The ten finalists for the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund have been announced. The winner of the prestigious prize receives $200,000 to put toward their business, and mentorship from bigwigs in the fashion industry. Two runners-up receive $50,000, along with business counseling. Alexander Wang, whose sample sale nearly bankrupted us last weekend, won last year. His mentor is none other than CFDA president Diane Von Furstenberg. Last year's runners-up were Vena Cava designers Lisa Mayock and Sophie Buhai and Albertus Quartus designer Albertus Q. Swanepoel. This year's nominees are:
• Flora Gill and Alexa Adams of Ohne Titel
• Natalie Chanin of Alabama Chanin
• Patrik Ervell
• Sophie Theallet
• Waris Ahluwalia of House of Waris
• Wayne Lee of Wayne
• George Esquivel of Esquivel Shoes
• Gary Graham
• Monique Péan
• Simon Spurr of Spurr
The winner and runners-up will be announced at a gala on November 16. Previous winners include Proenza Schouler designers Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough, Thom Browne, Phillip Lim, and Thakoon Panichgul.
Last year's keynote speaker was John Galliano, so Wang got to rub elbows with him and his date, Charlize Theron — an added megabonus. How he survived that remains unknown.
The CFDA and Vogue Announce the 2009 Fashion Fund Finalists [Vogue Daily/Vogue.com]