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: @britneyspears is continuing to expand her brand. The pop icon, who appears in @kenzo ’s latest campaign, is partnering with Epic Rights to launch a line of branded merchandise. Read @hernameislex ‘s story, link in bio. #wwdnews #britneyspears
The Duchess of Cambridge channeled Princess Diana’s look upon giving birth to Prince Harry, when she and the Duke of Cambridge departed the hospital with the new baby Prince this afternoon in London. #wwdeye #princeofcambridge
The new Prince of Cambridge has arrived! The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge posed with the 8-pound newborn. She wore a look from one of her go-to designers, @jennypackham. Tap link in bio for more. #wwdeye #princeofcambridge
Jewelry label @alisonlou has made a name for itself with fine jewelry that speaks to the Millennial market. Now @twallz21 reports that the label is bringing those playful ideas to a new affordable line of lucite hoops with the launch of Loucite by Alison Lou. Here’s a look from the line modeled by @emrata. #wwdaccessories
@sarahjessicaparker and @gilt are teaming up on a bridal ready-to-wear line. Tomorrow, Parker will launch SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker Bridal — and as part of the launch, Gilt will offer 15 exclusive styles from the SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker footwear collection that were designed to complement the new line. Made out of 10 styles, the line is designed for a variety of occasions, from bridal showers to receptions. Get more details on WWD.com #wwdfashion
A grooming moment between @tanfrance and @antoni last night at the The LGBT Community Center Trailblazer Awards honoring Anna Wintour, Ricky Martin and more. See more photos at WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)
“It was a very surreal feeling. It wasn’t like we were in the studio together coming up with it — it’s more like he discovered it and loved it. I didn’t let myself get my hopes up, but then it happened it was very exciting,” said singer-songwriter @nombe on discovering that @pharrell would be using his song, “Cant Catch Me” on his HBO documentary series “Outpost.” The German-born singer — named Noah MacBeth — talked to WWD about feminism, using art as a platform for political expression and personal style. Read more on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
This season, denim is going west – in influence. Brands like @fathersdaughterla (pictured here), @tommyhilfiger Jeans, @levis and more are opting for raw, top-stitching styles. (Styled by @thealexbadia; 📷: @ryanplett)