CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund

The briefest of timelines on creative directors Michael and Nicole Colovos:
2001: Met
2003: Married
2004: Won the CFDA’s first annual prize for emerging designers
2007: Took over as designers and creative leads at Helmut Lang and showed their first collection
2014: Showed their final collection for Helmut Lang
2015: Completed their first collection for their own brand, Colovos
2016: Showed it to Olivia Kim


To call the Colovoses new designers is obviously incorrect, but to call their new line new, emerging and exciting is certainly correct. With an emphasis on easy silhouettes, modern style and luxurious fabrications, the pair is making their name the name to know. Think: denim that fits and wears like the best trousers, supple leather skirts with just the right amount of sway and sweatshirts in rich linen, cotton and alpaca blends.



What history will remember of the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Class of 2015 is they were the ones who broke the rule—the rule that there can only be one winner.

Anna Wintour, Ricardo Tisci, Rio Uribe Amanda Seyfried, Diane von Furstenberg, Aurora James, Jonathan Simkhai, Steve Kolb

The stars of this year’s CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund award ceremony

On Monday, November 2 at Spring Studios in New York, Anna Wintour and Diane von Furstenberg announced, on behalf of a panel of judges that included Nordstrom fashion director Jeffrey Kalinsky, that due to the extreme nature of “authentic” talent in the mix, there would be not one but three winners in this 12th annual fashion competition.

We were there to catch exclusive commentary from past winner and footwear genius Paul Andrew and others, and to pass on the inspiring message from Givenchy‘s creative director Riccardo Tisci—the evening’s keynote guest.



Competitions, reality shows, dramatic narratives: these things all rely on polar opposites and extremes, right? The good guy, the bad guy. The one in white, the one in black. The frontrunner, the underdog. We’re not saying which is which by any means, and we certainly don’t mean to pit one against the other, but we were able to catch only two CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund shows this week: Jonathan Simkhai, which we shared with you Monday, and then Gypsy Sport, on Tuesday afternoon.

openerAll images by Jessa Carter

That these two labels are so wildly different is a sign (as if you needed one) that the CFDA/Vogue team is doing it right. They’re bringing a variety of perspectives, styles and influences into the mix and weighing them all equally, as if to say, “Who knows what the future of American fashion has in store?”

Here’s what we captured of designer Rio Uribe’s street-driven “eclectic, ethnic, athletic, genderless” collection—and Fashion Fund judge Jeffrey Kalinsky’s thoughts after the show.


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Talking with our fashion director Jeffrey Kalinsky on day one of New York Fashion Week got us all reinvigorated about the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Candidates, so we made sure to see the Jonathan Simkhai show on Sunday night.


Check out the New Yorker’s elaborately feminine details and his sport-riffing, midriff-and-more-baring separates here. Then get ready for the November 2 announcement of this year’s big winner. Oh, and stay tuned: We’ll be back later this week with a look at another contender.



Fashion Week Journal for Monday, March 9

It’s weird but true: a good coffee in Paris is hard to find. Unless, that is, you happen to go by Vogue’s Americans in Paris Fashion Week showcase where a certain award-winning, coffee-making expat is pulling shots and doling out croissants.





Well, we’d hate to say we told you so, but Paul Andrew has been a winner in our eyes since his feminine, edgy collection for Spring ’14 hit our floors. Color us just plain extra happy then, that the footwear genius was awarded the CFDA’s highest honor this week in New York. On the occasion of this Very Big Deal, we spoke to the designer himself as well as the in-house tastemaker who knows his work best. 

“As you can imagine, I’m on cloud nine right now,” Paul Andrew told us. “I’m so excited and so proud to receive this accolade. It is such an incredible honor and an overwhelming feeling of gratitude. This is literally a dream come true. The CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund program has put so many small designers on the map, it has not sunk in that I am now part of that class. To the shoe obsessives of the world, I say ‘stay tuned’! There is much more coming from Paul Andrew; I have ambitions to launch a men’s collection, e-commerce, and am looking to further elaborate on the core offering in my women’s collection, and while there is significant work to be done and much more focus and energy required I could not be more motivated.”

