Fashion Trust U.S. 2024 Finalists Announced

Fashion Trust U.S., the nonprofit organization supporting emerging design talent–announced its 2024 finalists in Los Angeles on Wednesday night.

The awards event will be held April 9 at a private residence in L.A. with nearly a half million dollars in funding given out to winners.

Finalists in the ready-to-wear category are Batsheva Hay of Batsheva, the subversively feminine label founded in New York in 2017 that has been worn by Natalie Portman, Courtney Love, Lena Dunham and many more; Charles Harbison of Harbison Studio, who relaunched his glam womenswear brand in 2022 in L.A. and has dressed Sheryl Lee Ralph, Chloe Bailey and Jodie Turner-Smith; Jack Miner of Interior, the conceptual-meets-practical New York City brand launched in 2020, and Jackson Wiederhoeft of Wiederhoeft, the theater and dance-inspired, handcraft obsessed demi-couture evening and bridal line that’s been worn by Lady Gaga, Lil Kim and more.

Finalists for the jewelry category are Ashley Harris of Don’t Let Disco, the collection of one-of-a-kind, art history-inspired handcrafted beaded jewelry founded in 2021 by the former Sotheby’s director; Jade Ruzzo who specializes in classic shapes with unexpected edges; MoAnA Luu of ManLuu which pays homage to the French West Indies using woven rattan and oversized beads, as well as gold and precious stones; and Mia Vesper of Vesper Obscura, whose work melds art and commerce, referencing folklore and handcraft.

Finalists in the accessories category are Wilglory Tanjong of Anima Iris, whose leather handbags are made in Dakar; Rowell Concepcion of Binata Millinery whose whimsical hats have been worn by Janelle Monae, Lucy Hale and more; Esha Soni, who launched her own brand of made-in-India heirloom bags after working for Michael Kors, Proenza Schouler, Ralph Lauren and others for nearly two decades; and French shoe designer Marie Lafont who trained under Pierre Hardy and Christian Louboutin.

Graduate category finalists are South Korea born menswear designer Clara Son; sculptural clothing designer Kelsey Ann Kasom; Madelen Nyau of sustainability-focused T1Tan Studio; and Yamil Arbaje, whose designs address youth culture and representations of Latin American masculinity.

The 16 finalists will also be considered for the Sustainability Award and the Inclusivity Award.

Using seed donations from the L.A.-based British heiress Jordana Reuben Yechiel, jewelry designer Jacquie Aiche and 24 other founding patrons in the real estate, finance and art worlds, Fares set up the Fashion Trust U.S. in 2022, with the goal of awarding prizes in amounts determined by a designer’s need.

“It’s exciting to see so how many people are getting to know Fashion Trust U.S.,” Fares told WWD, adding that the organization had 600 applications for the 2024 awards, compared to 300 for last year’s. Finalists were selected by FTUS board members Fares, Laura Brown, Anne Crawford, Maha Dakhil, Tan France and Karla Welch, as well as the awards’ presenting sponsor Shop with Google and some of the advisory board members.

Last year’s starry Fashion Trust U.S. event in L.A. brought out Ciara, Tracee Ellis Ross, Demi Moore with daughter Scout LaRue Willis, Heidi Klum, Paula Abdul, Olivia Wilde, Kathryn Newton and many more. Winners took home a Fairmined gold trophy designed by sculptor and jeweler Ana Khouri.

Fashion Trust U.S. winners receive financial grants between $100,000 and $200,000, depending on the size of their business and yearly turnover, as well as mentoring. Both U.S. citizens and noncitizens are eligible, but businesses must be based and registered in the U.S., employ American creators and workers and exist for a minimum of two years and a maximum of seven years.

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