Business, Politics & Society

Spotting Designer Talent: CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund

Anna Wintour

Lesson time 16:07 min

Taking you behind the scenes of the 2018 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund, Anna reveals what the judges look for in new and upcoming talent, and she gives advice to help designers and creatives succeed.

Anna Wintour
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ANNA WINTOUR: The CFDA stands for the Council of Fashion Designers of America. And they are our industry association, dedicated to supporting American fashion. The winner of the CFDA Vogue Fashion Fund receives $400,000. Two run runners up receive $150,000 each. In addition to the cash prizes, the award-- and maybe this is most important-- also includes mentorship with a leader in the fashion industry. It was important to me to create the fund because as a leader in the fashion industry, I felt that it was my responsibility to ensure the future of American fashion. The lesson for all of us at "Vogue" I think from September the 11th was when tragedy happens, it's very important to take action. And I think speaking as a leader, that's something I feel very passionately and very strongly about. And, of course, September 11th was a tragedy on a scale that I hope none of us ever have to live through again. But a very small memory of September 11th was that it happened right at the beginning of New York Fashion Week. And as a result, every single one of the shows was obviously canceled. And all of us at "Vogue" were obviously devastated, paralyzed, unable to fathom what was happening. And as I saw all this unfold, I just thought what can I do to mobilize my team. What can I do on a tiny, tiny scale, what can all of us do that can be in any way helpful? What we talked amongst ourselves about is that we will not be defeated. We will go back to work. We will lead. And so we advised everybody to reschedule New York Fashion Week. We called all the young designers who didn't have any money or the wherewithal to replan their show and said we will help you create a show. And we put on a show through the generosity of Carolina Herrera at her showroom of 10 young designers, and it was very much a sense of a community coming together. A lot of press came, a lot of editors. It was actually a very joyful and positive experience. And I think that there is a great lesson to be learned in that is that even when things are very, very dark, it's better to be engaged, and it's better to help and better to be positive than sitting back and giving up. And because of that experience, I went to the CFDA, and I said we need to create a fund that is going to support young designers in America, not just for a time of tragedy but in perpetuity. And we asked a number of people. We raise the funds. We put together a selection committee of which "Vogue" was very much a voice, and the CFDA was very much a voice. And we created the CFDA Vogue Fashion Fund over 15, 16 years ago. Yeah, 'cause, you know, nowhere else to go. - And by the way, there is nowhere else to go. - We have a revolutionary new idea. We actually have the clothes this time. Only took 15 years. So this is a bit of Versace meets Prada. Yeah. So it's going to be-- it's going to be a tough year to choose. We have an admissions program that you have to fill out in great detail....

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A fashion and media icon, Anna Wintour has been driving our cultural conversation for more than 30 years. The Vogue Editor-in-Chief and Artistic Director of Condé Nast takes off her signature sunglasses and gives you unprecedented access to her world. See how Anna nurtures talent, makes bold decisions, and evolves a brand. Learn how to lead with impact from a visionary creative leader.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

Anna was really insightful, providing lots of examples to support her sayings, based on personal and others' experience. Everything was clear and concise, it was almost like following her while she was telling us a story. I would highly recommend this course to others. Because we all need to own who we are, without apologies.

Anna Wintour's MasterClass is applicable to so much more than simply leadership and/or fashion. This was so much more than I could have ever expected.

This is an excellent Masterclass, full of tips out of the box and very practical. Anna is definitely a born leader, every video is inspiring.

Anna, gave me a really important reminder, that I must be true to myself in regards to be creative and to not let be conformed to the status quo. Thanks for helping me be more bolt and led with confidence


Victoria M.

I wholeheartedly agree that a successful designer needs to know about the business end of the business in order to achieve longevity.

Dario Hamlet L.

Good morning Ms. Wintour , here are some samples of my


This lesson is so rewarding and inspirational. So impressed with Miss Wintour and Conde Nast Vogue to possess the desires and the sensitivities of need for these new designers. This is definitely a win-win for all parties concerned. Bravo!

Lynnemarie S.

I enjoyed hearing that even when they cannot accept a designer ,the panel will give helpful feedback.

Carolyn S.

An insightful look into what Anna is looking for in young designers and who stands out ... My favorite bit of advice - BE BOLD. This is true across all disciplines - be true to yourself and stand out. [Art attached using my own photograph and a model from the Pre-Raphaelite period]

Melanie V.

I loved these lessons. Wise advice from one of the most successful women in fashion and publishing. Hard-working finishes her job every single day so she starts a new day fresh I think incredible words of wisdom throughout each and every lesson.

A fellow student

i was really really looking forward to this but this really feels more like a memoir instead of lessons.

A fellow student

I think the videos have lots of great points that Anna goes through really fast. These points needs to be taken note of and to be reviewed and reflect/relate to my own case. That's where it's most important. I think the videos are very useful, not only limited to fashion world, but also anything that's related to designs, brand building,etc. The lecture is short and condensed. Each and every one of advice needs time to be processed, and if you listen close, every sentence is useful.

Stacie S.

I was not impressed. Felt that there would be more direct instruction and insider tips. This was more of a memoir than a lesson plan. Feel that it was not a wise investment