CFDA Inducts 31 New Members

THE COUNCIL OF FASHION DESIGNERS OF AMERICA (CFDA) INDUCTS 31 NEW MEMBERS

Annual New Members reception to be held at Four Seasons Restaurant

On July 14, the Council of Fashion Designers of America’s Board of Directors ratified the addition of 31 new designers to its membership.

The new members are:

Chris Benz, CHRIS BENZ
Kevin Carrigan, CK CALVIN KLEIN
Susie Cho, INHABIT
Lyn Devon, LYN DEVON
Erin Fetherston, ERIN FETHERSTON
Tim Hamilton, TIM HAMILTON
Christina and Swaim Hutson, HUTSON
Alejandro Ingelmo, ALEJANDRO INGELMO
Christopher and Nicholas Kunz, NICHOLAS K
Marcella and Johan Lindeberg, PARIS 68, J. LINDEBERG, WILLIAM RAST
Deborah Lloyd, KATE SPADE
Jenna Lyons, J.CREW
Deborah Marquit, DEBORAH MARQUIT
Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen, ELIZABETH & JAMES, THE ROW
Stefan Miljanic, GILDED AGE
Irene Neuwirth, IRENE NEUWIRTH
John Patrick, ORGANIC
Maria Pinto, MARIA PINTO
Jill Platner, JILL PLATNER
Lorraine Schwartz, LORRAINE SCHWARTZ
Michael Smaldone, TALBOTS
Simon Spurr, SPURR
Koi Suwannagate, KOI SUWANNAGATE
Albertus Swanepoel, ALBERTUS SWANEPOEL
Daiki Suzuki, ENGIENEERED GARMENTS
Alexander Wang, ALEXANDER WANG
Jason Wu, JASON WU

Executive Director Steven Kolb said of this year’s new members, “We are proud to welcome these 31 new members into the CFDA family and we excited to add such a variety of creative talent to our ranks.”

In celebration of their 50th anniversary, Four Seasons restaurant will host an intimate group of CFDA members, retailers and editors at a reception to welcome the new inductees on October 21.

New Members:

Albertus Swanepoel, ALBERTUS SWANEPOEL Born and raised in Pretoria, South Africa, Albertus Swanepoel moved to New York City after a seven-year career as a critically acclaimed fashion designer under his Quartus Manna label, and a 1987 Coty Award as top designer in South Africa. In New York, Albertus trained as a milliner under Balenciaga’s Janine Galimard and assisted well-known hat designer, Lola, and theatrical milliner, Lynne Machey for several years on a freelance basis. In 2004, Albertus began collaborating with several New York designers for their runway presentations and established his namesake label in 2006. After being selected as a runner up for the CFDA/VOGUE Fashion Fund in 2008, Albertus was nominated for the 2009 Swarovski CFDA Award for Accessory Design.

Alejandro Ingelmo, ALEJANDRO INGELMO
Alejandro Ingelmo is a fourth generation shoe designer whose great-grandfather, Calzados began as a cobbler in Salamanca, Spain and later established Ingelmo shoes. Born and raised in Miami, Alejandro moved to New York to study at Parsons School of Design to achieve his goal of developing and expanding his great grandfather’s business. In addition to his collection of women’s shoes that are feminine and erotic in look, men’s shoes and “sneakers,” Alejandro holds a consulting position with an internationally recognized accessories brand. Ingelmo was named a CFDA/VOGUE Fashion Fund finalist in 2009 and was nominated for the 2009 Swarovski CFDA Award for Accessory Design.

Alexander Wang, ALEXANDER WANG
A native San Franciscan of Chinese-American descent, Alexander Wang moved to New York at 18 to attend Parsons School of Design and to intern at various design companies. By his sophomore year (2005), Alexander was already designing the first collection of his eponymous label, after which he launched his full women’s collection in 2007. Selling internationally to over 200 boutiques and retail stores, Wang added a full accessories collection in 2008. Now at the age of 25, Alexander resides in New York City’s Lower East Side, where there is never a shortage of inspiration in music, life, reality and culture. In 2008, Alexander was selected as the winner of the prestigious CFDA/VOGUE Fashion Fund and in 2009, he was recognized by his peers with a second nomination for the Swarovski Award for Emerging Talent in Womenswear Design, and was announced the winner on June 15th.

