Spotlight on the 3 CFDA/ Vogue Fashion Fund Winners

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Spotlight on the 3 CFDA/ Vogue Fashion Fund Winners


People are still abuzz from the announcement made this Monday at the CFDA/ Vogue Fund award ceremony that there would be three designers awarded the prize rather than one winner and two runner-ups. This is not something the CFDA has ever done before, and was apparently a decision made mere hours prior to the awards ceremony. Each winner will be awarded $300,000 along with a year of mentorship in order to grow their brand and designs.

The three designers awarded, Brother Vellies designer Aurora James, Jonathan Simkhai, and Gypsy Sport designer Rio Uribe, bring very different styles and ideals to the industry through their individual brands.

Aurora James focuses on sustainability, sourcing materials directly from Africa, where she also has studios, providing jobs and incorporating traditional arts into her work. As stated on the brand’s website, Brother Vellies was created by James “with the goal of introducing the rest of the world to her favorite traditional African footwear, while also creating and sustaining artisanal jobs within Africa. Handmade in South Africa, Kenya and Morocco, Brother Vellies creates boots, shoes and sandals in styles that maintain the spirit and durability of their ancestral counterparts.”

Jonathan Simkhai focuses on traditional womenswear, having launched his own label in 2010 in New York. Simkhai’s website states that his focus is on designing “unique pieces capturing a balance between masculine strength and feminine sensuality.” Graphic patterns, luxurious fabrics and knits are emphasized in his latest figure-hugging collection.

Rio Uribe’s brand Gypsy Sport focuses not on menswear or womenswear, but on clothes that can be worn by either gender. As he told Yahoo Style in September, “I just hoped that anybody would like it and want to wear it, and to this point, I still consider it to be a non-gender-specific brand.”

With three such diverse talents, it’s clear why choosing just one was no easy feat, even for the likes of Anna Wintour, CFDA Chairman Diane Von Furstenburg, and CFDA President/CEO Steven Kolb.


Spotlight on the 3 CFDA/ Vogue Fashion Fund Winners

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Written by Lillie Peterson

Lillie is a graduate from UC Santa Barbara with a bachelor's in Classics and a lifelong fascination for fashion and art. A freelance writer and artist, her hobbies include photography, design, drawing and blogging.

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