Melitta Baumeister Crowned Champion of the 2023 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund

October 20, 2023

In an industry celebration at Vogue’s Forces of Fashion event, Melitta Baumeister clinched the coveted CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund award, standing out among an exceptionally talented group of finalists.

Baumeister in her studio.

Baumeister in her studio.Credit Ungano & Agriodimas per the New York Times

Triumph at Forces of Fashion

New York buzzed with anticipation as the fashion community gathered at One World Trade Center. It was here, amidst the fervor of Vogue’s Forces of Fashion, that Melitta Baumeister was named the winner of the 2023 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund. Following her triumph, Rachel Scott of Diotima and Henry Zankov of ZANKOV were honorably distinguished as runners-up.

Linda Evangelista, the supermodel synonymous with fashion's game-changing era, had the honor of announcing the winners following a poignant discussion between industry stalwarts Tommy Hilfiger and Aurora James. The conversation, which highlighted the journey of emerging designers, set a tone of inspiration before the grand reveal.

A Prize for Innovation and Promise

The accolade recognizes not only creative vision but the courage to push boundaries. Baumeister, known for her avant-garde approach, takes home $300,000. Scott and Zankov, both celebrated for their unique aesthetic, will each receive $100,000. Beyond the financial boost, all winners enter a critical phase of mentorship and exposure, necessary for navigating the fashion industry's complex dynamics.

Anna Wintour and Thom Browne, key figures in the selection process, emphasized the role of the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund in nurturing stories that shape the fabric of fashion. These narratives, often beginning as small, intimate projects, blossom into trends and movements that define generations.

In our previous coverage, we delved into the origins and impact of the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund, illustrating its inception as a beacon of hope post-9/11 and its evolution into an industry cornerstone. Explore the journey here.

Elevating Fashion’s Future

This year's competition, fierce as ever, showcased a diverse roster of designers. The ten finalists, each bringing a unique flair to contemporary fashion, demonstrated why American design remains at the forefront of global trends.

The support from industry giants such as Afterpay, Instagram, Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Vogue underscores the communal effort to foster talent. This backing goes beyond financial and speaks volumes about the industry's commitment to its future.

Reflecting on Two Decades of Discovery

As the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund approaches its 20th anniversary, reflection on its legacy is inevitable. It has consistently served as a launchpad for illustrious careers, forever changing the business landscape. This tradition of discovering and supporting nascent talent reaffirms the industry's commitment to its roots: creativity, innovation, and craftsmanship.

The 2023 edition, steered by a committee of fashion's elite, upholds this tradition, ensuring that the torch of creativity burns bright for future generations. With the stage set for its 20th-anniversary celebration, the fund is poised to continue its mission of elevating exceptional talent from the drawing board to the global stage.

In the wake of the glamour and excitement, one message resounds: the fashion industry is dedicated to nurturing its future, one designer at a time. Baumeister, along with her fellow honorees, embarks on this journey with the weight of history — and the support of the industry's finest — behind her.