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Design & Style

Spotting Designer Talent: CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund

Anna Wintour

Lesson time 16:06 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
Teaches Creativity and Leadership
Anna Wintour gives unprecedented access to her world, teaching you how to lead with vision and creativity—and without apology.


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....

About the Instructor

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, 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

every class , just blew me away I was happy that I learned about everything that has to do with art fashion and the world

It was a pleasant journey to realise how humble, articulate, brave, creative, and considerate the leadership should be! Thank you Anna for taking us in the backstage and telling us about the impact behind all the things we knew but never completely understood!

Anna's story has taught me how to be a better leader.


Brian H.

2:50 Speaking of things being very dark, how is the fashion industry coping with COVID-19 and its attendant social distancing, self-isolating, sheltering in place, etc?


Keep Clarity of vision and speak from the heart when you design. CFDA is a way to encourage new talent, but also provide a reality check on whether a designer can move the creativity into a successful business. Good to know that Vogue is also interested in discovering new talent as well as showing established designers.

Luisger L.

I've been surprised by all of Anna's lessons. Apart from being highly articulate and pleasing to the eye, her messages are profound, smart - something very different to the pre-conceived notion I had. Possibly my favorite MasterClass to date - awesome work!

Kristina W.

I interned for Anna at British Vogue while I was in college (she hadn't yet taken over American Vogue) and she was just as breath-taking at the beginning of her career as she is now: generous with her advice, exacting in her standards for both herself and those around her, and good at modeling the creativity and leadership she describes in this masterclass. Well done you for talking her into participating in this program.

Erika Von Finck

Wonderful lesson! Thank you so much Anna for all the detail information. I totally agree that it is very important to have a unifying spirit to reflect what your brand represent, but also to understand how it´s going to fit in the market in which you will be offering your product. And of course, the MOST important thing, is to be who you are.

Graham C.

Very insightful lesson: You need to be fully engaged and encourage the development of your team and those around you. I have been at various marketing agencies with the "Sink or swim" mentality, where senior leaders are often disengaged and feel they don't need to interact with their their junior team because they have spent enough time in their career coaching others. But it's often the junior team who are the ones carrying the heaviest loads. High turnover is a direct result of that disengagement in development and often due to a lack of leadership and support.

Isa N.

This lesson I didn´t liked the last part, were they give advise for designers to follow other carreers. We live in an unlimited and constantly transformative world, nobody can play the role of God and make previsions for the future or decide peoples lifes. That´s tradition making this kind of assumptions on creative world, sometimes not reflecting the reality. My self had experience from a arquictecture teacher saying that I was draw awfull, than in a coupe of 2 months I was the better student drawing in that class.

Lorena (Lorraine) P.

Anna gives great advices to help creatives succeed which are important in all the careers sectors.


Is there anything better than listening to a wise, successful Lady? Thank you for sharing, Anna!

Natale A.

Beautiful . Thank you Anna and Masterclass . Would be Nice if as BOF does Masterclass can release a ceritfication after complète thé classes . Happy Holidays