For those who may not be familiar with the program, the Fund is a high-stakes search for America's next big ready-to-wear designer. Think of it as not a race, nor its own sport, but a type of ready-to-wear tournament that has the power to influence the industry in a big way. It's responsible for launching names like Proenza Schouler, Alexander Wang, and more. And, since its inception, it has granted over $5.9 million to over 35 companies. Throughout the next few months, the 10 finalists will compete for a grand prize of $400,000 and a yearlong mentorship by CFDA designers and executives. Last year's winner was gender neutral, rule-breaking New York brand Telfar.
This year's CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Finalists are: Batsheva (Batsheva Hay), Bode (Emily Adams Bode), Christian Cowan (Christian Cowan), Hunting Season (Danielle Corona), Jonathan Cohen (Jonathan Cohen and Sarah Leff), Luar (Raul Lopez), Matthew Adams Dolan (Matthew Adams Dolan), Pyer Moss (Kerby Jean-Raymond), Rebecca de Ravenel (Rebecca de Ravenel), and Scosha (Scosha Woolridge). The designers were chosen by a committee of judges made up of Vogue staffers and industry professionals that includes Anna Wintour, Diane von Furstenberg, Andrew Rosen, Mark Holgate, Nicole Phelps, Roopal Patel, Jeffrey Kalinsky, Eva Chen, and Joseph Altuzarra (2011's winner).
Of this year's list, Wintour said, "This year’s ten finalists will more than ably follow in the footsteps of those who have gone before them. 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." CFDA president and CEO Steven Kolb echoed her statement, underscoring how big of an opportunity the Fund is for young designers: "For the past 15 years, the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund has transformed American fashion by creating a path for emerging designers to find success in the business of fashion. The program has had global impact and inspired other fashion capitals to put a focus on emerging talent."
The next few months will see the designers working harder than ever before, going over their collections with the judges in their respective studios, and on November 5, two runners up and a winner will be announced. The runners up will receive $150,000 each, including mentorships. See you at the finish line!