In 2017, the Accessories Council and the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) partnered to create Elaine Gold Launch Pad, a four-year partnership underwritten by a $1.5 million donation to the CFDA Foundation. The program helps emerging designers (in business from 0-3 years) launch careers in apparel, accessories, jewelry or materiality.
On Tuesday, February 27, the program concluded with a final presentation at NeueHouse in New York. The inaugural cohort was asked to develop a 360 design x business view into the future. With so much change taking place in the fashion system, each were also asked to blueprint viable strategies that include new thinking about how they make, sell, value, and tell the story of their vision as well as how their ventures contribute to the ecosystem of fashion and finally, the Launch Pad’s program pillars – innovation, technology and sustainability.
Based on the presentations, $90,000 were awarded. Combined with an earlier milestone, this brought the total award of the inaugural edition to $175,000, based on the criteria of vision, potential and viability.
Of the award winners, Lucy Jones of Ffora took home $40,000; Ali Rose, Jack Burns and Mark Richardson of Genusee were awarded $20,000; Emily Adams Bode of Bode New York and Maria Kazakova of Jahnkoy received $10,000 each, while Alexis Isabel and Jameel Mohammed of Khiry won $5,000 each.
Elaine Gold Launch Pad Participants:
- Alexis Isabel, Alexis Isabel (Footwear)
- Emily Adams Bode, BODE New York (Menswear)
- Lucy Jones, FFORA (Accessories, Innovation)
- Ali Rose, Genusee (Optical)
- Jack Burns, Genusee (Optical)
- Mark Richardson, Genusee (Optical)
- Maria Kazakova, JAHNKOY (Womenswear, Menswear)
- Jameel Mohammed, KHIRY (Jewelry)
Final Selection Committee included Karen Giberson, Accessories Council; Steven Kolb, CFDA; Sara Kozlowski, CFDA; Leila Larijani, UBS; Bruce Pask, Bergdorf Goodman; Kate Daly, Closed Loop Partners; Matt Scanlan, Soft Matter; Melanie Steiner, PVH Corp.; Richard Lambertson, Shinola.
The Advisory Board included Brad Schmidt, Cadet; Carly-Ann Fergus, XRC Labs; Colette Malouf; Fabio Silva, FRSILVA LAW; Greg Armas, Assembly New York; Jake Sargent, Soft Matter Ventures; John Jones, Fjord; Karen Giberson, Accessories Council; Keanan Duffty, Polimoda; Leila Larijani,UBS; Lisa Smilor, CFDA; Marshall Cheek, Tory Burch; Rebecca Minkoff; Sara Kozlowski, CFDA; Sarah Blair, Barneys New York; Sebastien Park, IDEO; and Steven Kolb, CFDA
The six selected brands took part in a six-month virtual residency. The program encouraged focus to holistic design and business innovation, sustainability, and technology– integrated into product, service and systems into their business models. Practical business and professional development included a range of areas including brand strategy, finance, value chain, production, retail/commerce and strategic planning.