Our closets owe a lot to the Council of Fashion Designers of America, or the CFDA for short. The organization (helmed by Anna Wintour) recognizes top talent in our homeland, turns out au courant collaborations and fosters new generations of budding designers every year. Vis-à-vis the latter, the CFDA just announced the finalists for its 2015 Vogue Fashion Fund at a cocktail party hosted by Carolina Herrera at New York’s Jane Hotel. Of the 10 labels nominated, one winner will be granted a prize of $400,000 as well as a mentorship to help continue growing their business—two additional runner-ups will be given $150,000. In other words, these on-the-verge labels might just be the next big thing in the fashion industry. Here, a crash course in the crop of couturiers and accessory designers in the running.
The CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund 2015 Finalists
1. Baja East - Scott Studenberg and John Targon
Go figure that former fashion sales directors Scott Studenberg (Lanvin) and John Targon (Celine) would join forces to bring us something equally covetable: Baja East. Founded in 2013, the boy-meets-girl label is relevant to city and coastline wardrobes alike. We dig it.
2. Baldwin - Matt Baldwin
Say hello to the denim brand that's putting Kansas City on the map (for real). Established in 2009, Baldwin by Matt Baldwin is based in the Midwest and manufactured entirely in America. After the successful addition of a fully fledged women's collection in 2013—one that speaks to the label's dapper look and functional mentality—we look forward to following their future moves.
3. Brother Vellies - Aurora James
Brother Vellies proves just how cool sustainability can be with its collection of high-fashion flats. Designed in Brooklyn by Aurora James, every shoe is skillfully built by local artisans in South Africa and Kenya for a result that is authentic and stylish. Note the vibrant patterns, pops of neon and statement silhouettes. How could you not be excited to get your feet in a pair?
4. Cadet - Brad Schmidt and Raul Arevalo
From Raul Arevalo and Brad Schmidt, Cadet is military-inspired menswear at its finest. Founded in 2011, the Brooklyn-based brand boasts unfussy lines, timeless silhouettes and innovative fabrics to yield modern utilitarian looks—run don't walk to tell your boyfriend.
5. CG - Chris Gelinas
Designed by Chris Gelinas—who cut his teeth at Marc Jacobs, Proenza Schouler and Theyskens' Theory (nbd)—CG captures our hearts with clothes that are office-ready and feminine, yet still relaxed. Bonus points: The luxury label sources local talent to produce much of the collection in New York.
6. Chromat - Becca McCharen
Self-described as "structural experiments for the human body," Chromat may be the coolest line of swimwear and lingerie we've laid our eyes on yet. Started in 2010 by Becca McCharen, the label reflects the designer's background in architecture, featuring cage-like accents at every turn.
7. David Hart
Classic menswear with a contemporary spin best describes David Hart. Debuted in 2013, the NYC collection carries out its eponymous designer's vision with a bold, tasteful use of color and detail that imbues the modern male with confidence and panache. What's more is that Mr. Hart is devoted to supporting the disappearing Garment District and other small textile mills by producing all of his looks in the US, UK, Ireland and Italy.
8. Gypsy Sport - Rio Uribe
Gypsy Sport started as a headwear label in 2010 under the helm of Rio Uribe and has since evolved into a complete, much-sought-after sportswear line. Implementing all he learned in his 6-year tenure working under Nicholas Ghesquière at Balenciaga, Uribe has found success with a truly distinctive line defined by soulfulness, gender neutrality and avant-garde accents.
9. Jonathan Simkhai
No stranger to these pages, Jonathan Simkhai masters effortless femininity and sex appeal with every collection he produces. Resourcing luxe fabrics including cashmere, wool and silk, each piece the NY designer turns out promises to be a wardrobe staple. Hashtag obsessed.
10. Thaddeus O'Neil
Last but certainly not least comes Thaddeus Oneil. Made in New York City, the beach bum-inspired menswear assortment—ideal for après surf—is appealing enough to make us want to borrow from the boys.