The winner takes home a monetary award of $300,000 while the two runners-up each receive a grant of $100,000. The winner, runners-up and finalists will also receive mentorships and a pathway to success.
The announcement was made by Linda Evangelista and Tommy Hilfiger at Vogue’s Forces of Fashion at Condé Nast headquarters following a conversation between Hilfiger and Aurora James focused on emerging talent and the Fashion Fund.
Baumeister, a German fashion designer, is based in New York, where she graduated with a master of fine arts degree in fashion design from Parsons in 2013, and launched her own brand with visual artist Paul Jung that same year. She showed her first collection in fall 2014, supported by VFiles in New York. In September, she showed her spring 2024 collection in Chinatown, featuring her signature pleating and lampshade hemlines with foam inserts that were used for tank tops, ankle-length skirts and smock dresses. The designer has become a fixture in cutting-edge retailers such as Dover Street Market, H. Lorenzo, Atelier and Ant/Dote.
Scott, who is a LVMH Prize finalist as well, has made a mark with her artisan luxury wear line Diotima. Founded in 2021, Diotima has also been picked up by Bergdorf Goodman, Moda Operandi and McMullen, among others. While Jamaican-born Scott gained attention for her sculptural crochet pieces, she has since expanded that hand embellishment to tailoring, shirting and other wardrobing pieces.
Zankov, a knitwear specialist, launched his brand to inject a sense of playfulness, color, freshness and ease into men’s and women’s knitwear. For spring, he lightened things up, calling on the positive vibes of semiprecious stones. He featured fine gauge cotton worked on the bias for added slouch.
“Our CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund class of 2023 are wonderfully talented. They all have something to say about what fashion can be — and where it needs to go. As we prepare to celebrate the fund’s 20th anniversary in 2024, this year’s finalists have been a wonderful reminder of why we set up the fund in the first place: to enable a new generation of designers to be seen and heard,” said Anna Wintour, chief content officer, Condé Nast, and global editorial director, Vogue.
Thom Browne, chairman of the CFDA, said, “The CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund has always supported truly creative talent…it has been a way for the world to see new and unique stories…from my story in 2005 to the new stories we’re celebrating today…congratulations to Melitta Baumeister as well as Henry Zankov and Rachel Scott, and all finalists doing truly individual and creative work…”
In addition to Baumeister, Zankov and Scott, this year’s finalists are: Angelo Fabricio Urrutia of 4SDesigns; Colin LoCascio; Kim Shui; Kozaburo Akasaka of Kozaburo; Sami Miro of Sami Miro Vintage; Fletcher Kasell and Tanner Richie of Tanner Fletcher, and Everard Best and Telia D’Amore of Who Decides War.
The CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund was established after Sept. 11, 2001 to help emerging designers and cultivate the next generation of American fashion talent.
The 2023 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund was supported by Afterpay, Instagram, Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue and Vogue.
The winners are selected by qualified industry judges through a series of challenges and program milestones that display the finalists’ creativity, innovation, business readiness and impact.
The members of the 2023 selection committee were Wintour, Browne, Steven Kolb, CFDA; Mark Holgate, Vogue; Chioma Nnadi, Vogue; Aurora James, Brother Bellies and Fifteen Percent Pledge; Roopal Patel, Saks Fifth Avenue; Eva Chen, Instagram; Sam Lobban, Nordstrom; Paloma Elsesser, model and activist; Nick Molnar, Afterpay and The Next Generation.
Last year’s 10 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund winners, who all received funds, were Jacques Agbobly, Black Boy Knits; Elena Velez; Felisha Noel, Fe Noel; Lauren Harwell Godfrey, Harwell Godfrey; Taofeek Abijako, Head of State; Conley Averett, Judy Turner; Colm Dillane, KidSuper; Pia Davis and Autumn Randolph, No Sesso; Omar Salam, Sukeina, and Jackson Wiederhoeft, Wiederhoeft.