style file, cfda incubator program

Photo: Kliment Halsband Architects

Designer update
Meet The Chicks

Yesterday the CFDA and the New York City Economic Development Corporation announced the winners of the city’s first-ever CFDA Fashion Incubator program: Bibhu Mohapatra, Prabal Gurung, Sophie Théallet, House of Waris’ Waris Ahluwalia, Subversive Jewelry’s Justin Giunta, Lewis’ Alison Lewis, Gemma Redux’s Rachel Dooley, Alice Ritter, Grey Ant’s Grant Krajecki, Jolibe’s Joel Diaz, Public School’s Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne, and Ruby Kobo’s Yuvi Alpert and Danna Kobo. Chosen by a committee of fashion influencers (among them’s own Nicole Phelps), the designers’ big prize is a two-year lease on a Garment District studio space and a network of mentors. Of course, the industry stamp of approval doesn’t hurt, either. We caught up with a few of the lucky dozen (a fitting number for an extended egg metaphor) to see what they’ve got planned.

“There isn’t going to be much upgrading,” Waris Ahluwalia, ever practical, assured us. “Maybe some new pencil sharpeners. And a comfy chair for the president.” For Lewis’ Alison Lewis, who designs, ships, and balances the books out of her West Village apartment, the only person happier to hear the news than her may have been her boyfriend. “I think he’s probably a little thrilled that all that stuff is moving out of there,” she admitted, reminiscing about stacking furniture onto tarps on their bed to make room for clothes. “It’s going to be so nice to have a little bit of separation between home and work.” Justin Giunta agreed: “It is a bummer to have your business in the living room.” Giunta, who eventually upgraded to studio space in Brooklyn, is most excited about growing his business. “For the first time I will be seeking outside funding,” he told us, which could result in the biggest upshot for an overworked craftsman: “More people!” Knowing that a lot of designers applied to the program, relative neophyte Prabal Gurung (his label celebrates its first birthday this month) says he was shocked at the news. Gurung, who counts Alexander Wang, Chris Benz, and Brian Reyes among his Parsons classmates, is looking forward to getting to know his new neighbors. “It’s not like we’re going to have a slumber party,” he joked of the space on W. 38th Street where the designers will move in mid-March. (That’s it in the artists’ rendering above.) “But it will be fun. I am really looking forward to all of us being together. And imagine for all of the editors coming to appointments—it’s like a one-stop shop.” See? We’re all winners.

—Alison Baenen