I don’t know what it is about fashion, but I genuinely love it. What makes this show so special to me is getting the perspectives of people who live and breathe fashion. I like that the judges are looking for the next breakout designer(s) and that the whole point of this fund is to nurture talent and help these people take their business to the next level. I can’t imagine the amount of stress the designers have to go through when preparing their presentations for such an impressive group of fashion insiders. We probably only see a very small part of their anxiety and this year, there’s a new element: the 90-second video. I think even if you’re used to being the face and voice of your brand, it’s still got to be nerve-wracking to edit your vision and your aesthetic down to a 90-second pitch. Some people are great at it, others really aren’t.
So who are the finalists for this year’s CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund?
Launched in 2010, Edie Parker is a collection of handbags inspired by the acrylic bags from the 1950s and 1960s. Edie Parker, which originated as an acrylic clutch brand, now offers bags fabricated in materials such as metal, leathers and exotics, combined with signature acrylic elements.
Brett Heyman is the founder and designer who conceived of the collection from her love of mid-century style. Like their predecessors, each bag is handmade in America by skilled artisans.
The collection is represented in over eighty-five stores and twenty countries around the world, including Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, Net-a-Porter, Lane Crawford, le Bon Marche, Harvey Nichols Dubai and Restir.
Edie Parker has appeared in Vogue, Vanity Fair, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and Departures Magazine. The Brand has established a loyal celebrity following including Lupita Nyongâ€™o, Amy Adams, Drew Barrymore, Naomi Watts, Diane Kruger, Kate Hudson and Solange Knowles.
The Eva Fehren fine jewelry collection was launched by New York designer and artist, Eva Zuckerman, and her business partner and longtime friend, Ann Gorga. Formally trained in fine arts at the cooper union, Eva Zuckerman draws from the industrial, architectural and geometric elements of her native New York: icons such as the Chrysler building; the crisscrossing of power lines and patterns in the cracked sidewalks of the west village where she was raised. Using precious metals like 18k gold paired with unusual materials like opaque sapphires, moonstone and grey diamonds, Eva Fehren maintains a feminine aesthetic with a modern, sharp edge. Each piece of Eva Fehren jewelry is hand crafted by artisanal jewelers in NYC.
Gigi Burris Millinery
Gigi Burris Millinery, founded in 2009, was created out of admiration for a craft that is slowly disappearing. Recognition of the fact there is a small community of milliners left in the industry to preserve the art form for future generations, led Gigi to start a luxury brand in the category with a modern voice.
While attending Parsons School of Design, Burris studied under New York based couture milliner Leah Chalfen and later trained with Leah in her personal studio. Gigiâ€™s ongoing interest in millinery was heightened while abroad in Paris. In 2011, Gigi gave full attention to the growth of the brand and began to wholesale to the top-tier global boutiques.
Grant Krajecki first established Grey Ant as a designer clothing label in 1998. Natalie Levy, a former Grey Ant intern became a partner in the company in 2004. Grey Ant was later featured in Phaidon Pressâ€™ â€œSampleâ€ which presented 100 of the worldâ€™s most talented fashion and accessory designers. In 2007, Grey Ant added their first capsule collection of sunglasses.
In 2010, Grey Ant was admitted into the inaugural class of the CFDA Fashion Incubator and began to move in a new direction: toward eyewear.
Having moved into the optical market, Grey Ant has successfully repositioned itself to continue to grow while staying true to the companyâ€™s vision of pioneering into new territories.
A family affair, Orley bears the namesake of brothers Matthew and Alex Orley and Matthewâ€™s wife Samantha Orley. Orley is a designer menswear brand that launched with a capsule collection of Italian-made knitwear for Fall/Winter 2012 and expanded into a full ready-to-wear collection for Spring/Summer 2014. The brand is known for its combination of elegant yet youthful, irreverent design with a focus on luxury knitwear and commitment to the highest quality materials and manufacturing. Orley works within the framework of classic menswear, using proprietary stitch techniques and a sophisticated color palette to create a wholly unique product.
