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telfar clemens fashion fund cfda winner 2017
Photography Collin LaFleche

Telfar Clemens just won a top fashion prize

The unisex brand scored $400,000 and a year’s mentorship to help grow the business

After a busy year – that has seen him collaborate with Converse for SS18 and reinvent the White Castle uniform for 12,000 employees – Telfar Clemens was last night announced as the winner of the 2017 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund.

Clemens joins brands like Gypsy Sport and Public School who have both previously won the main prize – taking home $400,000 to help develop the brand and business mentorship for a year. Beating other finalists Vaquera, RtA and Jordan Askill, this year’s runners-up were swimwear/sportswear brand Chromat and sunglasses designer Ahlem Manai-Platt

Established in 2005, the brand – self-described as “horizontal, democratic, universal” – has been making a case for unisex clothing that is accessible to everyone. Speaking to Dazed earlier this year about the White Castle collaboration, Clemens said, “It’s corny to talk about ‘elevating’ things – we want to make fashion horizontal.”

But more than that, Telfar represents a radically conceptual fashion proposition. “I want to be Michael Kors, but on purpose,” Clemens once told us of his obsession with the homogenous – he’s had a K-Mart-sponsored runway show, and created a collection which referenced Aeropostale, Martha Stewart, H&M, Ralph Lauren, and Abercrombie & Fitch. “I took everything I thought I hated and I turned it into something I love,” the designer told us at the time.

Congratulations Telfar – we’re looking forward to seeing what comes next!