What a moment for Aurora James! Two weeks ago, Footwear News announced to the shoe industry that James will be the recipient of the 2015 Vivian Infantino Emerging Talent award at the 29th annual FN Achievement Awards, on Dec. 2.
Then last night, the designer of the Brother Vellies label got more good news, when she won the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund in a three-way tie.
FN has been tracking James’ progress since early 2014, when Fashion Director Mosha Lundström Halbert profiled the designer in the pages of the magazine. In that early piece, she drew attention to James’ unusual design vision and sustainable production practices.
Lundström Halbert recalled, “From the get go, I sensed enormous potential in Aurora. Her ability to use Brother Vellies to tell a unique, personal story and affect positive change in Africa is inspiring. When we first met, she had all the ingredients, but her business was tiny. I’m so happy that FN has played a part in championing her talent”
For her part, James said, “I’ll never forget the first day I came into FN’s offices. I really felt like they listened to me and believed in what I was doing. I’m so grateful for the support and exposure I received from the very beginning. It means a lot.”
James was further recognized by FN earlier this year in a special issue about the young designers to watch, where she shared the cover of the magazine with three other hot up-and-comers.
Now, as the winner of the prestigious Vivian Infantino Emerging Talent award, James has truly arrived.
The honor, which was created in 2004 in memory of FN’s renowned women’s editor, each year celebrates the best young designer in the industry. Among the individuals who have been honored are Nicholas Kirkwood, Charlotte Olympia Dellal, Sophia Webster and Edgardo Osorio of Aquazzura.
Now in its 29th year, the FN Achievement Awards have recognized the biggest talents in the shoe business, including Christian Louboutin, Manolo Blahnik, Stuart Weitzman and Pierre Hardy, as well as powerhouse brands like Nike, Under Armour and Prada.
Stay tuned to Footwearnews.com to find out about the other 2015 FN Achievement Award winners, including Designer of the Year, Brand of the Year and Company of the Year.
To explore James’ spring ’16 collection for Brother Vellies, click through the gallery below.