Fashion Group International Announces ‘Rising Star’ Finalists

The Fashion Group International has revealed its 2022 Rising Stars finalists.

Unlike in years past, when honorees gathered for a January awards luncheon, this year’s batch of candidates will have to wait until May to celebrate. The awards will be held on May 10 at The Lighthouse, Pier Sixty One on the Hudson in Manhattan.

The onset of the Omicron variant prompted FGI to postpone its event until the spring. The chosen venue has an outdoor space overlooking the Hudson River, FGI’s president and chief executive officer Maryanne Grisz said.

In addition to honoring talent in individual categories, FGI will present the President’s Award for Excellence to Byron Lars for his In Earnest label. Lars started designing under his sportswear label in 1991 with what he described as “twisted American classics.” Known for his style mash-ups and workmanship, Lars once said, “I want it to be more about the clothes and less about the hype.” Last year, Lars joined forces with his longtime colleague Sheila Gray to debut In Earnest.

The Wassner Management Group’s Cole Wassner will pick up the Entrepreneur of the Year award. (Wassner’s father Gary heads up the Hilldun Corp.) FGI’s entrepreneurial honor as well as the aforementioned presidential one for excellence will be given at the Rising Stars luncheon for the first time. Both awards previously had been given out during FGI’s annual meeting. One of the prerequisites is that companies have been in business between one and six years. Although Lars has more than 30 years of experience in the fashion industry, In Earnest was launched in 2021.

Another new feature is the “Rising Star Virtual Marketplace and Gallery” that will showcase the finalists’ work and will be unveiled on FGI’s site on Feb. 10. The new feature will boost visibility and could potentially strengthen sales via links to the companies’ respective sites.

FGI members will be able to vote for their favorites next month.

Another change in the Rising Stars event’s lineup will be the announcement of the Diesel Sustainability Award and the Hilldun Business Award that will be revealed at a later date. Hearst Magazines, Diesel and Hilldun are sponsoring this year’s luncheon. Presenters for the various award will be named in the months ahead.

The Rising Star finalists for men’s wear are AKNVAS’ Christian Juul Nielsen, Terry Singh NYC’s Terry Singh and Christoper Lowan and Kenneth Nicholson, who each have signature labels. Women’s wear brands that are in-the-running are namesake ones by Amir Taghi, Frederick Anderson, Kelsey Randall and Mimi Prober, as well as Junny’s Kelsey Randall.

For All Gender, the finalists are Deviate by Kelsey and Cassidy Tucker, Fried Rice by Maya Wang, Stan by Tristan Detwiler and William Frederick by William McNicol.

The Beauty award is especially competitive this year. Curl Daddy by Edwin Borquez Pierrot, Em & El Organics by Emily Trower-Young, GlossWire App by Kimberley Carney, Kindra by Catherine Balsam-Schwaber, Moerie by Mantas Butkus, Raquel Riley Thomas Beauty by Raquel Riley Thomas and Sparti Scents from Abby Wallach and Caroline Fabrigas are the nominees.

In terms of the Accessories Rising Star Award, the finalists are Bybba’s Pam Seidman, Bentz’s Melissa and Kim Bentz, Cuddigan Leather’s Jennifer Rose Smail, Mia Becar’s Betzabe Gonzalez and Salone Monet’s signature company.

Three brands are competing for the New Retail Rising Star Award – ScentFluence’s Caroline Fabrigas, The Vault by Volpe Beringer’s Nancy Volpe Beringer and Thirteen Lune’s Nyakio Grieco. The Fine Jewelry category also features a field of three: Julie Lamb NY’s Julie Lamb, Sara Shala Designs’ Sara Shala and Mary Margrill.