POPSUGAR Fashion

Meet the Designers Who Want to Take Over Your Computer This NYFW

Feb 11 2014 - 9:35am

Do you remember your favorite graduation gift? A new phone, a cardholder, jewelry, or maybe even a laptop? Well, for this year's crop of graduates from the CFDA Fashion Incubator program [1], it's a digital fashion show put on by PR powerhouse KCD. The 10 designers, who range from Project Runway alum Daniel Vosovic to cool-girl favorite Jonathan Simkhai, debuted their newest collections on DigitalFashionShows.com [2] today, as part of NYFW. We nabbed a glimpse of their filming and got them to answer some burning questions for us. Meet the 10 designers you need to know now, and find out why they're the next big things.

Photo courtesy of Boatman Media

Ari Dein

Arielle Shapiro is the driving creative force behind Ari Dein, a luxe lingerie line inspired by her time studying in Florence and New York. With her Gossip Girl-featured designs and a collaboration with Carolina Herrera [3], the New Yorker is pushing the boundaries of where lingerie can be worn.

POPSUGAR: What does being in the Incubator mean to you?

Arielle Shapiro: Being a designer in the Incubator has truly supported not only the growth of my business, but my development as a designer. As the only intimate-apparel brand in the history of the program, it's been a tremendous opportunity to recognize lingerie as a fashion staple in its own right instead of as an afterthought.

PS: Are you excited to show on a digital platform?

AS: Yes! People say things live forever on the Internet. That can be a catch-22, but as the collection is concerned, it sounds pretty wonderful to me.

Photo courtesy of Ari Dein

Jonathan Simkhai

A born and bred New Yorker, Simkhai got his first job in fashion at the tender age of 14! The Parsons- and Fashion Institute of Technology-educated designer blurs the line between masculine and feminine while always keeping the focus on the quality of fabrics.

POPSUGAR: What does being in the Incubator mean to you?

Jonathan Simkhai: Being in the Incubator has been such a rewarding experience. I honestly feel like I have a team of cheerleaders cheering me on and giving me endless amounts of support. I like to think that I am the football team and it is up to me to score the touchdowns, but I would be nowhere without my support on the sidelines.

PS: What inspired your Fall collection?

JS: This season's collection was inspired by a crocodile leather cigar box found in the future by a confident, sexy femme fatale. I wanted to create the mood of a men's study — luxurious leathers, pinstripe, deeply rich colors, and masculine elements — but in a very feminine way. I wanted to give my girl a sex appeal with an air of danger while keeping true to the sporty elements of the Jonathan Simkhai brand.

PS: Are you excited to show on a digital platform?

JS: I'm extremely excited to show on a digital platform! Having the opportunity to reach a larger audience, who normally would not have access to my collection, is really thrilling to me as a designer. Being able to share my creations and present my work in a way that has such a large reach is going to be really gratifying.

Photo courtesy of CFDA Fashion Incubator

Burkman Brothers

Much like the Fabulous Baker Boys, the Burkman Brothers are actually brothers — Doug and Ben Burkman. Their rugged yet sophisticated take has landed them in stores like Barneys New York [4] and Falling Arrows in Japan, along with being in the closets of serious fashion guys everywhere.

POPSUGAR: What does being in the Incubator mean to you?

Burkman Brothers: The CFDA provides the tools to grow and support your business. Any request you have, they make happen, and many more wonderful surprises along the way.

PS: What inspired your Fall collection?

BB: A trip to the Aman Resort in Utah. Hiking, outdoor activities, and beautiful scenery.

Photo courtesy of CFDA Fashion Incubator

Reece Hudson

Reece Hudson is designed by New Yorker Reece Solomon, who channeled her dual passions for luxury accessories and street style into a handbag line that is regularly snapped on the red carpet and outside the shows.

POPSUGAR: What does being in the Incubator mean to you?

Reece Hudson: Being affiliated with the CFDA is such a huge stamp of approval from the American fashion industry, and it's been incredible having that support system behind us. But what I consider most special about being in the Incubator program is the mentorships we've been given. They've been so incredibly instrumental in our growth, and we would never have had access to such respected and accomplished members of the industry without this program. Their advice and nurturing has been truly invaluable.

PS: What inspired your Fall collection?

RH: We've been working with London a lot recently, and that led to me thinking about the style sensibility of the English countryside or, more specifically, how an affluent and eccentric woman might translate her city style in a cold countryside Winter environment. I imagined a lot of richly textured fabrics — feathers and furs — with a whimsical touch embedded in details such as colorful embroideries. I also love the strong equestrian affiliation that comes to mind, with lots of beautiful saddle leather in a variety of shades of browns, adding a rugged edge to the collection. I also added inspirational elements of a Winter safari, mixing in naturally occurring animal colors, textures, and patterns. Maybe the relics of a well-traveled woman who had turned into quite an eccentric in her older age, a bit of a Miss Havisham-type character.

PS: Where do you see your business in five years?

RS: We're really focused on growing our brand awareness and distribution internationally, so having a greater and more recognizable brand presence, especially on a global scale, is our primary goal.

Within the next five years, we'd also like to add additional accessories categories to our collection and have them grow into a significant part of the business. Naturally, to support all this growth, we also need to bring on more employees.

