I was hit hard by a brutal cold this week, and the best thing to come out of it—aside from a newly found guilty TV pleasure in Nashville—I was able to catch up on The Fashion Fund*, a Hulu.com exclusive reality show that follows 10 finalists in the CFDA/Vogue contest of the same name, where struggling fashion talents vie for a grand prize of $300,000 (and two runner-up prizes of $100,000) to help their business development. It’s a life-changing award that has meaningfully launched the careers of Joseph Altuzarra, Billy Reid, Alexander Wang, Doo.Ri, Proenza Schouler, Rogan, Sophie Theallet, Trovata, and runners-up Pamela Love, Creatures of the Wind, Eddie Borgo, Prabal Gurung, 3.1 Phillip Lim, Albertus Swanepoel, Derek Lam, Monique Péan, Patrik Ervell, Philip Crangi, Rodarte, Thakoon, Thom Browne, and Vena Cava.
Whew. What a list.
To bring this whole topic home, Nordstrom announced earlier this year that this February 11, they are partnering with CFDA/Vogue for the first-ever Fashion Fund brick and mortar shop, in six Nordstrom locations, including Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles (The Grove), Chicago and Dallas (Northpark), as well as at the Nordstrom-owned Treasure & Bond in New York City.
The 2012 finalists include Andrea Lieberman, A.L.C.; Greg Armas, Assembly New York; Sofia Sizzi, Giulietta; Justin Salguero, Daniel Silberman, Alina Silberman, Illesteva; Jennifer Fisher, Jennifer Fisher Jewelry; Jennifer Meyer Maguire, Jennifer Meyer; Max Osterweis and Erin Beatty, Suno; Tabitha Simmons, Tabitha Simmons; Greg Chait, The Elder Statesman; and Wes Gordon—names you might already be familiar with if you shop at certain boutiques in Seattle/Portland (still mourning the decision to not buy a Suno dress at a big Frances May sale in Portland last year), but many that are no doubt new-to-you and to me.
And while we already know who the winners are (Greg Chait, The Elder Statesman and runners up Tabitha Simmons and Jennifer Meyer) I think that the exposure that a stint in Nordstrom will get these designers is an amazing prize itself.
*If you’ve already watched the show, get more Fashion Fund fix by watching Seamless, a 2005 documentary about the award.