Kevin Carrigan, CK CALVIN KLEIN
Kevin Carrigan serves as the Creative Director of the ck CALVIN KLEIN and CALVIN KLEIN labels and is responsible for setting the direction of the global design aesthetic for their men’s and women’s sportswear businesses, as well as the licensed men’s and women’s wholesale and retail lines. Kevin also oversees the design direction of additional licensed product categories, including jeans, coats, dresses, socks and hosiery, handkerchiefs, ties, and umbrellas. He holds a degree from Ravenbourne College of Design and Communication, and a Masters of Art in Fashion Design from the Royal College of Art and Design in London. Kevin joined Calvin Klein in 1998 as a Design Director for ck Women’s and was promoted to Design Direction of ck Men’s and Women’s in 2002.

Chris Benz, CHRIS BENZ
Growing up in Seattle in the early 90’s, Chris Benz spent time in his grandmother’s attic carefully sorting through antique jewelry and fifties-era dolls. Chris arrived in New York City at the age of 17 to study at Parsons School of Design, where he interned with Marc Jacobs, won a CFDA Scholarship Award in 2003 and, after graduation, joined the design team in J.Crew’s Dresses and Special Occasion division. Benz has since built a solid reputation for himself as a designer who can take specific historical points of reference and make them thoroughly apropos for today’s girls-about-town with his slouchy but feminine look full of unexpected color and quirky details.

Deborah Marquit, DEBORAH MARQUIT
After graduating from Parson School of Design, Deborah spent seven as a staff fashion illustrator at WWD but eventually grew restless and changed careers. She wanted to use strong color and sharp shapes – and in 1984 she introduced her handmade, hand-dyed “fluorescent” lace bras. In 2005, she opened a studio on 15th street, which operates as a store, design studio, and manufacturing space.

Daiki Suzuki, ENGIENEERED GARMENTS
While growing up in Japan, Daiki Suzuki coveted American sportswear for its interesting blend of design innovation and the latest in industrial manufacturing which led him to fashion design at the Bantan Design Institute in Japan where he graduated in 1982. After working in the sales department of Japan’s Union Square Inc., he became the Head Buyer of North American Exports for Nepenthes, Co., Ltd. in 1988. In 1999, Daiki’s own collection, ENGIENEERED GARMENTS, which comes from the belief that clothes are not designed but engineered, debuted in 2004. In 2008, he was awarded the GQ/CFDA Menswear Designer of the Year.

Erin Fetherston, ERIN FETHERSTON
Erin Fetherston grew up in Piedmont, California and attended UC Berkeley. After graduating in 2002, she headed to France where she studied fashion and attended Parson’s School of Design in Paris. In January 2005, Erin debuted her eponymous collection during the Haute Couture shows in Paris after which she shifted her focus to ready-to-wear and moved to New York City. In 2007, Erin was selected to design a Go International line for Target and was a recipient of an Ecco Domani Fashion Foundation award for emerging designers. That same year, Erin was also named a finalist for the CFDA/VOGUE Fashion Fund.

Stefan Miljanic, GILDED AGE
After receiving his Bachelor of Arts degree in Fashion Design and Fashion Merchandising from The American College in London, Stefan was the head designer for men’s outerwear at Starter Sportswear. After stints at Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, Swiss Army, Banana Republic, and Abercrombie & Fitch, he established a high-end, casual luxury menswear brand – GILDED AGE – which derives inspiration from old New York. The brand utilizes organic materials, natural dyes and natural and artisanal fabrics reminiscent of an era that predates mass production.

Christina and Swaim Hutson, HUTSON
After several years working as a design assistant, and various production management positions, Swaim Hutson started OBEDIENT SONS in California in late 200. The label started out with a sportswear focus and quickly became popular within the Japanese market. By 2006 he had relocated to New York and secured an investor. This allowed Swaim and his wife Christina, who had over a decade of experience working conceptual direction and consultancy for brands such as Abercrombie & Fitch and Victoria’s Secret, to re-launch OBEDIENT SONS in 2007 with a more tailored platform. Building on the success of their menswear line, Swaim and Christina launched a women’s collection for Fall 2008, aptly named Daughters, and began showing both OBEDIENT SONS AND DAUGHTERS together during New York Fashion Week. Swaim and Christina Hutson have since launched their new brand, HUTSON, for Fall 2009, consisting of both men’s and women’s handmade tailored clothing, and thus far have gained strong reviews.

