CFDA Vogue Fashion Fund: Three designers to watch

When it comes to fashion awards, the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund is bookmarked on every emerging designer’s calendar. Because let’s face it, being a young designer can be tough with spiralling design and production costs. To take some of the cost pressure off, the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) teamed up with Vogue to create a fashion fund offering $300,000 and a year of mentoring.

Here WGSN Womenswear assistant Bea Taylor reveals everything you need to know about designers that the fund is helping this year…

Jonathan Simkhai Vogue CFDA fashion fund 2015



Designer Jonathan Simkhai, a Parsons graduate, launched his label in 2010 after stints as a buyer and merchandiser. In 2015, he showed his first runway collection as part of the CFDA fashion incubator programme. His brand focus = “sexy feminine silhouettes” for the modern cosmopolitan woman. Inspired by “skeletal” structures, his S/S 2016 collection offered up a clean sophisticated look, with embroidered lace patterned shirts, peplums, elegant evening dresses and quilted bomber jackets. Expect to see more of his womenswear creations soon…

CFDA fashion award winner 2015 brother vellies



Toronto-born Aurora James took an unusual path, by working as a model agent before becoming Creative Director of Brother Vellies, her footwear brand. When she’s not in New York managing the site, she’s on a plane to Africa to immerse herself in inspiration and work with the locals artisans on new designs. Her recent debut at New York Fashion Week S/S16 garnered rave reviews from the press. The brand offers up traditional African footwear using artisanal craftsmanship and ancient African techniques. Handmade in South Africa, Kenya and Morocco, Brother Vellies is famed for its twist on the modern desert boots, known colloquially as “vellies”.




Before setting up his own brand, designer Rio Uribe had amassed an impressive array of names under his belt, including consulting for DKNY, Opening Ceremony Japan and The Hunger Games Motion Pictures. Gyspy Sport, his Streetwear brand is inspired by “pop culture and world culture”, and delivers an exciting new offering in the menswear field. In contrast to the more conventional shows at New York Fashion Week, Gypsy Sport launched on to the scene with a S/S15 collection, that encompassed dancers and performers rocking the clothes in Washington Square Park.


MORE: Love discovering new talent? Meet the future designers coming from Tel Aviv’s Shenkar College

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