of the bedroom • Worked for Nina Ricci, Dior and YSL
Patricia Underwood • Honored in 1983 for accessories • Designed hats for Bill Blass, Oscar de la Renta, Carolyne Roehm, Donna Karan, Calvin Klein, and others • Her hats can be found in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum Costume Institute and Fashion Institute of Technology Museum • Her high end hats, which are all made in the U.S. are still sold in department stores and even J. Crew
Gordon Henderson • Honored with the Perry Ellis Award in 1989 • Became a sensation in the late '80s/early '90s for his laid back, refreshingly wearable women's separates • He's one of few black designers to be recognized by the CFDA and once employed Tracy Reese
Marie-Anne Oudejans • Honored with the Perry Ellis Award for Womenswear in 1995 • Designed Tocca (which began as a dress line), one of the first clothing lines priced below the designer pricepoint • Became a cult favorite • Photographer Eduardo Mantelli discovered her while on vacation with Gloria Baume, Teen Vogue's senior market editor, and backed her line, later becoming President. • Tocca's clothing line recently relaunched and is now designed by former Lyell designer Emma Fletcher.
Sandy Dalal • Honored with the Perry Ellis Award for Menswear in 1997 • Was the youngest winner of the award at 21 • Was an early Barneys darling • Known for a colorful, swinging sixties look for men
Matt Nye • Honored with the Perry Ellis Award for Menswear in 1998 • As a former employee of Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren and the boyfriend of Rolling Stone owner Jann Wenner, Nye had all the experience and connections for a successful, buzzy launch. Though, it only lasted a few seasons.
Tony Valentine • Honored with the Perry Ellis Award for Accessories in 1998 • Worked in marketing at Revlon, then left in 1995 to launch his own shoe line, which launched exclusively at Barneys and lasted for 12 seasons • He has since launched his own company, which does branding manufacturing for cosmetics companies such as L’Oreal Paris, Maybelline, Lancome, and Estee Lauder.
Miguel Adrover • Honored with the Perry Ellis Award in 2000 • Known for provocative, unconventinoal, deconstructed fashion • Rose to meteoric success in the '90s, then lost his backing in 2004 • Staged a relaunch in fall 2012