September 2 2014

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9 posts tagged "CFDA Incubator"

The CFDA Incubator, Now In Session


The second round of CFDA Incubator designers found out they had made the cut back in August, and ever since, they have had months to mull over dreams of how their careers might change, à la round one designers Prabal Gurung or Waris Ahluwalia, after their time in the program. At last, they (the group includes Ari Dein, Daniel Vosovic, Doug and Ben Burkman of Burkman Bros, Christian Cota, Emanuela Duca, Luis Fernandez of Number:Lab, Reece Solomon of Reece Hudson, Ricky Hendry of Isaora, Timo Weiland and Alan Eckstein of Timo Weiland, and Whitney Pozgay of Whit) have moved into the communal space on West 38th Street and yesterday, they opened their doors and invited editors and buyers to come get a first look at their new digs.

Many of them of are still in awe of their upgraded spaces (which they admitted to staying up late the night before readying for Thursday’s open house). “It’s so nice to have a real studio now; we were working out of my apartment before,” handbag designer Reece Solomon, of Reece Hudson, told While they all added their own touches to their new spaces (the paint on the walls might actually still be drying as you read this), the designers were hoping at least one thing remains from the inaugural class: “I am in Prabal’s old studio, which he comes to visit a lot because his new space is upstairs, and I’m hoping he left some magic dust in here,” Fernandez admitted. “Fingers crossed.”

It already sounds like Gurung and the previous class just might have left some good luck in the halls of the Incubator—several designers said that having the CFDA Incubator attached to their name has resulted in a host of interested new buyers who wouldn’t previously have looked at their work. Womenswear designer Daniel Vosovic (pictured) happily reported he has a new A-list client or two (whose names we can’t announce) pulling his pieces for big premieres. But it’s not all work and no play in the Incubator. “It feels like summer camp!” said Vosovic. “There has been talk of having a party in here, I think Ari [Dein] has been suggesting a pajama party one night. How fun would that be?” asked Fernandez. Rest assured, it would be a chic one.

Photo: Courtesy Photo

Out Of The Incubator, Into The World


“Congrats, grads!” one partygoer said last night to a group of inaugural CFDA Incubator designers, including Prabal Gurung, Bibhu Mohapatra, and Waris Ahluwalia (pictured, right), standing in a circle in the penthouse of the Mondrian Soho. “Where are your cap and gowns?”

Stylish as they are, the designers eschewed traditional graduation garb and decided to sport the clothes of their choosing for last night’s party, fêting the end of the designers’ stint in the first-ever round of the CFDA Incubator program. They didn’t, however, skip out on the sentiments surrounding the end of an era. “Can you believe it has been two years?” the CFDA’s Lisa Smilor asked the crowd as she began her commencement speech, with CFDA CEO Steven Kolb (pictured, left) standing next to her. She was answered with a resounding no. “Tonight, everyone is a little teary—it’s emotional. But it’s not the end, it’s just the beginning of the next chapter. Mark my words, we look forward to continuing to watch you, support you, and applaud all of the success we know you are going to have.”

After Smilor’s heartfelt speech, the designers mused over the next chapter. “I’m definitely a little sad,” said Gurung, who just got back from a month of traveling in his native Nepal. “But I’m also feeling very ready to move on.” Mohapatra, for his part, shared similar emotions but admitted, “I moved into my new studio space, and at first it was scary because it was too big. I’m getting used to it now, though,” he said as he glanced toward the wall, which was showcasing the results of his and the rest of the Incubator designers’ photo project with the School of Visual Arts. For the assignment, every designer partnered with one of the school’s Masters in Photography Studies, Fashion Photography, students to create a brand campaign, in consultation with Trey Laird of the renowned creative agency Laird + Partners. Below, has an exclusive first look at some of the photos.

