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The Council of Fashion Designers of America, in partnership with the Accessories Council, has unveiled the participants in the inaugural Elaine Gold Launch Pad business innovation program.

The Elaine Gold Launch Pad is a four-year partnership underwritten by a $1.5 million donation to the CFDA Foundation. It is in honor of Elaine Gold, the accessories executive, who died in 2015.

The program focuses on assisting emerging designers, from those just starting out to ones who have been in business for three years, to launch their careers in apparel, accessories, jewelry or textiles and knitwear.

The six designers are: Alexis Isabel of her namesake brand (footwear); Emily Adams Bode, Bode (men’s wear); Lucy Jones, Ffora (accessories, innovation); Ali Rose, Jack Burns, Mark Richardson, Genusee (optical); Maria Kazakova, Jahnkoy (women’s wear, men’s wear), and Jameel Mohammed, Khiry (jewelry).

The board selected 11 finalists from 97 applications. Each finalist received a $2,500 stipend toward their Live Design Pitch presentation, which took place at the CFDA on July 27,  as well as mentorship from Ideo’s Sebastian Park.

The participants will take part in a six-month virtual residency, which will combine creative and business mentorship with micro awards totaling $175,000. The goal of the program is to develop visionary ideas into viable business offerings. The program encourages holistic design and business innovation, sustainability and technology, integrated into product, service and systems. Professional development and practical business will include areas such as brand strategy, finance, value chain, production, retail/commerce and strategic planning.

The jury included Brad Schmidt, Cadet; Carly-Ann Fergus, XRC Labs; Colette Malouf; Greg Armas, Assembly New York; Jake Sargent, Soft Matter Ventures; John Jones, Fjord, Accenture; Karen Giberson, Accessories Council; Keanan Duffty, Polimoda; Leila Larijani, Elaine Gold, Accessories Council; Steven Kolb, CFDA, Lisa Smilor, CFDA; Marshall Cheek, Tory Burch; Rebecca Minkoff, and Sara Kozlowski, CFDA.

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