“Our attraction to Paul Andrew stems from his unique designs, which embody both a sexy refinement and focus on fit and comfort. He is genuinely engaged in making women look and feel good,” said John Langston from our designer shoe team. “We’re eager to see the momentum behind his creative direction, lending credibility to his new must-haves in seasons to come.”

SHOP: Paul Andrew


Congratulations to the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund 2013 finalists, who were just announced earlier this month. As an underwriter of the program for seven years, we’re proud to be a part of the Fashion Fund, which provides financial support and business mentorship to emerging designers.

(Image courtesy of the CFDA)

The winner(s) will be announced November 11 at a gala dinner, after a careful review process by the Selection Committee. This year, the committee welcomes Marcus Wainright and David Neville of rag & bone. Also on the committee is Jeffrey Kalinksy, our EVP of Designer, who had this to say about the experience:

“I absolutely love being a judge. I learn so much every year, not only from my fellow judges and the process but also from the nominees. This year’s nominees are very creative; it’s a strong group.”

Here are the 10 finalists:
Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne | Public School
Jason Jones and Mike Feldman | Parabellum
Juan Carlos Obando | Juan Carlos Obando
Marc Alary | Marc Alary
Misha Nonoo | Nonoo
Ryan Lobo and Ramon Martin | TOME
Shimon Ovadia and Ariel Ovadia | Ovadia & Sons
Tim Coppens | Tim Coppens
Todd Snyder | Todd Snyder
Veronica Swanson Beard and Veronica Miele Beard | Veronica Beard


Good news: You have a few weeks left to shop our exclusive CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund boutiques. The in-store pop-up shops, which will remain open through May 31, are located at six Nordstrom stores, in Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas and New York (find exact locations and more info here). You can also check the availability of items by contacting a Designer Specialist via Live Chat, or by calling 1.877.543.7463 (note the item codes under each photo below).

Inspired by the likes of awesome up-and-coming designers including Wes Gordon, Greg Chait of the Elder Statesman, Andrea Lieberman of A.L.C. and more, we grabbed a few favorites off the racks at our flagship store and took to the streets of Seattle to photograph them. Enjoy the results below, along with commentary by Sahar Sokhandan from our designer collections buying office:

A.L.C. “The ultimate downtown look, pairing our favorite striped tee back to the perfect fit-and-flare skirt in bordeaux leather.”
[Top: 4138NV / Skirt: 3035LR / Shop more from A.L.C.]
[Intro image at top—Illesteva Sunglasses: L2-14 / Shop similar hats]

Wes Gordon. “Sexy without the fuss! A fabulous, updated, Nancy Reagan-esque red pantsuit.”
[Top: 6542CST / Pants: 6638CST]

Assembly New York. “It’s a 1970s revival in this light denim top with wide-leg pants.”
[Top: AZYW105 / Pants: AZYW120]

Giulietta. “Sophistication and ease in this coral wool-crepe dress.”
[Dress: GS13101]

Assembly New York. “The perfect mini long-sleeved dress that’s easy and comfortable, in denim backed with jersey and unfinished edges along the collar and cuffs.”
[Dress: AZYW108]

The Elder Statesman. “The ultimate West Coast girl, layered up in this ultra-luxe cashmere pullover and cashmere dress.”
[Sweater: DKS12CUSTO / Dress: KSDR12CUSTO]

Suno. “Striking, one-of-a-kind blue-and-red etched floral tracksuit.”
[Jacket: W3207 / Tunic: W1406 / Pants: W5396]

Illesteva Sunglasses & Jennifer Fisher Jewelry. “Ultra-cool with these graphic, patterned sunglasses from Illesteva paired back to Fisher’s stacked geometric rings and rivet bracelet.”
[Illesteva Sunglasses: L2-15B / Jennifer Fisher Ring Set: GEO / Jennifer Fisher Cuff: RIVET]


For blog coverage of the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund judging process and more, click here.
And for more exclusive fashion photography, visit us on Tumblr.


