The Elaine Gold Launch Pad will support young businesses with a zero to three-year history. The program — a four-year commitment — is underwritten with $1.5 million in funds, donated to the CFDA Foundation by the estate of accessories maven Elaine Gold.
Gold, who passed away in 2015, had been a charter and board member of the Accessories Council.
“The Elaine Gold Launch Pad supports early-emerging and young design talent and aspirational entrepreneurs, and encourages creativity within technology, sustainability and innovation through six months of mentorship and milestone-based awards,” said a statement announcing the new program.
Apparel, accessories, jewelry, textiles, knitwear and hybridized specialization designers are eligible to apply. Ten finalists are eligible for a total five fellowships. The application process is to begin this spring.
“Elaine Gold Design Fellows will be challenged to develop design-centric, innovative business model concepts with tangible rewards. Each designer will compete for a series of milestone based micro-awards, venture awards and end program awards of up to $175,000 based on viability and originality,” said the statement.
“It was really an honor and a privilege to do something to remember Elaine Gold, a board member of the council one of people who had been on board from the very beginning, so for me to do something that respected her wishes is a privilege,” said Accessories Council president Karen Giberson.
Sara Kozlowski, Director of Education + Professional Development at CFDA, said: “We are committed to education, and had an opportunity to partner with the Accessories Council to create something new and specific. It seemed after a lot of research that there is a unique need for emerging talent support those entering fashion system, who are at a different stage of development.”