British-born, US-based footwear and accessory designer Paul Andrew announced his eponymous line of luxury womenâ€™s shoes for Spring 2013. The response to the collection has positioned Andrew as a rising creative force within the footwear industry.
Long familiar with the rigor involved in designing and producing shoes, Andrew cultivated his craft over fifteen years within iconic fashion houses such as Donna Karan, Calvin Klein, Alexander McQueen and Narciso Rodriguez.
He envisions a style and sensibility that is at once modern and glamorous, an aesthetic that is always sexy without severity. Supported by the finest manufacturing resources in Italy, Andrew combines impeccable materials and handmade craftsmanship with ingenuity and the latest technologies.
Ryan Roche, 36, is continually inspired by her dreamy, vibrant childhood beneath the wild blue and pink Idaho skies. Ryan infuses clean minimalist designs with muted earth tones, pops of psychedelic color and kaleidoscopic texture. At the core of each collection are her highly covetable cashmere knits, nostalgic yet modern reinvention of classic silhouettes.
Ryan is known for her harmonious relationship to color and her clothes paint a world in which women want to live. Subtle, feminine nature evoking shades and luxurious textures are inherent to each collection and help tell the poetic story of the distinct sensibility in which it is rooted.
SIMON MILLER was founded on the principles of Japanese fabrication, classic American construction and modern fit. This framework inspires a collection of denim and indigo staples, aged with advanced wash treatments for a clean, lived-in feel.
In 2011, the SIMON MILLER brand came under the creative direction of Jake Sargent and Daniel Corrigan. Jake previously oversaw the retail and production collaboration arm of Monocle magazine, sharpening his eye for design and brand building.
Daniel was raised in Santa Barbara, where he studied printmaking and went on to attend California Institute of the Arts. Together, their passion for simple design, artisan manufacturing and uncompromising quality has guided SIMON MILLERâ€™s evolution as a modern indigo collection.
Produced and designed entirely in New York City, Tanya Taylor embodies a youthful spirit with the integrity of a designer point of view. Each collection is inspired by the power of simple feminine shapes enhanced with artful use of color and prints that express a sense of optimism and ingenuity.
Raised in Toronto, Tanya Taylor grew up surrounded by three generations of fiercely ambitious women whose creative approach to fashion inspired her from an early age. After graduating from McGill University in 2007 where she studied finance, Tanya enrolled in a summer fashion course at Central Saint Martins and continued into the AAS Fashion Studies program at The Parsons New School of Design.
Growing up in Georgia, Wes Gordon was influenced by the grace and romance of the South. He became enamored with high fashion and developed a fascination with the way people express themselves through clothing.
Gordon attended Central Saint Martins University of Art and Design, graduating with Honors and interned at Oscar de la Renta and Tom Ford.
Presenting his first collection, Fall/Winter 2010, at the St. Regis Hotel during New York Fashion Week, he went on to win the Fashion Group Internationalâ€™s Rising Star Award.
In 2012 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund nominated Wes Gordon as a finalist and in 2014 the CFDA Fashion Awards Guild nominated Wes Gordon for the Swarovski Award for Womenswear.
My favorites so far:
I mean, I’m pretty impressed with everyone but I definitely have some favorites already. The list will probably change from week to week depending on the challenge and what I see from each designer. Right now my frontrunners are Tanya Taylor, Ryan Roche and Eva Fehren. I love that Tanya creates her own prints and like Anna Wintour, I was impressed that she wasn’t dressed in head-to-toe black in her presentation video. I feel like Ryan Roche is a bit of a wild card. I love that she was able to get her start outside of New York City and that she’s made something of herself. I do think there’s something really fresh and interesting about her. I wouldn’t say pink is my favorite color, but I love that it’s hers. Even though I know next to nothing about accessories, I think I’d wear almost everything we got a peek at from Eva Fehren’s portfolio. And I just really like her. There’s something exciting about what she’s doing and I love that she’s so confident in her creations.
Who were your favorites this week and why?
The Fashion Fund airs Wednesdays at 10/9c on Ovation.
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