Since its inception back in 2003, the CFDA’s Fashion Fund initiative has helped the rising stars of American fashion talent grow their businesses and increase their presence. Previous winners have included the likes of Proenza Schouler, Joseph Altuzarra and Billy Reid, labels that represent the very best of what the current scene has to offer. Take a look at 2012’s nominees, the names you may now and a few who just might be new to you and find out what they’re bringing to the table.
Designers: Max Osterweis and Erin Beatty
Perhaps the most well known of the lines nominated, Suno has been on the scene since 2008. Osterweis and Beatty create atypical printed looks made with textiles from Kenya, Japan India & Peru; this combination of the traditional and the modern makes for uniquely inspired collections with a global point of view.
Fun Fact: An avid textile collector, Osterweis’ collection of Kenyan kangas inspired Suno’s first piece.
Designers: Justin Salguero, Daniel Silberman, and Alina Silberman
Thing all sunglasses have to look the same? Think again, founded in 2009 Illesteva breaks the mold in more ways than one with daring designs and natural materials like bamboo, wood, titanium and natural buffalo horn. It’s no wonder then that everyone from Lady Gaga to James Bond himself, Daniel Craig has been spotted out wearing shades from the brand.
Fun Fact: Though Illesteva makes unusual specs, the designers like to think of them as classics. Founder Daniel Silberman told Interview Mag that their goal while designing was creating glasses “that you can give the glasses to your grandkids 50 years from now.”
Designer: Tabitha Simmons
Superstar stylist turned designer, Tabitha Simmons creates the kind of shoes that defy both gravity and reality. Skyscraper heels, crystals dangling off the ankles like chandeliers and enough color, print and pattern to satisfy even the most extroverted shopper. She’s already snagged the British Fashion Award for Emerging talent and her heels are consistently showing up in the pages of magazines like Vogue, W, Bazaar and more; could a CFDA be next?
Fun Fact: Though she doesn’t do a runway show, you’ll find Tabitha’s shoes appearing on the catwalk for designers like Creatures of the Wind.
Designer: Andrea Lieberman
With her sleek updates of urbane essentials, Andrea Lieberman has garnered a loyal following. Her A.L.C. line has been going strong since 09 and boasts an array of minimal separates with a very NYC feel. The corresponding line, A.L.C. jewelry filled with sleek cuffs and striking necklaces – not to mention our personal fave, the handcuff earrings. When it comes to creating a total look, Parson’s grad Lieberman has her client covered.
JENNIFER FISHER JEWELRY
Designer: Jennifer Fisher
Jennifer Fisher’s foray into jewelry began after trying to find a special piece to commemorate the birth of her son and coming up short. This led Fisher to create her own necklace, a dog tag charm with his name stamped on it, soon after she was bombarded by requests from friends and the experience led her to start her own line. “I wanted to create jewelry that signified my own personal style, incorporated all things I loved, and could be worn all the time.”
Fun Fact: Before designing jewelry, Fisher was a wardrobe stylist for numerous films & tv shows.
ASSEMBLY NEW YORK
Designer: Greg Armas
In 2008 Assembly began as one of New York’s most eclectic shops, showcasing a curated selection of hard to find designers, vintage and objects d’art. By 2009 owner Greg Armas branched out with an organic, unisex collection crafted from natural & historic fabrics, with the goal of creating “archival quality” pieces.
Designer: Sofia Sizzi
Sofia Sizzi’s career as a designer started at just 19 when she began working for Gucci; the fashionable Florentine went on to Donna Karan and Calvin Klein before launching her own label, Giulietta. Named after Fellini’s Giulietta degli Spiriti, the line merges old world and new with a feminine touch.
Fun Fact: In case you couldn’t tell from the Fellini reference, Sizzi is a major film buff. Fall’s collection was inspired by The Leopard.
JENNIFER MEYER JEWELRY
Designer: Jennifer Meyer Maguire
You may not know Meyer’s name, but you’re sure to have seen her elegant pieces on celebrities like Katie Holmes, Kate Hudson and Nicole Kidman. Meyer’s signature gold leaf & wishbone necklaces have become downright ubiquitous in Hollywood and with their simple, beautiful design it is easy to see why. Though she spent some time in PR & as an editor for Glamour Magazine, Jennifer got bit by the design bug early; Meyer started crafting jewelry when she was just six years old, learning to make enamel pieces from her grandmother.
Fun Fact: Jennifer is married to none other than Great Gatsby star, Tobey Maguire.
THE ELDER STATESMAN
Designer: Greg Chait
Cutting edge cashmere for the dapper downtown gentleman, Greg Chait cornered the market on haute hipster with Elder Statesman’s easy going, yet incredibly luxurious sweaters, hoodies and sumptuous blankets.
Fun Fact: Founder Greg Chait is an avid surfer, he’s got Peru & the Caribbean on his surfing bucket list.
Designer: Wes Gordon
A young designer with the spirit of an old master, Wes Gordon designs clothing not for girls, but for sleek, jet setting women. Though he’s only 25 Gordon’s work reflects a sensibility that is worldly and sophisticated, something that sets him apart from many other designers in his age bracket.
Fun Fact: For fall Gordon name-checked Greta Garbo and Rooney Mara as his sartorial inspirations.