Last night, under the gothic archways of The High Line Hotel’s Hoffman Hall in New York’s Chelsea district, Target and the Council of Fashion Designers of America celebrated the CFDA’s incoming crop of promising design talent—the CFDA Incubator Class 3.0—over cocktails and dinner. The ten honorees—A Peace Treaty’s Dana Arbib, Farah Malik, and Jesse Meighan; Sara Beltrán of Dezso by Sara Beltrán; Isa Tapia; Kaelen’s Kaelen Haworth; Kara’s Sarah Law; Katie Ermilio; Lucio Castro; Nomia’s Yara Flinn; Nonoo’s Misha Nonoo; and Orley’s Matthew Orley, Alex Orley, and Samantha Florence—toasted the start of their two-year tenure (2014-2016) in the CFDA’s business development program.
“It’s a very reflective group of what is American fashion overall,” said Steven Kolb, the CFDA’s CEO, who later added, “We have the powerful opportunity to help these ten young American fashion brands move to a new level and to create a business that’s sustainable.” Target also created a “Summer School Series” of workshops and will present the designers with an Uncommon Design Challenge, where the winner will see their product sold in select Target stores and online.
Last night was about celebrating their collective Incubator experience (they spent the morning in media training) and how they’ll grow separately as professionals. Amid the chatter, Haworth was contemplating whether to make Castro’s June wedding in Corsica, Nonoo was gabbing with fellow CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund alum Dao-Yi Chow of Public School on just how they were portrayed in their Ovation TV documentary series, while Florence gushed about the Katie Ermilio dress she’ll wear to the upcoming CFDA Awards.
“Everyone can design a sketch, but not everyone can build a brand,” said Noria Morales, Target’s director of design partnerships. “The people who made it into this Incubator program have a nose for business, and we recognize that they can be the next great American fashion brands.”