Listen. I love and very openly stan for Robin Rihanna Fenty. Beyond being insanely stylish, she displays masterful control over her brand. Besides being the ultimate trend setter, she constantly reinvents herself with the ease and confidence of Janet or Madonna. No matter how outlandish, every move is deliberate and measured. Normally, I’m against bestowing titles such as “Icon” and “Legend” on the young. However, Rihanna is deserving.
In November, LVMH announced its Young Fashion Designers Prize to offer mentorship (and money) to support a baby brand in its growth. Yesterday, it announced the 12 finalist, among them a familiar name – Tim Coppens. Now, if you are anything like me, you were glued to Ovation TV for “The Fashion Fund,” which chronicled the CFDA selecting the winner for their Fashion Fund which has groomed some of the top names over the last 10 years. While the focus of my watching was primarily on the previously proclaimed winners “Public School,” I immediately knew I had heard the name Tim Coppens before. A perusal of the brand’s twitter timeline confirmed that Tim Coppens had been chosen by both the CFDA and LVMH for their respective fashion funds.
First of all, what an amazing designer to be chosen by industry insiders on both sides of the pond, but the decision did give me pause. For Tim Coppens it seemed almost a bit desperate to hop from one fund to another within the space of a year. I might have suggested he wait it out a year, especially with “The Fashion Fund” airing so close to the selection of the LVMH award. Without the show, he could have did the back to back without so much as a blink. However, the show brought exposure to all the brands, not just this year’s winners.
The decision also felt a little “shady.” The CFDA fund’s finalists and winners were announced well before we knew anything about the LVMH fund. I can’t help but think the move was deliberate and calculated to send some type of message back to the states. LVMH increased the number of finalists from 10 to 12 at the last minute, perhaps to accommodate Coppens without cheating the new designers? I’ve noted here before that LVMH is obviously seeking to maintain dominance so perhaps this was just a muscle flex.
Finally, I was surprised that Coppens competing in both was even allowed, especially within the same year. I would have assumed there would be some language in the CFDA contract for its finalists that would prevent participating in another competition for at least a year, especially with the reality show on air. There aren’t any ongoing obligations of the finalists beyond their year but it was just seem like the CFDA would want some non-compete to secure their air of exclusivity. [I wonder if there will be one next year?]
Ultimately, I guess there’s nothing per se wrong with Tim Coppens competing in both funds, it just feels weird. I want as many designers as possible to have access to these funds and it seems once you had your chance and lost, you should take your notes back the drawing board for at least a year, then apply to a new competition. I hope competition hopping does not become a trend.