The Council of Fashion Designers of America - a New York trade organization for designers - announced the winners of its 2015 Fashion Fund on Monday night. In what Vogue designers as "the biggest night for American fashion’s emerging talent," the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund has awarded over $4 million over the past 12 years in support of more than 30 up-and-coming design companies, with previous winners and runners-up including Alexander Wang, Joseph Altuzarra, Prabal Gurung, and Thom Browne.
This year, rather than one winner and two runners-up, which is the standard protocol, the selection committee – which consisted of Jenna Lyons, Diane von Furstenberg, Anna Wintour, and Andrew Rosen – decided to award three equal winners: Aurora James of footwear line Brother Vellies, womenswear designer Jonathan Simkhai and Rio Uribe for streetwear label Gypsy Sport. Interestingly the latter was deemed by an array of industry insiders (I won't name names) as one of the least strong candidates after showing a less than commercially viable Spring/Summer 2016 collection in September.
Each will receive $300,000 to invest in their respective labels, as well as a yearlong mentorship with an industry veteran to help take their business to the next level. This year’s other Fashion Fund finalist brands included Baja East, Baldwin, Cadet, CG, Chromat, David Hart, and Thaddeus O’Neil.