Continue Reading “Out Of The Incubator, Into The World” »

Meet The CFDA Incubator Class Of 2014


Today, the CFDA Incubator welcomes its newest group of initiates: Antonio Azzuolo, Arielle Shapiro of Ari Dein, Doug and Ben Burkman of Burkman Bros, Christian Cota, Emanuela Duca, Rick Hendry and Marc Daniels of Isaora, Luis Fernandez of Number: Lab, Reece Solomon of Reece Hudson, Timo Weiland and Alan Eckstein of Timo Weiland, and Maayan Zilberman and Nikki Dekker of The Lake & Stars. The selection committee of industry leaders, including’s executive editor, Nicole Phelps, carefully picked this group of ten young designers to follow in the footsteps of the inaugural dozen designers who kicked off the program in February 2010. We have watched the careers of current all-stars in the Incubator, like Prabal Gurung and Bibhu Mohapatra, flourish during their short time in the “fashion frat,” and here, we check in with the newest pledge “class II” before they move into 209 West 38th Street.

a. a. Antonio Azzuolo
This marks designer Antonio Azzuolo‘s second time in an Incubator program. After graduating from Ryerson University, the Montreal native took part in the Canadian version. “There are programs like the Incubator all over the world and I always wondered why the States didn’t have one,” he says. Following the program, he lived in Paris for ten years, where he honed his skills at labels like Kenzo and Hermès. Now, with his own menswear label, the designer is heavily focused on the concept of duality. “Being a twin [sibling], I have always had aspects of feminity and masculinity in my work,” the designer says. For Spring ’12, however, expect to see opposing French and Japanese cultural influences at play.

Ari Dein
“I’ve been decorating my space in the Incubator for about six months now,” lingerie designer Arielle Shapiro tells us. “In my mind, that is.” Now that it’s a reality, however, she has an antique mirror, an old yellow Chippendale chair, and a vintage suitcase on hand to fill what will become her home-away-from-home.¬†For Shapiro, her surroundings have always played a crucial role in her design process. Most recently, her innerwear and swimwear Invisible Cities collection was inspired by a trip to Rome. Eventually, Shapiro’s hoping to parlay that interest in architecture and interior design by developing her budding brand into a full lifestyle collection to include “more swim and ready-to-wear, bedding, and home.”

Burkman Bros
You might recognize the Burkman Bros name thanks to Kanye West, who wore Doug and Ben Burkman’s woven bracelets at Coachella this year. From rappers to rugged men, their casual menswear line has since found a steady stream of followers. For Spring 2012, the globetrotting brothers were feeling Hawaiian after a trip to the islands. “We learned how to surf and found a lot of inspiration in the Hawaiian culture, particularly in relation to how we like to use prints and color,” says Doug. As for the Incubator, Ben says, “Working in a proper office space should be interesting…To have that divide between work and our home should be nice.”

Christian Cota
“The whole environment will be like going back to school,” says designer Christian Cota, who realized the wealth of benefits that comes from being a part of the Incubator program after talking to some of his friends in the current crop. “Obviously, with Diane von Furstenberg as the CFDA president, you have a tremendous support system helping you out,” Cota, who has received several honorable accolades in the past few years, like Fashion Group International’s Rising Star Award and a CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund nomination, says. “I’m at the point with my business where we are really expanding, and having their help to do it is key.” For Spring ’12, look out for a strong showing of polished signature Cota looks, like mixing structure with softer fabrics, and a plethora of prints.

Emanuela Duca
“My work represents my life experience,” says jewelry designer Emanuela Duca. “The rough surfaces, it’s what comes from the Roman culture, and the slick part, that’s my life in Manhattan.” Born and raised in Rome, the New York transplant has managed to find a beautiful balancing point between the two cultures in her work. Her structural collection of textural jewelry has a niche retail market, selling in galleries around the world, but Duca, like Isaora designer Ricky Hendry, wants to expand her business to reach a wider clientele with the help of the Incubator program. Continue Reading “Meet The CFDA Incubator Class Of 2014″ »

Inside The CFDA Incubator With Waris, Prabal, Bibhu, And More


The 12 designers who now call the CFDA Fashion Incubator their home-away-from-home opened their doors to the press this morning for a meet-and-greet. When we strolled through, Prabal Gurung was shooting a video with NY1 and Waris Ahluwalia was handing out “Waris ♥’s You” pins (pictured) to lucky visitors. “It’s a fashion frat, only with better cocktails,” Justin Giunta jokes in our video tour of the new space. The atmosphere is certainly collegial, but it’s definitely more about work than play at 209 W. 38th Street. We asked Bibhu Mohapatra, who by luck of the draw landed the largest studio, if he ever feels pressure to stay as late as his peers. “The pressure doesn’t come from the other designers, it comes from the show date in September,” he told us. “But there have been times I’ve thought about not turning off the lights, closing the door, and sneaking out.” Lucky for him, he’s closest to the elevators. For a more in-depth look at the Incubator, watch this clip.

Photo: Staff