It was probably with the help of my being a student at Parsons (the birthplace of a fair few of the nominees) and a brilliant reality show about the selection of winners, but this year I was really into following the CFDA Awards. If you are not familiar, the Council of Fashion Designers of America honors the best of the best in fashion every year with their highly anticipated awards show. It is the Oscars of the fashion industry.
The most exciting award that is handed out is the Emerging Talent award which celebrates the up-and-comers who are looking for not just their big break but also are gifted mentoring opportunities by fashion legends and heroes. Past winners and finalists include Rick Owens, Proenza Schouler, Zac Posen, Derek Lam, Rag & Bone, Rodarte, Band of Outsiders, Alexander Wang, Jason Wu and Prabal Gurung (literally to name a few). Vogue and CFDA are serious about who they give their award out to…they look at designers who have been working to make a name for a while to prove their dedication and integrity in what they do. When you look at so many of the nominees, you’re really humbled. Running a label takes a hell of a lot of money and exposure, just having great designs is not enough to fund a business, and it is crazy to see some of your favorite labels admitting that they struggle to keep their doors open.
This year, some of my favorite names showed up as nominees and having the chance to watch them compete for the prize was so exciting. From Cushnie Et Ochs to Creatures of the Wind to SUNO to Pamela Love, these are beautiful designers of apparel and jewelry that really have dedicated their entire existences to their craft.
And the judges/mentors are nothing to laugh at either. The fellas from Proenza Schouler sit around a table with the likes of Anna Wintour, Diane von Furstenberg, Reed Krakoff and Jenna Lyons. I’m intimidated just writing the names out, can’t imagine what putting your livelihood out for critique would be like.
What is really great, and a true show of the amazing work that Jenna Lyons has done and continues to do at J. Crew, is that this year, the winner and two runners-up had the chance to design their own capsule collections for the reborn brand. Winner Joseph Altuzarra was the first to release a collection of apparel for J. Crew and, from the looks of it, there isn’t much left to get for yourself!
Probably the collection I was most excited to see was that of runner-up Pamela Love, whose jewelry designs I adore. She champions a tribal, somewhat undone but always hard as nails aesthetic that really is a genuine portrayal of her own style. Most surprising about the collection is that she did not design the expected big necklace, cuff and slightly awkward ring. She went with denim! I especially love the jean jacket (it’s on my bday wish list, wink wink) and I am so happy to see a bit of a departure from her comfort zone. These items are available online now so get them while they’re hot!
Up next is the final capsule CFDA collection by Creatures of the Wind, launching June 14th. The preview looks adorable, as to be expected.