The CFDA and Accessories Council are set to kick of the second edition of their joint talent development fund — the Elaine Gold Launch Pad.
Applications for the fund are now open. A new advisory board will select finalists, and ultimately a winner. That group includes Brad Schmidt (Cadet), Carly-Ann Fergus (XRC Labs), Colette Malouf (Colette Malouf), Fabio Silva (FRSilva Law), Greg Armas (Assembly New York), Jake Sargent (Softmatter Ventures), John Jones (Fjord), Karen Giberson (Accessories Council), Keanan Duffty, Leila Larijani (UBS Financial Services), Lisa Smilor (CFDA), Marshall Cheek (Tory Burch), Rebecca Minkoff (Rebecca Minkoff), Sara Kozlowski (CFDA), Sarah Blair (Barneys New York), Sebastein Park (IDEO), Steven Kolb (CFDA) and Danilo Venturi (Polimoda).
The four-year partnership has a $1.5 million endowment, funded by the estate of Elaine Gold — a veteran of the accessories industry who passed away in 2015. It looks to support designers whose businesses are less than three years old.
This year’s fund will distribute up to $175,000 in prize money. Up to 10 finalists will be chosen to compete.
CFDA chief executive officer Steven Kolb said: “The Elaine Gold Launch Pad program encourages early emerging talent to be inventive in their thinking and in how their brand potentially impacts the fashion landscape. The first group of design entrepreneurs were provided with the opportunity to test and refine ideas, develop unique strategies and question new ways of making, selling and storytelling. While many already had values connected to sustainability and social innovation, new technologies and systems the program amplified their thinking.”
Accessories Council president Karen Giberson added: “We were so impressed with our first group of mentees — they all had a unique perspective and I have no doubt, we will see big things from them in the future. It was an honor to work with them and our dynamic mentors and I know Elaine would be very proud of the team. As we prepare for the next group, our last team has set a high bar. We are looking forward to reviewing the new applications.”
Last year’s grand prize winner was Lucy Jones of Ffora.