Meet the winners of Ecco Domani’s 2012 Fashion Foundation awards

Correll Correll

Get to know the winners of Ecco Domani’s 2012 Fashion Foundation
awards.  Each received a $25,000 grant to show during New York Fashion
Week.  One of these rising stars might just be your new favorite

The Dream Team

Haus Alkire

Women’s Wear recipient
For Jason Alkire and Julie Haus,
life as a husband and wife design duo — he creates the color palette and
prints, she constructs the garments — has its advantages. “The great
thing is, if we are creative at 3 o’clock in the morning we just work
together at 3 o’clock in the morning,” says Alkire. “Our schedules are
always coinciding, so it’s very convenient for us.” Another perfect
setup: finding out you won the Ecco Domani prize while hanging out in
Central Park. “It was pretty much like a movie moment,” says Haus. “We
were ice skating. In that moment [it felt like] — I wouldn’t say beating
the city, but it can get you down a lot of time. It was amazing. It
was, by far, the biggest moment we’ve had in New York — and, I mean, in
our careers, really.”

The Independents

Correll Correll

Women’s Wear recipient
The Correll Correll workshop in the
Lower East Side is filled with knitting machines, sewing machines and
tons of yarn. “It’s very hands-on here,” says Vera Correll, who, along
with twin sister Daphne, started their handmade knitwear label in 2006.
“We either hand dye or hand knit the whole item — but we always add
something that makes the pieces look unique.” Individuality is something
that’s impor­tant to the sisters, who collaborate on the theme of their
collections but design separately. “Daphne is more more
geometric,”?says Vera. “For me, it’s more gradient colors and organic,
looser textures.”

Their aesthetic differences are celebrated in their fall collection,
in which they’re “thinking of contrasts,” says Vera. “There’s a tension
of two opposing things that we’re balancing.”

The Spitfire

Eighteenth by Alexa Galler

Women’s Wear recipient

Alexa Galler first landed on our radar for flipping our favorite
wardrobe staple — the T-shirt — into cool, asymmetrical creations that
could totally pass for cocktail attire. But for fall, she’s shaking up
another classic: khakis.

“I decided to take my dad’s uniform of khakis and checkered button
downs and blazers — that’s all the guy wears — and make different
silhouettes with it,” says the Atlantic City native, who actually named
the collection “My Dad’s Hair.” (The hair is in reference to her use of
various textures, such as longhaired alpacas and silk velvets). “They’re
contemporary and unlikely, but they’re still very feminine,” says
Galler of the pieces in the line, which includes dresses and lots of her
signature dreamy draping. “I really like this idea of taking an
everyday garment and doing more interesting things with it. That’s where
I come from — taking a basic and figuring out how I can make it not

The Free Spirit

Dezso by Sara Beltran

Accessories recipient
“For anyone who’s creative, India
is like a candy land,” says stylist-turned-designer Sara Beltran, who in
2009 moved to Jaipur to pursue her passion for jewelry making and
expand on her line of sea-inspired baubles.

“I love India because of the architecture, the jewelry, the
textiles, the colors — and because every single corner of the country,
especially Rajasthan, is full of inspiration.” Another reason she loves
the country: its similarity to her native Mexico. “If you drill a hole
in the globe from Mexico, because of the latitude, you’d go straight to
India,” she muses. 

Beltran now melds her love for both worlds, as well as an affinity
for the ocean, into her line of earthy creations made with polki
diamonds, kyanite stones, fossilized shark teeth and sea shells cast in
“I’m going to call my presentation ‘Open Water,’” she reveals.
“I’m always inspired by the ocean, and [this collection] is kind of my
opening to the world.”

The Dreamer


Women’s Wear recipient
No stranger to the fashion world,
designer Sunhee Hwang first got her start when Alber Elbaz (now at
Lanvin) recruited her to work for Geoffrey Beene. For the next 15 years
she enjoyed a successful career designing for Elie Tahari and Anne
Klein, all the while dreaming of starting her own label. “When I got the
phone call [from Ecco Domani] I couldn’t believe it. I started crying.
It’s the first time I felt like I’ve been recognized for my work,” she

It’s no wonder, then, that artist Dorte Jelstrup’s video, with its
themes of longing and desire, struck a nerve with the designer, who
cites the piece as her fall inspiration. “I went to a gallery and I saw
her video called — I love its name — ‘(You Are So Distant) It Would Have
Been Wonderful To Dance With You’ — which is about desire and
modernism, constructivism and Bauhaus.”  So for fall, Sunhee swapped the
ultra feminine, colorful dresses she created for spring and designed a
collection of structured pieces with a focus on knits — and dressy tops.
“My line is for the Upper East Side girl, [for] very cool girls who go
out. That’s my target. I’ve always wanted to do that, actually.” Well,
Sunhee — the dance floor is all yours.

The Guy’s guy

Tim Coppens

Men’s Wear recipient
Tim Coppens is definitely the man’s
man designer. No matter how stylish his garments appear, he knows that
at the end of the day “it’s a menswear line, so it has to be

Though he was the design director of Ralph Lauren’s futuristic
street wear line RLX, don’t expect to see any high-tech clothing in his
presentation. “I do like to think more forward; I’m definitely not into
the vintage or preppy styles,” he admits. “But [the new line is] a
mixture of really classical materials like virgin wools, beautiful
cashmeres or really beautiful Italian leathers with more innovative, new
fabrics. That mixture is really important.”

For his fall collection — which will feature a neutral color palette
and a heavy emphasis on outerwear — Coppens looked to the modern-day
noir film “Drive.”

“I was very intrigued by the movie,” Coppens says. “That whole dark
vibe, the way they use color, [Ryan Gosling’s character] as that really
cool guy. He’s a little quiet, but there’s a certain arrogance to him
without being too outspoken. It’s this understated element.”

The eco rebel

Titania Inglis

Sustainable Design recipient
“I think I was into
sustainability before I was into design,” says Brooklyn-based designer
Titania Inglis. “I’m from Ithaca, and it’s a super hippie town.” The 32
year-old who apprenticed with avant-garde designers Camilla Staerk and
Threeasfour was at first reluctant to get into design because, as she
puts it, “I didn’t want to put more stuff in the world. As consumers, we
all have so much stuff. We have storage units filled with extra stuff
that we’re not even using.”

Her solution: Buy organic fabrics and enlist local craftsman to
create her eco-friendly yet edgy pieces. “The more designers who buy
organic fabrics, the more it encourages mills to continue [producing
it],” says Inglis. “It’s about creating a market for that, because
people will be buying clothes regardless. [I’d like] to help lead the
industry in this direction and show people that you can make clothes in a
sustainable way, and they don’t have to be burlap sacks.” 


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