Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Have you ever wondered how it works behind the scenes for the CFDA award nominations????

By now you have all caught up on the winners. So what happens before the awards are given out, and the feast of red carpet fashion commences on the evening of the gala?

Today on the blog, LaMont Jones joins us to share some of his experiences as 4 time nominator and judge for the prestigious awards. Not only is LaMont one of the judges, but he also has a collection he co-creates of limited edition pocket squares, and has been inducted into the Pittsburgh Fashion Hall of Fame for his contributions in the industry.

So, I was wondering after meeting LaMont at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in NYC… What would it be like to be one of the CFDA nominators, and judges? Have you ever wanted to know how it all works?

Special thank you to LaMont. You will find the full list of CFDA award winners below.

I couldn’t wait to share our Q&A with you. Enjoy!!

Image courtesy of LaMont Jones.

1. CT: How did you first become involved with the CFDA awards?
LJ: I was first asked to be a nominator and judge in  2007.
2. CT: How long have you been a judge?
LJ: 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2013
3. CT: There is so much talent represented. Is it a tough decision each season to narrow down to the   winners?
LJ: It can be vey difficult to decide whom to nominate, You usually can nominate up to three in each category. And you rank them in order of preference. Weeks later, you receive a ballot listing the finalists and you vote for one in each category. You don’t necessarily get to nominate or vote in every single category. And it’s all done via email.
4. CT: How far in advance before the award is presented does the panel decide on the winners?
LJ: The ballots must be turned in several weeks prior to the awards ceremony.

5. CT: You are not only a judge, but also a nominator. How many nominees do you consider before narrowing down to those nominated?

LJ: The two-phase process involves nominating and then voting, I usually want to nominate more designers than allowed, so it’s tough narrowing down my choices. There are many deserving designers who never n make it to a vote.

4. CT: I know you attend NY fashion week. What’s your role during the shows? 

LJ: I cover the week as a freelancer, writing fashion as cultural criticism for various clients. I’ve attended more than 1,600 shows over the last 28 consecutive seasons. I also advise fashion  models and introduce them to the scene. I spend part of the week shopping for textiles for a line of pocket squares I design with a business partner, and it’s always cool to hang out with friends in the industry. I always hate to leave New York. My dining and living rooms have a strong New York motif going on, so I’m always in a New York state of mind.

6. CT: What are you looking for at NYFW? 

LJ: I’m always looking for trend shifts, the sudden ones and the subtle ones. I’m looking for how politics, pop culture, current events are influencing the collections. And I observe how the scene and crowds change from season to season. What comes down the runways is a reflection of where our culture is, and a harbinger of where it is heading.

7. CT: As advice for future talent aspiring to a CFDA nomination, what are the top 5 must have criteria you would recommend?

LJ: Be consistent in your collections. There are a couple of designers I wanted to nominate this year, but they lacked either a fall or winter collection. To be nominated, you must have designed both.  Of course, the biggest advantage is being the buzz, someone on the lips and radars of influential editors and industry insiders. It’s not enough to be a great designer, unfortunately.

8. CT: How did you become involved in fashion?

LJ: I descend from very stylish people, so part of it may be in the genes. Professionally, I occasionally wrote freelance style stories for my newspaper’s fashion editor, and when she moved to another city in 1999  I was asked to apply for the job. I initially said no. I’m glad I changed my mind, because it’s been an extremely interesting ride that has opened many doors for me. I helped create the infrastructure for the launch of Pittsburgh Fashion Week in 2010 — patterning it after NYFW — and was inducted into the Pittsburgh Fashion Hall of Fame in 2011.

9. CT: What’s the biggest change you have seen in the fashion business in the last 10 years?

LJ: That’s tough. There have been many, It would have to be a three-way toss-up between the enormous growth of e-commerce, and the rise of cheap and chic “throw-away” fashion and the influence of fashion reality-TV shows.

10. CT: You’ve watched the evolution of fashion over the years. What do you think is new on the horizon for the future business of fashion?

LJ: The fusion of technology and eco-chic will be something interesting to witness, if it happens. The two paths currently run parallel, but I see amazing fashion happening if they intersect. I want stock in the brands that make it happen. It also will be interesting to see what happens to the fashion industry globally as Internet commerce continues to have momentum, malls continue to die, and specialty stores continue to struggle for survival.

Womenswear Designer of the Year: Lazaro Hernandez & Jack McCollough of Proenza Schouler
Accessory Designer of the Year: Phillip Lim of 3.1 Phillip Lim
Menswear Designer of the Year: Thom Browne
Swarovski Award for Womenswear: Erin Beatty & Max Osterweis of Suno
Swarovski Award for Accessory Design: Pamela Love 
Swarovski Award for Menswear: Dao-Yi Chow & Maxwell Osborne of Public School
Media Award: Tim Blanks
International Award: Riccardo Tisci for Givenchy
Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award: Vera Wang
Board of Director Tribute: Colleen Atwood
Founders Award: Oscar de la Renta

Categories : EVENTS, FASHION  |  Tags : ,  | 

4 Responses to Inside the mind of cfda awards judge, LaMont Jones

  1. pamela

    I just finished school as an evening wear designer. I am ALWAYS wondering how to even be considered for the CFDA’s. Thanks for such an informative post. One day:)

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