When it comes to the question of “Nature vs. Nurture,” being a natural talent sure helps in the design world. But a little nurturing doesn’t hurt either.
Through its numerous mentoring programs, young designers get expert advice from more established designers and companies. “It’s an investment in the future of the industry,” says CFDA’s Steven Kolb. “By giving these designers the skills, the mentoring and the resources to become big American brands, we’re helping them with their success, and it creates this cycle of giving back. When they’re at that point, they’ll be conditioned to do the same. It only helps the industry.”
Several of these programs have been established in collaboration with Vogue, such as the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Awards.
“After 9/11, both the CFDA and Vogue shared an impulse to immediately do something to help young designers who were struggling in the aftermath of that terrible moment,” says Vogue editor in chief Anna Wintour. “But not long after that, the idea of a more long-term strategy to establish and nurture a new generation of American designers with global reach began to take shape—that being proactive was the only way forward. Out of that the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund was established. I’m enormously proud of what it has achieved, and I’m equally proud that the likes of Proenza Schouler, Alexander Wang, Joseph Altuzarra, Eddie Borgo, Rodarte, Monique Péan and Pamela Love have so brilliantly repaid our belief in them.”
Many established designers participate in various mentoring programs.
“The CFDA played an instrumental role in the success of so many designers,” says Elie Tahari. “We’ve partnered to promote select CFDA jewelry designers by featuring their product in our East Hampton boutique, allowing me to give up-and-coming designers a platform for people to see their work, which has brought me great happiness.”
Kenneth Cole adds, “In addition to providing designers with mentorship, guidance and exposure critical to their success, the CFDA offers valuable resources that enable newer, younger companies to become more viable.”
CFDA’s splashy shout-out to drive retail business, Fashion’s Night Out, got its start in September 2009. It collaborated with Vogue, New York & Co. and the city of New York on the shopping extravaganza, which aimed to help restore consumer confidence and drum up retail sales in New York in the midst of the recession that started in 2008. Now in its fourth year, the shopping event has become an international phenomenon that’s expanded to 19 markets worldwide.
Here are several key CFDA initiatives to boost business and nurture the next generation of talent.
FASHION'S NIGHT OUT
The original mission of 2009’s Fashion’s Night Out was to get New Yorkers excited about shopping again, after staring down a recession for almost a year. It turned into one giant global scene. Its fourth edition was slated to take place on Sept. 6.
It was Wintour’s idea, along with Diane von Furstenberg’s, to enlist the support of Mayor Bloomberg. About 1,000 stores across the city’s five boroughs stayed open late—most until 11 p.m.—and hosted special events with entertainers, models and fashion stars. In some neighborhoods, it has become a huge block party with Champagne flowing and celebrity watching galore.
Among those expected to make appearances this time around were Kim Kardashian, Solange Knowles, Matchbox Twenty, Jessica Seinfeld, Kelly Rutherford and Jennifer Hudson. The event was accompanied by a special Fashion’s Night Out collection, with a portion of the proceeds benefitting the New York City AIDS Fund in the New York Community Trust. About 250 cities in the U.S. are now involved in FNO, as well as online.
It impacts sales for some retailers, while for others, it’s a marketing opportunity that draws customers who might not otherwise go into their stores. Kolb acknowledges there are pros and cons, and some designers have complained. “You’ve got people getting ready for their shows. It creates gridlock. But overall, it’s been a really positive thing…. It happens, it’s over and everybody can get back to work,” says Kolb. “We’re creating a new national holiday, and you can feel the energy and buzz.”
EXCLUSIVE: @tomford is opening its first-ever beauty store. The boutique, which opens November 20 in London’s Covent Gardens, was designed with the over-the-top glam Ford is known for. Read the full story on WWD.com, link in bio. #wwdbeauty #wwdnews (📷: Simon Wagner) #TomFordBeauty
New York-based DJ @harleyvnewton threw a party to celebrate the holiday collection of her dress and pajama line @hvn at the Ladurée Beverly Hills. It Girls @katebosworth, @rashidajones and more joined in on the fun, which included cocktails, croque monsieur sandwiches and a photo booth. #wwdfashion (📷: Owen Kolasinski/BFA.com)
For the holidays, @Burberry partnered with 20-year-old artist @blondeymccoy on a series of three outdoor murals in downtown Manhattan. The murals are McCoy’s interpretation of a Christmas eve party, the idea of charity and the spirit of family. His third mural, pictured here, is the most personal. The image depicts McCoy’s grandparents and father in London’s Trafalgar Square in the Seventies. “My work often features lots of sentimental objects.” #wwdeye
For spring 2018, designers applied bold colors and cartoonish motifs on everything from sneakers and belts to key chains. See all the top men’s accessories trends on WWD.com. #wwdtrends (📷: George Chinsee; Prop Styling by @rnasti; Market Editor: @luiscampuzano)
The @dior-sponsored @guggenheim international gala pre-party has a history of drawing cool-girl musical acts to serenade the crowd –– and last night was no exception. @haimtheband performed songs both new and old, and lured a star-studded audience with the likes of Rebecca Hall, Kate Mara, Mamoudou Athie and more. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)
In a partnership between the @metopera and the @englishnationalopera, “Marnie” was born. The opera, with costumes sponsored by @mrporterlive, is an adaptation of the 1961 thriller by Winston Graham. Arianne Phillips, who created the costumes, is no rookie: She’s styled Madonna for her tours and created costumes for a myriad of films in the past. Read WWD’s interview with Phillips, where she talks about her inspiration for the opera’s costumes on WWD.com #wwdfashion
@barneysnyc took a different approach to their holiday windows this year. Instead of Christmas decor, Barneys tapped @thehaasbrothers to tell a story of positivity, gratitude and inclusivity via heartwarming silliness and humor. “It’s about kids and it’s about coming together and being family and loving each other,” said Simon Haas. #wwdfashion (📷: @joshuascottphoto)
Beauty influencer @kandeejohnson makes her foray into hair care with a collaboration with @ogx_beauty — making it the first time that OGX has teamed up for a product creation. The collab includes shampoos and conditioners in three scents. At 39 and a mom, Johnson is a different profile than the emerging social media stars, but is considered one of the pioneers of the digital beauty influencer world. Read WWD’s interview with her on wwd.com, including the strangest beauty product she’s ever tried #wwdbeauty