NEW YORK — Proenza Schouler designers Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough were named the first recipients of the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund award on Thursday night and will receive a $200,000 cash prize, as well as structured mentoring from industry experts over the course of a year.

Two additional runner-up prizes were announced, as the CFDA and Vogue presented $50,000 awards to Habitual designers Nicole and Michael Colovos and Cloak designer Alexandre Plokhov.

“The process alone helped us think about our business more seriously,” Hernandez said prior to winning the top prize. “It forced us to think about the framework of our company.”

The designers said they plan to use the prize money to build on their existing staff.

Proenza Schouler was chosen as the top applicant from an original pool of more than 170 designers who competed in the year-long process, where 10 finalists ultimately presented detailed business plans before a jury that included Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour, designer Narciso Rodriguez, and Julie Gilhart, fashion director of Barneys New York.

The other finalists were Libertine, Edmundo Castillo, Peter Som, Behnaz Sarafpour, Doo.Ri, Dean Harris and Derek Lam.

This story first appeared in the October 15, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.