As we've learned from years of interviewing designers and covering industry shifts (of which there have been a whole lot lately), launching a fashion brand and keeping it afloat is an incredibly expensive and difficult undertaking. It's arguably become even more difficult recently thanks to major changes in the retail landscape and consumer behavior — especially if you're not independently wealthy, Instagram famous or well-connected. For 15 years now, the CFDA and Vogue have aimed to level the playing field somewhat with their annual fund for emerging designers.
Each year, one winner and two runners up are chosen from a shortlist of 10 promising designers to take home a handsome monetary prize. In 2018, the winner will receive $400,000 and the runners up get $150,000, in addition to receiving a year of mentorship. On Wednesday afternoon, the 2018 shortlist was revealed, and it's full of buzzy brands like Matthew Adams Dolan, Pyer Moss and Bode, along with lesser-known names that we're sure to become more familiar with soon.
"This year's ten finalists will more than ably follow in the footsteps of those who have gone before them," said Anna Wintour in a statement. "They're not only talented, they're engaged with a rapidly changing world, reflecting a whole new set of values and beliefs about what fashion can and should be."
Over the next several months, these designers will have another commitment added to their workload: They'll hold regular meetings with judges like Anna Wintour, Diane von Furstenberg, Steven Kolb, Nicole Phelps and Joseph Altuzarra, and complete various design challenges. The winners will be announced on Nov. 5 at a fashion show and gala in New York.
See below for the full list of finalists, and stay tuned through the fall for more CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund developments. Congrats to the very deserving class of 2018!
Batsheva (women's ready-to-wear), Batsheva Hay
Bode (menswear), Emily Adams Bode
Christian Cowan (women's ready-to-wear), Christian Cowan
Hunting Season (accessories), Danielle Corona
Jonathan Cohen (women's ready-to-wear), Jonathan Cohen and Sarah Leff
Luar (men's and women's ready-to-wear), Raul Lopez
Matthew Adams Dolan (men's and women's ready-to-wear), Matthew Adams Dolan
Pyer Moss (men's and women's ready-to-wear), Kerby Jean-Raymond
Rebecca de Ravenel (jewelry), Rebecca de Ravenel
Scosha (jewelry), Scosha Woolridge
Homepage photo: Anna Wintour, Steven Kolb and Diane von Furstenberg at the 2016 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Awards. Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images