Fashion Group International 27th Annual Rising Star Awards Celebrates Future Top Designers

Monday, May 8, 2023, The Fashion Group International (FGI) held its 27th Annual Rising Star Awards, which celebrated and honored this year’s finalists and emerging talent. On the heels of the Accessories Council Excellence Awards (ACE) black-tie gala on May 3, which took place at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York City, honoring Wolverine as the brand of the year, celebrating the 140th anniversary, the FGI award show also recognized new talent in fashion, beauty, and related industries.

The annual FGI Rising Star Awards luncheon has revamped its awards categories for the 2023 iteration. The new slate of awards offered gender-inclusive categories recognizing finalists in fashion, like accessories, fine jewelry, beauty, sustainability, retail, collaborations, and related entrepreneurial categories. The ticketed red-carpet luncheon took place in New York City at The Lighthouse at Chelsea Piers, with views of Manhattan and the Hudson River to gleam on the finalists who yearned for this kind of recognition.

Maryanne Grisz, FGI President and CEO, said of the event, “It is our honor to welcome the fashion industry to the FGI Rising Star Awards each year as we gather to celebrate some of the most promising new talents in fashion, beauty, and business sectors. FGI has always sought to support the industry and our members, whether well-established or emerging talent. Over the years, past FGI Rising Star honorees have risen to become some of the leading voices in the business, and I cannot wait to cheer on our finalists in their next successes.”

After a long period of virtual gatherings, the return of in-person Rising Star Awards hosts its 27th celebration honoring new creatives with keynote speaker of the evening Patricia Field, who kicked off the luncheon. Costume designer and founder of the ARTFashion organization Patricia Feild, along with former model turned photographer, filmmaker, author, and creative director Nigel Barker, Stefano Tonchi, and fashion designer LaQuan Smith, will all present awards.

Patricia Field has had plenty of fashion moments and has fostered the careers of many entrepreneurs in her tenure. She sees the FGI Rising Star Award as an avenue for young designers to reach their potential as an artist through historical context. She says, “Fashion is a huge word, covering many areas, including magazines, events, designers, etc. Regarding newcomers – I believe I have a reputation for recognizing newcomers as I have always been inspired by the fashionistas I meet along the way, not to mention my retail establishment, which housed many inspired fashion youth. Young people tend to be more excited, optimistic, and full of ideas.”

While FGI celebrates the new, Field pays homage to the past. “My philosophy is that fashion history – past and present – as other art forms, describes the times that we are experiencing, both positive and negative. An example would be the roaring twenties after World War I, the hemlines on skirts went shorter, and the dancing of the Charleston, when women were kicking their legs up in the air – this describes positivity. The opposite would describe the Depression era when fashion became faded and shapeless,” Field says.

Nigel Barker, formerly a host of television shows America’s Next Top Model and The Shot on VH1, shares a similar sentiment with Field. As the younger generations have access to knowledge, Barker agrees that history can guide talent. He says, “You can Google certain aspects of what happens, but there are real-life situations. I’m on the board of multiple companies, and I run creative teams mostly in their twenties. I’m able to do is help look 10 – 15 years into the future. For them, they’re looking at the here and now.”

The FGI has its own historical value as a catalyst of talent almost 100 years before its first Rising Star Awards. “I’m very familiar with FGI. It’s been around since the 1930s, founded by 17 extraordinary women, including a former editor-in-chief of Vogue,” Barker explains. “And people like Edith Head, major names in the fashion industry. It’s something I’ve been very familiar with, and it’s something I believe in too. Helping people – in mentoring. I believe in giving people a chance and opportunity, and certainly, my career wouldn’t have made it here without those moments.”

Barker continues, “That’s what the Rising Star Awards is all about. It’s amazing when you hear of people who’ve won that award historically. People like Tori Birch, Philip Lim, or Warby Parker – there’s a whole list of extraordinary people who have been at the Rising Star Awards.

LaQuan Smith of his eponymous brand, who presented the ‘Ready-To-Wear’ award on that Monday afternoon, says, “The younger generation is a lot more conscious about fashion today and the importance of sustainability. They should learn how important it is to be authentic in the collections that they produce. We are constantly influenced by what everyone else is doing, but in my opinion, what makes a great collection is storytelling through personal journeys and experiences and allowing your work to be directional and feel purposeful.”

“I feel very strongly about supporting young and emerging designers,” Smith describes, comparing his business operations over the last decade. “As I know it is not an easy task to set up and run your own brand, and I think having support and recognition, especially in the early stages of a designer’s career is crucial to success. That is why it is so important to have events such as the FGI Rising star awards which help to highlight the most promising new talent in fashion, beauty, and related industries.”

Founded in 1928, Fashion Group International has had a resourceful history of promoting career advancement and supporting fashion professionals from education to the professional level. With a global network of chapters and over 5,000 active members, the organization provides access to professional development opportunities, market insights, mentorship, and event platforms for professional recognition.

Alumni of the past Rising Star Awards are paved in some of the best talent fashion has. With acclaimed success after receiving their award, past winners have included Jason Wu, Tory Burch, Joseph Altuzarra, Phillip Lim, Brandon Maxwell, Thom Brown, Bond No. 9, Warby Parker, Jennifer Fleiss, and Jennifer Hyman of Rent the Runway.

Fashion Group International participants can have only been in business for six years or less, while the philanthropic branch, the Fashion Group Foundation, is nurturing future talent. Cultivating the next generation through education, scholarships, internships, and career counseling services, among its charitable partnerships and public service initiatives are the foundational pillars of FGI.

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