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The Fashion Fund “Cocktails With the Committee” 

Photo Credit: Hannah Thomson/Ovation
Photo Credit: Hannah Thomson/Ovation

“It’s called a challenge for a reason.”

I’ve been excited about the Uniqlo challenge for weeks. I love that the finalists are challenged in this way. It’s important for the judges to see how the designers deal with the unique obstacles that this challenge puts in their path. Are they able design something that fits the parameters of the challenge? Are they good under pressure? How do the designers react to feedback? Are they able to produce a quality piece of clothing? Do they step outside of their comfort zone enough? How do they manage their time? Some designers did very well on this challenge. Some did not.

With New York Fashion Week now in the rearview mirror, the finalists are once again focused on the Uniqulo challenge. They’ve already shown their initial designs to Anna Wintour and now they’re making one look to present to all the judges. One week before the final presentation, Anna looks at the samples. Then all of the finalists get feedback. Some of the designers haven’t incorporated enough tech into their pieces. Others are missing elements that could bring their designs to the next level. If they decide to make changes – and who doesn’t take something Anna Wintour says into serious consideration – they have a week to produce it.

Another important aspect of this challenge is the models. Not everyone is a sample size so for a lot of the designers, there is further revision. Some pieces have to be re-made. Others just need a quick alteration. On the day of the presentation, some of the designers are thrown another curveball when their models aren’t available when they’re needed. Tim Coppens, Parabellum and Tome seem to have slight (or major) time management issues, but they all arrive to their presentations on time. The designers only have a few minutes to talk and it’s a very hands-on process. The judges want to hear what they have to say, but they also want to feel the fabrics.

The front-runners as of right now are: Public School, Juan Carlos Obando, Tim Coppens and Parabellum. The judges were impressed with their looks.

I thought Public School was so complete in their presentation. They seemed to think of everything and presented a whole look instead of just one piece. Juan Carlos Obando might have surprised me the most. Since he’s an evening wear designer, I wasn’t sure he’d be able to design something that fit the challenge. But I loved his look. Tim Coppens looks fit the challenge, but I think I wanted it to be a bit nicer to look at. The judges were impressed and that’s what matters. The cape Jason produced was so cute. I’m glad that dress got nixed early on though. I didn’t like it. And while I liked the idea behind the bag, it’s not something I’d ever carry around.

Good job, but not a top look: Marc Alary. He had to come at this challenge differently, but I loved what he did with his pieces. He put a lot of thought into this challenge. I would wear every piece and that bag was so cute.

Missed the mark: Ovadia and Sons. The clothes were too tight on the model and fit is such an important part of fashion.

Veronica Beard, Tome and Nonoo didn’t think it through enough. Their pieces were too close to what they already do.

Todd Synder was interesting, but maybe too gimmicky.

Next week is the finale. Who would you like to see win?

The Fashion Fund airs Wednesdays at 10/9c on Ovation.

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