Colgate Couture: CFDA

Claire Hunter

In 1962, Eleanor Lambert created the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), an organization that remains extremely important in today’s fashion world. Having been an integral part of the art world in her early career, she was familiar with “the scene” as well as the work ethic that went along with mastering these jobs. Along with her work with this new organization, she was a publicist in the arts and the founder and coordinator of the International Best Dressed List, a list passed on to “Vanity Fair” to try and promote American fashion.

Today, the organization of 450 American designers remains a not-for-profit trade association with the famous Diane von Furstenberg as president since 2009. Many influential designers such as Michael Kors, Vera Wang and Tory Burch are also highly involved.

Their mission, according to their website, is to “further the position of Fashion design as a recognized branch of American art and culture; to advance artistic and professional standards within the Fashion industry; to establish and maintain a code of ethics and practices of mutual benefit in professional, public, and trade relations; to promote and improve public understanding and appreciation of the Fashion arts through leadership in quality and taste; to create partnerships which lead to collaborative design opportunities for our Members; to support the overall growth of American Fashion as a global industry”.

Inside the CFDA are various organizations and scholarships, one of which is called the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund. The organization and the magazine have put together “an endowment to support the next generation of American fashion designers.” The Council that is part of the process chooses three designers, one winner and two runners up, who win a large sum of money as well as business mentoring to promote their products. Not only is receiving this award an honor, it also has shown to really launch the designer to the public eye as a “designer to watch.” For example, though they did not win the 2012 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund award last year, Max Osterweis and Erin Beatty of Suno were the recipients of the 2013 Swarovski Award for Womenswear, also given by the CFDA.

In reading all of this history about the CFDA, you may ask yourself, “Well, why is this relevant?” As we gear up to hear who will win the awards on November 11 in New York City, we have also just seen the finalists’ fashion shows at Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles. There, designers, actors, editors and socialites gathered to observe the magnificent collections that the designers have been working on for months.

In the next few weeks, keep your eyes out for these finalists: Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne of “Public School,” Jason Jones and Mike Feldman of “Parabellum,” Juan Carlos Obando, Tim Coppens, Todd Snyder and Marc Alary, all representing their own houses, Misha Nonoo of “Nonoo,” Ryan Lobo and Ramon Martin of “TOME,” Shimon Ovadia and Ariel Ovadia of “Ovadia & Sons” and Veronica Swanson Beard and Veronica Miele Beard of “Veronica Beard.”

While I find all these finalists to be equally talented, they each have big shoes to fill, having seen what previous winners have done and become, such as Alexander Wang and Joseph Altuzarra. Once the committee has made their choices, we must watch the fashion world evolve and remember these coveted names, as they may be the next big things in our world of fashion.

Contact Claire Hunter at [email protected]