This year's CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund cycle kicked off with the announcement in WWD of an official partnership between the council and J.Crew, the ever-growing mass retailer who, last summer, replaced The Gap as the scholarship's primary sponsor, along with Ann Taylor. New underwriters of the Fund will include Carolina Herrera, Tommy Hilfiger, Tiffany & Co, Starbucks and thecorner.com.
The Fund, which aims to recognize and cultivate exceptional new talent within the fashion industry, has grown enormously in recent years, with awards now ranging up to $300,000 for winners and $100,000 for runners-up. Recent winners include Billy Reid, Sophie Theallet, and Alexander Wang.
Applications for the Fund are notoriously rigorous, forcing designers who apply to lay out an extensive short and long-term business plan for their brand. In addition to the financial scholarship, winners receive extensive business mentoring services, with industry professionals consulting on everything from fabric sourcing and planning to production and exporting.
The application process kicks off on Monday, with finalists named in July and an awards ceremony held in November.