Susie Cho, INHABIT
Susie Cho graduated from Rhode Island School of Design in 1993 and then quickly went to work as an assistant designer at Armani Exchange. From 1997 to 1999, Cho worked as a consultant/freelancer for designers such as John Bartlett, Jussara Lee, Coleridge, Pamela Dennis, Philip, Pixie Yates, and DKNY. In 1999, Susie took over as the head sportswear designer of Susan Lazar. From 2002-2003, she served as head designer at TSESAY before becoming a knitwear consultant for DKNY Jeans and Michael Kors. In 2003, Susie founded and became the Creative Director of INHABIT, which now includes both men’s and womenswear and is noted for its superior materials and artisanal detail.

Irene Neuwirth, IRENE NEUWIRTH
Founded in 2000, Irene’s namesake company has emerged as a leading American jewelry brand, recognized by its uniquely modern and sophisticated designs. After being inundated with requests to purchase her one-of-a kind pieces, she showed a small collection to a buyer at Barneys New York (2002) who placed an order on the spot. After one year at Barneys, Irene ranked among the store’s top-selling jewelry lines, a position maintained to this day. Her creations have garnered the editorial attention of publications including Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, Town & Country, W, and Elle. In June 2006, Irene was the recipient of the coveted Town & Country Couture Design Editors’ Choice Award at the Couture Jewelry Collection & Conference and in July of 2008 she was selected as a finalist for the CFDA Vogue Fashion Fund.

Jenna Lyons, J.CREW
After graduating from Parsons in 1990, Jenna held a brief internship at Donna Karan before joining J.CREW as an assistant designer where she has remained for 15 years. Having held a variety of positions within the company, Jenna was promoted to SVP of Women’s Design in 2005, and has served as Creative Director of J.CREW since 2007. When Mickey Drexler became the CEO of J.CREW in 2002, he relied on Jenna to oversee the design makeover of the J.CREW brand.

Jason Wu, JASON WU
Sewing since the age of nine, 26 year old Jason Wu has already achieved much success as a designer. After studying sculpture in Tokyo, he spent his senior year of high school in Paris, decided to become a fashion designer, and enrolled at Parsons School of Design in New York. In February 2006, Jason debuted his collection, where he was instantly recognized as an emerging talent in American fashion design. He continues to receive accolades – including Fashion Group International’s Rising Star Award for Women’s Ready-to-Wear in January 2008. He was also named one of the finalists in the CFDA/VOGUE Fashion Fund in that same year. Jason’s business exploded overnight when First Lady Michelle Obama wore one of his original designs to the Inaugural Ball. Later this year, he was nominated for the Swarovski Award for Emerging Talent in Womenswear.

Jill Platner, JILL PLATNER
Jill Platner was raised in rural Massachusetts and spent most of her formative years soaking up the wonders of nature, after which she came to New York City to attend Parsons School of Design, finding another source of inspiration in the urban chaos and the rich diversity of faces. She chanced upon her true calling when she took a metalworking class and can often be found in the downstairs workroom of her Crosby Street store, where she oversees a small hive of industry and creativity that represents the progress she has made since she sold her thesis collection to Barneys in 1992. What has not changed is the passion that informs every element, the joy of creation and the desire to continually evolve her body of work.

Deborah Lloyd, KATE SPADE
A graduate of Ravensbourne College of Art and Design (1986) and a masters graduate of the Royal College of Art (1988), Deborah worked at a variety of design houses in Italy, Paris and London after finishing school. After a stint as Burberry London’s VP of Women’s Design, she left Burberry to become the SVP of Design and Product Development at Banana Republic in New York, where she was promoted to EVP in 2003. In late 2007, Deborah joined the Kate Spade team as the Co-President and Creative Director where she has designed and launched the Kate Spade New York Jewelry, RTW, and Legwear collections.

