"If you believe in something, you can make it happen," said Burberry's Christopher Bailey during his speech at last night's CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Award dinner. And for top prize winner Greg Chait of the 5-year-old knitwear label The Elder Statesman, it's all happening.
Chait, who beat much-lauded finalists like Wes Gordon and Suno's Max Osterweis and Erin Beatty, will take home $300,000 to help develop his business. Runners-up Tabitha Simmons and jewelry designer Jennifer Meyer Maguire will each get $100,000. Like past winners, the trio will also be assigned fashion business mentors who will help them grow their respective brands.
Whether they won or not, all 10 of the young companies that were in the running for this year's prize have an exciting few months ahead of them: Nordstrom will open pop-up shops featuring merchandise from the finalists beginning next February, around the same time online retailer The Corner will launch a landing page devoted to the finalists.
And what seemed like most of the American fashion industry turned out last night to offer the winners congratulations. Anna Wintour, J.Crew's Jenna Lyons, and Diane von Furstenberg were there along with the rest of the prize's selection committee, and so were past winners Joseph Altuzarra, Proenza Schouler's Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez, Billy Reid, and Alexander Wang. Karlie Kloss, sporting her new bob, and her friend Jourdan Dunn walked the red carpet wearing glasses from another one of this year's finalists, Illesteva.