A few years ago, I interned with a company that worked with Rag & Bone and ended up at their studio pretty frequently. Today was the first time I'd been there in years, for the announcement of this year's CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund finalists, and let's just say they've come a long way, with more than twice the space and way more fancy LCD flat screens with looping runway footage.
Anyway, much of that growth can be attributed to the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund and its lasting benefits--designers David Neville and Marcus Wainwright were finalists in 2006 and now they're a huge brand and, for the first time, members of the official selection committee, as the Fund enters its 10th year.
This year's lucky designers will compete to be one of three to win valuable mentoring from industry professionals, as well as $300,000 for the winner or $100,000 for the two runners-up. Oh, and a collaboration with J. Crew.
In the next few weeks, they'll each meet with the selection committee for interviews. Then, Committee members will make site visits to their design studios. Each finalist will also participate in a design challenge to create one-of-a-kind looks, underwritten by Uniqlo, to be unveiled in October. Then, there's the annual celeb-attended fashion show featuring several looks by each finalist at Chateau Marmont in Los Angles. Finally, the winners will be announced in NYC on November 11 at a gala dinner.
"I could go on and on about the considerable achievements that the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund has made in its decade long existence," said Anna Wintour. "But to my mind simply mentioning the likes of such previous winners as Proenza Schouler, Alexander Wang, Rodarte, and Joseph Altuzarra more than demonstrates just how much the fund has brought to American fashion. This year's ten finalists are going to be following in some pretty illustrious footsteps."
Added CFDA CEO Steven Kolb, “The CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund has cultivated a generation of renowned American designers whose creative talent is known around the world. Now in its 10th anniversary, the program continues to offer specialized mentoring and business grants that are integral to fostering the next wave of successful design talent.”
This year's list is pretty male-heavy, with all the recent buzzy menswear designers represented, including Public School's Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne, who are pretty much killing it this year, having already won a CFDA Swarovski Award (something that typically comes after a Fashion Fund nomination, not before).
Without further ado, see below for this year's finalists. Congrats, guys!
Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne, Public School
Jason Jones and Mike Feldman, Parabellum
Juan Carlos Obando, Juan Carlos Obando
Marc Alary, Marc Alary
Misha Nonoo, Nonoo
Ryan Lobo and Ramon Martin, TOME
Shimon Ovadia and Ariel Ovadia, Ovadia & Sons
Tim Coppens, Tim Coppens
Todd Snyder, Todd Snyder
Veronica Swanson Beard and Veronica Miele Beard, Veronica Beard