It's been a long summer for the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund finalists, who were announced back in June. After a series of Instagrammed challenges, a Chateau Marmont fashion show, and other activities, the now 13-year-old program, known for jump-starting the careers of young American design talents, culminated last night at a star-studded dinner in New York, where 2016's big winner was revealed. Last year, the Fund announced not one, but three winners: Aurora James of Brother Vellies, Rio Uribe of Gypsy Sport, and Jonathan Simkhai. On the eve of the North American presidential election, though, Vogue and the CFDA didn't have a plot twist in store this time around. Instead, the single top honor went to Brock Collection. The New York label was founded in 2013 by Parsons grads and real-life couple Laura Vassar and Kristopher Brock, who got hitched only a year after they started the company. In their acceptance speech, Brock told the story of the inception of their relationship — and brand — according to Fashionista: "In 2011, a student at Parsons dropped out of a class three weeks after the semester started, which allowed me — on the waitlist — to take his seat in the class, where I met my beautiful future wife."
Brock Collection specializes in finely tailored, luxe ready-to-wear that's elegant sans any stuffiness. (Think ruched bustiers and pencil skirts in unexpected hues and prints.) Fans already include Emma Stone, Lily Aldridge, and Alicia Vikander — and we wouldn't be surprised if that roster now grows over the next few months. The up-and-coming brand will only continue on the up and up with $400,000 in funding and mentorship from the Fund's impressive network. "We are so grateful to Vogue and the CFDA for providing this platform to young American designers to discover themselves and support and encourage their talent," Brock Collection's co-designers wrote in a statement to Refinery29 about their win. "It's such an honor to receive this award, and we look forward to the future and all of the exciting opportunities that lie ahead of us." Adam Selman and Stirling Barrett of Krewe du Optic, two other fashion-flock favorites, were runners-up, meaning they'll each walk away with $150,000 to invest in their labels. The morning after the announcement, Barrett told Refinery29 that the whole competition was not only insightful to him as an entrepreneur-designer, but also an opportunity to step out of his comfort zone. Plus, he's glad to be able to bring a bit of New Orleans to the New York fashion scene. "While we have amplified our message of doing something unexpected from a place no one would expect, this award validates that mission and challenges us to execute on a high level from our city while continuing to grow our global Krewe," he explained. Congrats to all!