"Project Runway" and "The Fashion Show" have introduced the world to new and emerging talent in the fashion world. Thanks to both shows, more students armed with a sewing machine and a sketchpad, have entered fashion and design institutes.
While it's notoriously difficult to be selected to participate on either program, there are other competitions that allow emerging talent to get the funding and exposure they need. The Dorchester Collection, a group of luxury hotels in Europe and the United States, recently launched its second annual Fashion Prize in New York City.
Any emerging North American ready-to-wear or accessories designer with at least two-years experience overseeing their business, could have entered the competition, which closed May 31. The winner, who will be announced this fall, receives $40,000 to help establish his or her brand and will also showcase their collection at the Hôtel Plaza Athénée during Paris Fashion Week 2012.
A large group of celebrity judges narrow down the entries round by round until they pick a winner. Judges for the 2011 Fashion Prize include menswear designer Thom Browne, fashion editor Giovanna Battaglia, author Derek Blasberg, creative director of Calvin Klein Francisco Costa, fashion consultant Shala Monroque, Moda Operandi's Laura Santo Domingo, Vanity Fair writer Elizabeth Saltzman and Marchesa designers Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig.
"The judges are visionaries whose work is inspirational to the designers applying for the prize. Equally, the judges are inspired by the prospect of finding a designer who will benefit from the fantastic opportunities the prize offers," Cosgrave says.
Last year's winner, Londoner Thomas Tait, was honored at an event in early May. His avant-garde Fall/Winter collection was on display. Tait was also given the enviable task of helping design the staff attire at 45 Park Lane, the latest hotel to join the Dorchester Collection. 45 Park Lane opens in London this summer.
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