[Photography: Charlie Schuck. Styling: Ashley Helvey. Model: Miranda Albright.]


Our long-awaited CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Boutique opens in six stores on Monday, and we couldn’t be more excited. The temporary shop will be filled with selected items from all 10 Fashion Fund designers, including winner Greg Chait of The Elder Statesman, who scored a cool $300,000 to fuel his business. Check out just-published stories on the boutique in Vogue, Glamour and WWD (subscription required).

We snapped a few of our favorite items from the boutique, which will pop up in the following Nordstrom stores: Seattle, San Francisco Centre, The Grove in Los Angeles, Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago, NorthPark Center in Dallas and treasure&bond in New York. The action starts Feb. 11 and goes until May 31—we recommend showing up sooner than later for the best selection. Click here for more information on the 2012 designers and past winners.








Mary O’Regan


New York’s fashion crowd headed to our treasure&bond store in SoHo for an intimate evening to celebrate the 10 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund finalists. This special boutique presentation toasted the next generation of American fashion, which included:

Andrea Lieberman, A.L.C.
Greg Armas, Assembly New York
Sofia Sizzi, Giulietta
Justin Salguero, Daniel Silberman & Alina Silberman, Illesteva
Jennifer Fisher, Jennifer Fisher Jewelry
Jennifer Meyer Maguire, Jennifer Meyer
Max Osterweis & Erin Beatty, Suno
Tabitha Simmons, Tabitha Simmons
Greg Chait, The Elder Statesman (winner)
Wes Gordon, Wes Gordon

Starting Monday, you’ll be able to snag items from these very talented finalists for the first time when you visit one of our 6 pop-up shops, opening in Nordstrom stores in Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles (The Grove), Chicago and Dallas (Northpark), as well as in New York’s  treasure&bond store.

Jeffrey Kalinsky (center), Nordstrom’s EVP of Designer, is part of the Fund’s judging committee and shared why he’s proud to be involved. “Nordstrom has been a sponsor of the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund for seven years. We were one of the first big stores to get involved with the fund, kind of early on. I’m really proud to be part of a store that felt it was very important to support emerging creativity in the United States.”

Steven Kolb, the CFDA’s Chief Executive Officer, discussed the impact of our partnership and how it furthers the the Fund’s goals. “Fashion Fund is really an industry movement to further the success of American fashion. Particularly with Nordstrom, Jeffrey has such a great insight into talent and what sells. He has brought this experience to his work on the committee,” said Kolb, who is pictured right with Jeffrey.

“What we love especially is the evolution of Nordstrom’s relationship with the Fashion Fund. This pop-up shop now brings another type of experience and lessons learned on dealing with delivery, buyers and merchandising. It’s really bringing the skill and knowledge that Nordstrom has and sharing it with people who need it and want it.”

The Fashion Fund was established to help emerging American design talent develop their business in the areas of marketing, public relations, production and sales as well as offer a tailored mentorship from industry luminaries.

“You learn so much from all the judges. To be judged by such great, established industry giants is invaluable,” said Tabitha Simmons (pictured left), who cited Jeffrey as the one who pushed her the most during this experience. “Jeffrey was so brilliant, and he really gave me his honest opinion about my brand and business.”

Jewelry designer Jennifer Meyer Maguire (wife to actor Tobey Maguire, pictured right) is being mentored by Diane von Furstenberg. “The other nine designers were some of the nicest and talented people I have ever met in my life. Being able to work with them and watch their process was truly inspiring.”

“Getting to know people that you normally wouldn’t get the chance to know was a highlight of this experience,” added accessories designer Jennifer Fisher, pictured above, who said she counts Andrea Lieberman of A.L.C. and Jennifer Meyer as her new close friends. “The process was like a sorority rush. We had to go through everything together, and then you come out and it’s like a big reunion. I feel like I am seeing everyone from camp.”

–Qianna Smith