Just three days into 2012 and already a handful of designers are emerging as the ones to watch this year. Correll Correll, Eighteenth, Haus Alkire, and Sunhee were all awarded the Ecco Domani Fashion Foundation award today, with a $25,000 grant going to each womenswear label. Joining them are Tim Coppens, Dezso by Sara Beltran, and Titania Inglis, who won for menswear, accessories, and sustainable design, respectively.
While $25,000 might not seem like much in an industry where backpacks sell for $40,000, the Ecco Domani prize certainly pays off. Previous winners include Proenza Schouler, Rodarte, Alexander Wang, and Rag & Bone, among many others. It’s particularly impressive considering that this is just the 11th year that the Italian winemaker is giving out grants.
What’s notable about this year’s recipients is just how varied they are—German-born sisters Daphne and Vera Correll launched Correll Correll in 2006, while South Korean designer Sunhee Moon introduced the first collection of her eponymous line just this past fall. The winners were selected from a pool of 200 applicants, all of which must have at least one retail account, with judges like Julie Gilhart, The Fashion Calendar’s Ruth Finley, and Neiman Marcus fashion director Ken Downing making the final decision.
But it’s not just the Ecco Domani prize that’s shaping the list of up-and-coming designers in 2012. The Fashion Group International just named the finalists for its 15th annual Rising Star Awards, with Wes Gordon, Nahm, Nonoo, and Stacy Lomman among the labels vying for the title. The winner will be announced at a luncheon at the end of January, with men’s apparel, accessories, retail, and beauty awards also given out. Like the Ecco Domani winners, the Rising Star Award is another barometer of which designers to watch—Joseph Altuzarra took home the prize in 2010.