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CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund: Passion is Always in Style

January 26th, 2012 by Sheila Dichoso

If you were a fashion designer, chances are you are living in New York City with a million other designers vying to get noticed. So what would you do if the chance of a lifetime were suddenly handed to you? If you were asked to explain who you are as a designer in five words or less? If the editor-in-chief of the most iconic fashion magazine in the world were to judge your aesthetic and every detail that defines who you are in a matter of 15 minutes? You would jump at the chance.

Every year, 10 American fashion designers are selected by the Council of Fashion Designers of America for the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund, to compete in a fierce but prestigious competition that gives one talented designer $300,000 to kick-start his or her business and a mentorship with a fashion industry leader.

And now you don’t have to imagine what the inner workings of the four-month competition process are like. The six-part series “The Fashion Fund” is now exclusively on Hulu and Hulu Plus beginning today, with new episodes airing every Thursday. For the first time ever, you can get a behind-the-scenes look at the fashion world.

The lucky winner will follow in the footsteps of other Fashion Fund winners who subsequently became fashion luminaries –  including Rodarte (15-year-old fashion blogger Tavi Gevinson is their muse), Proenza Schouler, and Alexander Wang.

The panel of judges – fashion elite: Anna Wintour of Vogue, Diane Von Furstenberg, and J. Crew’s creative director Jenna Lyons.

“It validates you,” stated Von Furstenberg, CFDA’s president. “It makes you part of the New York dialogue,” said 2007 finalist Scott Sternberg of the brand Band of Outsiders.

The Fashion Fund award is an achievement that offers success, influence, and something that can simply change lives. Check out the runway style explosion, the rush of New York City, and the wobbly-kneed and butterfly-tummied excitement of The Fashion Fund right here on Hulu.

The 10 finalists of 2011 were eclectic, ardent, and tenacious. Here’s a rundown of the designers:

Designers: Max Osterweis and Erin Beatty
Behind the Brand: Suno’s first collection was made of vintage textiles from East Africa that Osterweis collected over a 13-year period. Suno’s aesthetic is to make high-end clothing in an ethical way.

Pamela Love
Designer: Pamela Love
Behind the Brand: Morrocan-inspired jewelry. Love’s former projects include a “True Blood”-inspired line for HBO.

Designer: Dana Lorenz
Behind the Brand: Inspired by hard-edges, romance, and history. Also by the “old ladies wearing dusty Chanel jackets and dusty pearls” of NYC.

Designer: Antonio Azzuolo
Behind the Brand: Became a menswear designer because he was “tired of clothes that didn’t fit.”

Carlos Campos
Designer: Carlos Campos
Behind the Brand: Worked as a tailor at 16.

Designer: Joseph Altuzarra
Behind the Brand: Former finalist who reapplied; Battled tonsillitis during this year’s competition.

Creatures of the Wind
Designer: Shane Gabier and Christopher Peters
Behind the Brand: They’re a couple. Anna Wintour described them as “adorable.”

Cushnie et Ochs
Designers: Carly Cushnie and Michelle Ochs
Behind the Brand: These young designers formed their company right after graduating from Parsons in ’08.

Designer: Soraya Silchenstedt
Behind the Brand: Designs earrings for celebrity clientele, including Naomi Watts.

Ohne Titel
Designers: Alexa Adams and Flora Gil
Behind the Brand: These former finalists pair architectural shapes with soft drapery.

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