Koi Suwannagate, KOI SUWANNAGATE
Born in Bangkok and now living in Los Angeles, the artistically-inclined Koi Suwannagate captures nature’s fleeting beauty in her trademark and hand-sculpted creations of multilayered luxurious fabrics. KOI launched in 2001and made its New York Fashion Week debut in 2007, where Suwannagate received much praise from the fashion press and retailers and was selected as a finalist for the CFDA/VOGUE Fashion Fund. Most recently, Women’s Wear Daily named the KOI SUWANNAGATE Spring/Summer 2009 collection as one of the Top Ten collections of the season.

Lorraine Schwartz, LORRAINE SCHWARTZ
As the granddaughter of one of the world’s leading diamond manufacturers, Lorraine Schwartz learned early on about the intricate aspects of gemstones and fine jewelry. Originally a diamond dealer, she quickly became known for her keen eye for quality and clarity and was approached by a client who had bought loose stones from her to create a one-of-a-kind piece – Lorraine Schwartz Jewelry was born. In addition to a full line of jewelry, she has had success with her signature “against evil eye diamond bracelets,” which have become hugely popular and are worn daily by many of her celebrity clients. In the spring of 2007, Lorraine launched her Monkey Collection, which consists of gold and diamond encrusted necklaces, bracelets, rings and cufflinks, based on the three monkeys representing Hear No Evil, See No Evil, and Speak No Evil.

Lyn Devon, LYN DEVON
Born and raised in Manhattan, Lyn Devon completed a course of study at Parsons School of Design after graduating from Brown University in 2002. After working as an intern for Zac Posen, she joined Ralph Lauren, where she designed women’s Ready-to-Wear and began designing and producing her own line of custom clothing out of her living room for a small, private clientele. Working one-one-one with clients enabled Devon to further cultivate her design philosophy and creative process. In 2005, Lyn launched her eponymous label and showed her first collection in New York that September. She has since been named a Fashion Group International “Rising Star” in Womenswear Design, one of Style.com’s “Season’s Most Promising Talents” and has been awarded the prestigious Ecco Domani Fashion Foundation Award for Womenswear.

Maria Pinto, MARIA PINTO
An alumna of Chicago’s School of the Art Institute, Maria Pinto majored in fine art with a focus in fashion, and later attended both New York’s Parson’s School of Design and the Fashion Institute of Technology. After finishing school, Maria worked for legendary designer Geoffrey Beene where she learned the importance of attention to detail, the techniques of draping, and the art of editing. Maria’s luxurious women’s accessories collection debuted at Bergdorf Goodman in 1991; it was this initial success that gave her the confidence to expand into eveningwear. In August 2008, Pinto opened the doors to her first boutique in Chicago’s West Loop where her collections are known for well-edited luxury and have drawn high profile clients like First Lady Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey as well as the opportunity to design seductive costumes for the Joffrey Ballet’s Recorde Per Due (2002) and Age of Innocence (2008).

Christopher and Nicholas Kunz, NICHOLAS K
After holding several positions in both the men’s and women’s departments of DKNY, Coach, John Varvatos, and Nautica, and consulting for Liz Claiborne, Polo Ralph Lauren, and Calvin Klein, Nicholas Kunz co-founded the Nicholas K line with her brother Christopher Kunz in 2003. The line features both men’s and women’s knitwear. Although he has had no formal training in fashion, Christopher focuses on the menswear line, even serving as muse and inspiration. Nicholas, on the other hand, studied at Fashion Institute of Technology before graduating from the Polimoda School of Design in Florence, Italy in 1995.

John Patrick, ORGANIC
ORGANIC, John Patrick’s ethically produced and sustainable line defies the “crunch conception” of how a “green” collection is expected to look. Based in Albany, New York, John Patrick launched ORGANIC in 2004, creating the supply chain that he required, essentially from scratch. He established organic fields in the jungles of Peru, and educated factories all over the world in the process required to mill the crop into fibers suitable for his city-sleek apparel. In the Fall/Winter 2008 collection, Patrick introduced embroidered coats and jackets made of organic Vermont wool, and was named a finalist for the CFDA/VOGUE Fashion Fund.