Photo courtesy of Reece Hudson

Number Lab

It all began with the idea of making the perfect t-shirt and expanded outward into an athletic-inspired collection meant to take guys here, there, and everywhere. Cofounder Greg Lawrance aims to give guys the tools to look good but feel comfortable every day.

POPSUGAR: What does being in the Incubator mean to you?

Greg Lawrance: To be selected was an honor. It's a once-in-a-lifetime, exceptional opportunity and experience. And because of this program, we experienced tremendous growth as a business and brand: from improved brand focus and increased awareness to revenue growth. It was also instrumental in helping streamline our operational approach to the business through our mentors. It's the quintessential springboard for any emerging designer/fashion brand.

PS: What inspired your Fall collection?

GL: "Motion" is the key word for our Fall active-fashion collection. By integrating our signature tonal geometric style lines and panels with a broader array of high-end performance fabrics in Winter-cool, masculine colors (e.g., CoolTech with wicking properties, sturdy stretch fleece, Pima cotton/spandex interlock, and breathable padded waxed nylons), Fall '14 aims to strike the perfect balance between active living and luxury.

PS: Are you excited to show on a digital platform?

GL: Couldn't be more thrilled! It's exactly the type of high-end, high-impact social media content initiatives we are aiming to publish this year and beyond. And as this is being produced by the KCD team, we couldn't ask for more!

Photo courtesy of CFDA Fashion Incubator

Isaora

In 2009, Ricky Hendry and Marc Daniels founded Isaora [5] with the goal of fusing technology with fashion function for a menswear line that works indoors as well as outdoors.

POPSUGAR: What does being in the Incubator mean to you?

Isaora: Coming to work every day in a creative environment and being inspired to constantly challenge ourselves to build the best brand we can.

PS: Are you excited to show on a digital platform?

I: E-commerce is our primary focus, and digital media is a fundamental driver for that, so any platform that enables us to reach a new audience is exciting.

Photo courtesy of CFDA Fashion Incubator

Timo Weiland

Timo [6] Weiland may only bear the name of one of the two designers (that's Alan Eckstein above left), but the duo cranks out consistently cool womenswear together.

POPSUGAR: What does being in the Incubator mean to you?

Timo Weiland:The CFDA Fashion Incubator has brought about validation and a stamp of approval in the industry through mentorship and CFDA programming. We have learned so much!

PS: Are you excited to show on a digital platform?

TW: Yes! Very excited to be featured on this ultraprestigious platform alongside some of our heroes in the business. It is a pinch-ourselves moment for us!

Photo courtesy of CFDA Fashion Incubator

Daniel Vosovic

If you developed a crush on Daniel Vosovic and his sharp, urban clothing on Project Runway, you were not alone. He's moved beyond reality TV to create a fan base for his own line since 2010.

POPSUGAR: What inspired your Fall collection?

Daniel Vosovic: An active life is always at the core of every collection. Frida [7] Kahlo, the original chic tomboy, added a sense of strength and a colorful burst of floral inspiration to our main prints. We gave them a rigidity by pixelating them and layering in a grid referenced from tile work of Turkish mosques, which I was lucky enough to visit this past Summer.

PS: Where do you see your business in five years?

DV: A leader in the online platform and being a part — if not leading — the dialogue in how women are shopping not just today but tomorrow.

PS: Are you excited to show on a digital platform?

DV: Absolutely. For fashion claiming to be such a forward-thinking industry, there are parts of it that are sorely lagging behind.

Photo courtesy of Timothy Mulcare

Whit

After serving as lead womenswear designer at Steven Alan [8], Whitney Pozgay moved on to create her own line. And while it has the downtown tailoring you might expect, there's a dash of girlie whimsy — maybe the influence of her aunt Kate Spade [9]?

POPSUGAR: What does being in the Incubator mean to you?

Whitney Pozgay: Being in the Incubator has been such an important part of our growth as a brand. Prior to this, I was working out of an apartment. This program has formalized us as a company and helped us to navigate through some exciting periods of expansion. The mentorship alone has fostered more well-informed decisions, and the support of the CFDA has given us even more confidence in our identity as a young brand. When you are starting off, it is easy to get pulled in many directions, and this program has given us the courage to stay focused and grow in a strategic manner.

PS: Where do you see your business in five years?

WP: In five years, we plan on having a successful e-commerce business, brand extensions into other categories, and at least one brick-and-mortar store. I hope that by that time, we have organized the company in a way that allows us more freedom to further collaborate in new ways with other creative companies.

PS: Are you excited to show on a digital platform?

WP: Being a small brand, the digital space has become our most important forum to spread our brand message. This type of platform is really exciting, as we are able to offer a 360 view of our brand, seasonal concept, and final product.

Photo courtesy of Whit

Emanuela Duca

The Rome-born, New York-based designer evokes her native city with highly textured, sculptural jewelry pieces. And while selling in stores is certainly part of her business, she has been featured in museum shows including the Smithsonian, the Philadelphia Museum of Arts Craft Shows, and the Museum of Art and Design.

POPSUGAR: What inspired your Fall collection?

Emanuela Duca: My latest fine-jewelry collection is called Linda and was inspired by a collaboration with Linda Evangelista. The collection offers statement pieces in blackened sterling silver and diamonds with a strong sculptural look.

PS: Are you excited to show on a digital platform?

ED: Absolutely! It is an amazing opportunity!

Photo courtesy of CFDA Fashion Incubator


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