NEW YORK — J. Crew toasted five years of collaboration with winners of the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund on Tuesday evening with a panel discussion of fund alumni. Sitting before an audience of local fashion students, Joseph Altuzarra, Prabal Gurung, Tabitha Simmons, Public School’s Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne, and Paul Andrew were prodded about their career and Fashion Fund experiences by the CFDA’s Marc Karimzadeh. The designers — all winners or runners-up of the fund who created subsequent collaborations with J. Crew as part of their prize package — provided the event’s onlookers with nuggets of advice.

Speaking of the effect of social media on his business, Andrew said Instagram, “is a great way to put your brand forward without paying a ton of money on advertising.”

Gurung said the prize money from his CVFF honor “helped us start pre-collections, which is a big part of our business now.”

Toward the discussion’s close, the designers were asked a variety of questions, one of which was their very first jobs. Here, their responses:

Paul Andrew: Marks & Spencer Food Hall server

Dao-Yi Chow: Rollerblade salesman at Paragon Sports

Maxwell Osborne: Messenger for his family’s travel agency

Tabitha Simmons: Shoe store saleswoman

Prabal Gurung: Assistant for his family’s garment business in Nepal

Joseph Altuzarra: Waiter and short-order cook at a Paris café

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