In the oversaturated fashion landscape, it is difficult to stand out from the crowd. With thousands of fashion designers competing for Instagram likes and trend-conscious consumers, talented designers often never get proper recognition for their work. To mollify the industry imbalance, which favors brands with large amounts of capital and brand heritage,15 years ago, the CFDA and Vogue created the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund.  

Each year, a select group of emerging designers is given the opportunity to compete for a cash prize and mentorship. The annual winner gets the two best gifts for any entrepreneur – savings, of both money and time. The not-for-profit fashion organization and the highly-esteem fashion publication offer a $400,000 prize to the winner and $150,000 to the two runner-up designers.

These organizations expect those selected to spend the money wisely – not on ultra glamorous runway shows and parties. Successful past winners of the award understood the importance of delayed designer gratification and chose to invest the money in advised matters such as marketing, public relations, supply chain logistics, material sourcing, and accounting.

Accordingly, the competition’s outcome can be seen as a “boom-and-bust” cycle of fashion-preneurs. The victorious among them include the likes of Altuzarra, Alexander Wang, and Jonathan Simkhai. In the changing fashion landscape, even some of the most talented designers are losing the battle against their profit margins. However, we are hopeful for the next generation of CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund winners – even in our increasingly turbulent times.

On Wednesday, July 18th, the top ten 2018 finalists were announced. By getting to this point in the game, especially 2018, demonstrates that these designers definitely have some (tailoring) tricks up their sleeve. In the battle between fashion influencer versus the industry, we are excited to see what is coming next.

Here’s a list of the finalists below, courtesy of Fashionista:

 

Batsheva (women’s ready-to-wear), Batsheva Hay

 

Bode (menswear), Emily Adams Bode

 

Christian Cowan (women’s ready-to-wear), Christian Cowan

 

Hunting Season (accessories), Danielle Corona

 

Jonathan Cohen (women’s ready-to-wear), Jonathan Cohen and Sarah Leff

 

Luar (men’s and women’s ready-to-wear), Raul Lopez

 

Matthew Adams Dolan (men’s and women’s ready-to-wear), Matthew Adams Dolan

 

Pyer Moss (men’s and women’s ready-to-wear), Kerby Jean-Raymond

 

Rebecca de Ravenel (jewelry), Rebecca de Ravenel

 

Scosha (jewelry), Scosha Woolridge

Of course, all of these designers are incredibly talented and deserving of this honor. Although, which designers truly can hang on by a thread in this head-to-head competition? Guess that we will have to wait until November 5th, at the organizers’ fashion show and gala in New York City.

Congratulations, designers!

Elisa Lewittes is a contributing editor and marketing strategist at Grit Daily. She specializes in the luxury fashion and lifestyle fields. Her other professional interests include business, entrepreneurship, and psychology. Elisa lives in Manhattan, New York.