Marcella and Johan Lindeberg, PARIS 68, J. LINDEBERG, WILLIAM RAST
Johan Lindeberg launched his brand J.LINDEBERG during the summer of 1996, in Stockholm and New York simultaneously with a “21st Century Lifestyle” design concept that reflected his interest in transforming elements from high fashion and “active” sports apparel into sportswear. In 2002 Johan and his wife Marcella, relocated to London and, under Marcella’s supervision, revealed the first women’s collection. J.Lindeberg also presented a full denim concept and has a new relationship with the brand William Rast; both Marcella and Johan will be designing for the label.

Simon Spurr, SPURR
Simon Spurr graduated with honors from Middlesex University in London in 1996 with a B.A. in Men’s fashion design. From 1998-2001, Simon trained under the watchful eye of Hedi Slimane while designing the diffusion line of Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche. In 2001 Simon was the Senior Designer of menswear at cK and from 2003 to 2006, he served as Men’s Design Director for Ralph Lauren Purple Label and Ralph Lauren Black Label. He has also consulted for several global brands, including Burberry Black (Japan) and ICB Menswear (Japan). In 2007, Simon received WWD-DNR Magazine’s “Editors Choice Award” for “Best New Label,” which was followed by a February 2008 award as one of the GQ/CFDA “Best New Menswear Designers in America.” The SPURR brand evokes a powerful association with style confidence, and luxury. The unique design aesthetic is reflected in each of its products, which are instantly recognizable for their detailed, clean, and modern look.

Michael Smaldone, TALBOTS
Michael Smaldone joined Talbots, Inc. as Chief Creative Officer for the brand in December 2007. In this newly created role, Michael is responsible for developing a cohesive look and design process for all concepts under the Talbots brand. Additionally, he ensures this look is consistently and seamlessly expressed in merchandise, displays, catalogs and other customer-facing collateral. Prior to joining the Talbots, Michael served as SVP of Design for Ann Taylor from September 2003 until December 2007. He also held senior leadership roles in design at Anne Klein and Elie Tahari.

Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen, ELIZABETH & JAMES, THE ROW
Moving away from their careers as actresses, both Mary Kate and Ashley have recently moved forward in the fashion industry. As young girls, they had a clothing and beauty line in Wal-Mart stores across America for girls ages 4-14 and have since launched THE ROW, a high-end fashion line inspired by London’s Savile Row and a direct reflection of their personal style. Ashley and Mary-Kate continued their expansion in the fashion industry with the Fall 2007 launch of ELIZABETH & JAMES, their contemporary collection, which is inspired by many of their unique vintage finds and pieces in their personal wardrobes. They plan to expand both labels to include menswear by Fall 2009.

Tim Hamilton, TIM HAMILTON
Tim Hamilton founded his men’s label in 2007 and debuted a womenswear collection for Fall 2009 during Paris Fashion Week. He has risen to become a leading voice of American men’s wear new guard. Hamilton credits his unusual biography — he was born in Iowa to a Lebanese mother and an American-English father — and extensive design background with guiding his unique design philosophy. Hamilton is not only concerned about clothes, but the energy and convictions he wants them to relay. Based in New York, Tim sells to stores throughout the US, Europe and Asia and has been nominated three times (2007, 2008 and 2009) for the CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers of America) Swarovski Award for Menswear. He took home the award in 2009.

Prospective CFDA members must contact the CFDA to request admissions materials. Eligible candidates may be American citizens designing in the United States or abroad or foreign nationals with businesses based in the United States. The application for membership includes a resume, a portfolio, and other materials that represent the candidate’s work to date, and two letters of recommendation from active CFDA members in the same area of design. The Admissions Committee who then recommends selected candidates for membership to the Board of Directors, which must ratify each candidate, reviews all submissions.

The Council of Fashion Designers of America, Inc. is a not-for-profit trade association whose membership consists of more than 360 of American’s foremost fashion and accessory designers. The CFDA Foundation, Inc. is a separate, not-for-profit company organized to raise funds for charity and industry activities.

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