Shop With Google and the CFDA made a group of young, emerging designers very happy last week.
As sponsor of the Shop With Google American Emerging Designer of the Year Award, Shop With Google will award each of the five nominees a $10,000 grant, and the winner will receive $25,000. Nominees will also receive a full suite of Pixel products, including a Pixel phone, tablet, watch and buds, in addition to access to the Shop With Google mentorship program built together with CFDA, which includes training on retail industry trends, branding and funding.
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Shop With Google’s three-year sponsorship begins with the 2023 CFDA Fashion Awards presented by Amazon Fashion on Nov. 6 at the American Museum of Natural History.
“It’s the first time we’ve done this,” said Stephanie Horton, senior director of global commerce marketing at Google. “Shop With Google is honored to help champion new design talent through the CFDA’s American Emerging Designer of the Year Award. People are eager to discover and shop with emerging designers, and we’re thrilled to support this year’s nominees and help level the playing field for brands of all stages and sizes.”
Shop With Google hopes to promote the success of emerging designers, and earlier this year Google sponsored the Fifteen Percent Pledge’s inaugural Achievement Award as well as Fashion Trust U.S.’ Inclusivity, Graduate and Creativity Awards, Horton said.
The Shop With Google American Emerging Designer of the Year will be awarded to a designer or creative director who has produced womenswear, menswear or an accessory collection for up to five years.
As reported, the nominees are Bach Mai, Connor McKnight, Rachel Scott for Diotima, Tanner Richie and Fletcher Kasell for Tanner Fletcher, and Carly Mark for Puppets and Puppets.
“I’m so honored. To me, it’s a greatly appreciated milestone. We work so hard at Puppets and the recognition means a lot to all of us in my office. The press around the award creates really vital brand awareness as well,” said Carly Mark, who launched Puppets and Puppets in fall 2019.
Mark, who was nominated in this category last year as well, said about the prize money, “Every little bit helps me keep going. This is an expensive industry, and especially post-runway shows, the bills accumulate. The nomination money and potential prize money will be put toward post show finances and production costs.”
McKnight, a men’s and women’s luxury fashion brand based in New York, said, “I am incredibly grateful to the CFDA and Shop With Google for the nomination; it’s a true honor. Being an emerging designer in today’s current climate has its own set of unique challenges, and all the additional resources help with the day to day so that I can stay focused on the designing process. Both the chance for prize money and the recognition will have an immense impact on my business.”
McKnight spoke about some of his plans for the brand. “I have brick-and-mortar on my mind, while also looking to ramp up my online presence with both DTC and my wholesale partners. I am really proud of the collection we just put out, and feel this is all happening at an inflection point for me. I look forward to meeting this moment and growing from here.”
Tanner Richie, cofounder with Fletcher Kasell of Tanner Fletcher, said, “We are thrilled and also honored to be nominated for the CFDA Emerging Designer of the Year award. It feels amazing to be recognized by such a prestigious group of talented designers and industry leaders.”
Based in Brooklyn, Tanner Fletcher is a genderless brand of ready-to-wear, handbags, home and jewelry. The brand was founded in 2020, and they launched their first rtw collection in September 2021 for spring 2022. The collections look to bridge the gap between clothing and interiors, modern and vintage and masculine and feminine. This is their first nomination for emerging designer, but they’re a finalist in the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund.
Diotima’s Rachel Scott, who wasn’t available for comment, is also a finalist in the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund.
“We are so grateful for how far we’ve come in only two short years since the official launch of Tanner Fletcher,” Kasell added. “We believe this is only just the beginning and we cannot wait to show you what else is in store for the brand.”
Kasell recalled that when Richie read the email from Shop Google and the CFDA and they found out they were nominated, “So many thoughts faced through our minds. Our first runway show took place the day before so this great news truly hit us unexpectedly. After about five minutes of dancing around and feeling grateful, we thought we had better read the rest of the email. This is when we found out the nominees each receive $10,000 from Google, just from being nominated. Naturally, came another jolt of excitement as well as silly laughter at the fact that we completely missed half the good news.
“Tanner Fletcher’s mission is to be a leader in changing the fashion industry in terms of diversity and inclusion especially when it comes to gender and sexuality. So to be nominated from a group of fashion’s most prestigious leaders is truly a ‘pinch me moment for us.’ This recognition validates our vision, our message and it proves that Tanner Fletcher is a brand of the future,” Kasell said.
Bach Mai said, “I’m so immensely honored and humbled to be nominated again for American Emerging Designer of the Year. I’m so proud to be an American designer and an interim member of the CFDA, and having only officially launched the collection just under two years ago, it’s truly surreal to be recognized by the industry in this way. As I’m sure my fellow nominees and all young designers know firsthand, it is incredibly difficult and precarious endeavor we have undertaken, and any little bit of recognition and support helps. Additionally, the $10,000 will be of great help to support our fledgling business and the myriad costs needed to support day-to-day operations and the development of the next collection.”
The American Emerging Designer of the Year Award was first presented in 1986. Past recipients have included Marc Jacobs, Anna Sui, Narciso Rodriguez, Rick Owens, Zac Posen, Phillip Lim, Laura and Kate Mulleavy for Rodarte, Joseph Altuzarra, Rosie Assoulin, Brandon Maxwell, Emily Adams Bode Aujla for Bode and Edvin Thompson for Theophilio.
“Our goal is to help designers start their shopping journey on Google,” Horton said. She noted that people shop across Google more than 1 billion times a day. “This metric considers queries that demonstrate shopping intent. In order to make a purchase, a person must visit a retailer’s site,” she said.
She noted that in 2020, Google made it free for brands to show their products on the site regardless of whether they advertise with Google, which makes it easy for any merchant, no matter their size or budget, to get discovered. “Besides Free Listing, Google Merchant Center offers many other free tools for brands, including insight reports about how their products are performing on Google, as well as tools that use generative AI to help with content creation,” Horton said.
According to Steven Kolb, chief executive officer of CFDA, “The CFDA and Shop With Google are perfectly aligned in their support for the next generation of American fashion talent. The Shop With Google American Emerging Designer of the Year Award will provide the nominees and winner with tangible support to take their talent and business to the next level. We are very grateful to the team at Shop With Google for the support of this important award.”
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