Meet The CFDA Incubator Class Of 2014
August 18, 2011 9:59 amToday, the CFDA Incubator welcomes its newest group of initiates: Antonio Azzuolo, Arielle Shapiro of Ari Dein, Doug and Ben Burkman of Burkman Bros, Christian Cota, Emanuela Duca, Rick Hendry and Marc Daniels of Isaora, Luis Fernandez of Number: Lab, Reece Solomon of Reece Hudson, Timo Weiland and Alan Eckstein of Timo Weiland, and Maayan Zilberman and Nikki Dekker of The Lake & Stars. The selection committee of industry leaders, including Style.com’s executive editor, Nicole Phelps, carefully picked this group of ten young designers to follow in the footsteps of the inaugural dozen designers who kicked off the program in February 2010. We have watched the careers of current all-stars in the Incubator, like Prabal Gurung and Bibhu Mohapatra, flourish during their short time in the “fashion frat,” and here, we check in with the newest pledge “class II” before they move into 209 West 38th Street.
a. a. Antonio Azzuolo
This marks designer Antonio Azzuolo’s second time in an Incubator program. After graduating from Ryerson University, the Montreal native took part in the Canadian version. “There are programs like the Incubator all over the world and I always wondered why the States didn’t have one,” he says. Following the program, he lived in Paris for ten years, where he honed his skills at labels like Kenzo and Hermès. Now, with his own menswear label, the designer is heavily focused on the concept of duality. “Being a twin [sibling], I have always had aspects of feminity and masculinity in my work,” the designer says. For Spring ‘12, however, expect to see opposing French and Japanese cultural influences at play.
“I’ve been decorating my space in the Incubator for about six months now,” lingerie designer Arielle Shapiro tells us. “In my mind, that is.” Now that it’s a reality, however, she has an antique mirror, an old yellow Chippendale chair, and a vintage suitcase on hand to fill what will become her home-away-from-home. For Shapiro, her surroundings have always played a crucial role in her design process. Most recently, her innerwear and swimwear Invisible Cities collection was inspired by a trip to Rome. Eventually, Shapiro’s hoping to parlay that interest in architecture and interior design by developing her budding brand into a full lifestyle collection to include “more swim and ready-to-wear, bedding, and home.”
You might recognize the Burkman Bros name thanks to Kanye West, who wore Doug and Ben Burkman’s woven bracelets at Coachella this year. From rappers to rugged men, their casual menswear line has since found a steady stream of followers. For Spring 2012, the globetrotting brothers were feeling Hawaiian after a trip to the islands. “We learned how to surf and found a lot of inspiration in the Hawaiian culture, particularly in relation to how we like to use prints and color,” says Doug. As for the Incubator, Ben says, “Working in a proper office space should be interesting…To have that divide between work and our home should be nice.”
“The whole environment will be like going back to school,” says designer Christian Cota, who realized the wealth of benefits that comes from being a part of the Incubator program after talking to some of his friends in the current crop. “Obviously, with Diane von Furstenberg as the CFDA president, you have a tremendous support system helping you out,” Cota, who has received several honorable accolades in the past few years, like Fashion Group International’s Rising Star Award and a CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund nomination, says. “I’m at the point with my business where we are really expanding, and having their help to do it is key.” For Spring ‘12, look out for a strong showing of polished signature Cota looks, like mixing structure with softer fabrics, and a plethora of prints.
“My work represents my life experience,” says jewelry designer Emanuela Duca. “The rough surfaces, it’s what comes from the Roman culture, and the slick part, that’s my life in Manhattan.” Born and raised in Rome, the New York transplant has managed to find a beautiful balancing point between the two cultures in her work. Her structural collection of textural jewelry has a niche retail market, selling in galleries around the world, but Duca, like Isaora designer Ricky Hendry, wants to expand her business to reach a wider clientele with the help of the Incubator program. Read the rest of this entry >