Yesterday the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund finalists were announced. This year, the competition is full of talent that have been breathing fresh air into the fashion industry, creating brands that not only make beautiful and original designs, but are also socially-conscious with an eye toward sustainability.
The CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund is an annual award that promotes and supports up-and-coming designers, and this year’s finalists were chosen by a panel of judges that included Anna Wintour, Diane von Furstenberg, Chioma Nnadi, Eva Chen, Paloma Elsesser, and Joseph Altuzarra, who will meet with each finalist for studio visits to review their designs. They’ll also provide feedback and advice on design and the business side of things.
The top spot will be announced at a runway show and gala on November 4 (we’re counting down the days!). The winning designer will receive $400,000 plus mentorship from the industry’s top professionals, and two runners-up will be awarded $150,000. Last year’s winner was Kerby Jean-Raymond of Pyer Moss, who describes his brand as an “art project” or “a timely social experiment.”
Here are the finalists we’re keeping an eye on this year:
Created by Raffaella Hanley, the brand Lou Dallas creates clothes that are collaged from an array of sources, including dead stock fabric and artists prints. The designer makes items that are fun and quirky, not to mention eco-conscious. “Lou Dallas creates dreamy, otherworldly confections made with artisanal techniques and an eye toward couture-level detailing,” reads a statement on its website. The couture approach to its clothes elevates a basic T-shirt into a work of art. Lou Dallas’s designs truly are part of another dimension.
Our streetwear front-runner is the label Barragán, which was founded by Victor Barragán. Similar to Lou Dallas’s use of collage, “Barragán constructs new silhouettes out of old ones by taking apart and piecing together garments to create his distinctive aesthetic — offering an alternative to conventional fashion lines by reconceiving basics in irregular variations,” explains Opening Ceremony (which sells Barragán’s designs in its stores). Barragán clothes are badass and have a distinct late-’90s/early-aughts aesthetic that’s perfect for those among us who want to relive our youth over and over again. The brand reminds me of Vetements in its ability to create weird clothes that don’t focus on being conventionally “pretty.” Also, I feel very seen by its “Why be passive aggressive when you can just be aggressive!” T-shirt.
Who could forget this season’s biggest trend: tie-dye. The brand Collina Strada’s most recent collection is full of the psychedelic DIY print, but the brand rejects trend-chasing, writing on its website, “the brand’s core signature transcends trends.” While it may reject trends, it certainly make them. Collina Strada’s designs are firmly a part of the zeitgeist. The brand was created by Hillary Taymour, who aims to create a fully sustainable and transparent brand in the future.
“Collina Strada embodies humor and youth. The brand DNA is now firmly cemented in the ability to look inward, even when we’re loud and expressive on the outside,” states the website. “Season after season, Collina Strada’s goal remains the same: to encourage self-reflection through clothing. How can you be the best version of yourself today?” Clothes that can inspire us to be completely ourselves? We’re in.
Christopher John Rogers
Another finalist who we’re a big fan of is the bespoke designer Christopher John Rogers. He’s made our best-of style round-ups for dressing Alexandra Shipp and Lizzo for the red carpet. His designs are completely original and all bear a trademark look, two things that are hard to achieve by a young designer.
“Christopher John Rogers aims to target and serve the authentic. You're intelligent, aware of your body and its importance within the world, you understand that nothing is mutually exclusive,” says the brand’s website. “We make product for you, for those who consider their wardrobe to be a reflection of their maturity and endorsement of their authenticity, appreciating the brand’s nuanced approach to dressing,” the statement continues. Christopher John Rogers’s designs do exactly what they aim to do. While looking at his designs, my heart rate raises. He’s a designer that encompasses what is so exciting about fashion — and we’re sure that his trifecta name will become ubiquitous in the coming years. Not to play favorites or anything, but if I’m being honest, I’ll be a bit upset if he doesn’t win.
Good luck to all the finalists! We can’t wait to see the runway collections in November.
Originally Appeared on Teen Vogue