Melitta Baumeister has won the 2023 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund. The designer was presented her prize by Linda Evangelista this afternoon at the Vogue offices in New York. The announcement followed a conversation between Tommy Hilfiger and Aurora James at the magazine’s annual Forces of Fashion conference.
As the winner of this year’s prize, Baumeister will receive $300,000 and mentorship from key members of the fashion industry. The New York-based, German designer founded her label in 2013 following her graduation from the Parsons MFA program, and has become known for her sculptural silhouettes and distinct, inventive use of innovative materials. Baumeister’s fans include Rihanna, who famously wore a piece of her first ever collection, and Lady Gaga.
“Our CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund class of 2023 are wonderfully talented. They all have something to say about what fashion can be—and where it needs to go,” said Anna Wintour, Chief Content Officer of Condé Nast and Global Editorial Director of Vogue. “As we prepare to celebrate the fund’s 20th anniversary in 2024, this year’s finalists have been a wonderful reminder of why we set up the fund in the first place: to enable a new generation of designers to be seen and heard.”
This year’s runner-ups are Henry Zankov of Zankov and Diotima’s Rachel Scott, who will each be awarded $100,000 and provided with a mentorship. Zankov, a Russian-born, American designer based in New York, launched his label in 2019 after stints at Donna Karan, Diane von Furstenberg, and others. He is known for his idiosyncratic take on knitwear, which oftentimes features bold graphics and vibrant colors. Scott hails from Jamaica, where she makes the unique crochet pieces that have become her signature. Launched in 2021, Diotima presents a nuanced and contemporary vision of Caribbean style, and has been worn by the likes of Doja Cat, Gabrielle Union, and Keke Palmer. “The CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund has always supported truly creative talent…it has been a way for the world to see new and unique stories,” said the CFDA chairman Thom Browne. “Congratulations to Melitta Baumeister as well as Henry Zankov and Rachel Scott… and all finalists doing truly individual and creative work.”
The pandemic put a pause on the competition aspect of the Fund—this particular group of designers is the first since 2019 to join the CVFF winners circle. The last winner of the Fund was Christopher John Rogers in 2019, preceded by Pyer Moss’s Kerby Jean-Raymond in 2018 and Telfar Clemens in 2017. Past winners and runners-up include Bode’s Emily Adams Bode Aujla, Jonathan Cohen, Aurora James of Brother Vellies, Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne of Public School, and Joseph Altuzarra.