Ovation's new 'Fashion Fund' helps young stylists fit into the industry, with ... - New York Daily News

Fashion design competitions like “Project Runway” may have become a reality TV staple, but “The Fashion Fund” is going for something a little more real.

“The Fashion Fund,” which premieres Wednesday at 10 p.m. on Ovation, takes its title and mission from the actual real-life Fashion Fund, a program that’s been running for more than a decade in the real-life fashion industry.

It was launched soon after 9/11 by the Council of Fashion Designers of America, which includes fashion leaders like Diane Von Furstenberg, in conjunction with Anna Wintour’s Vogue magazine.

Its mission was to help young designers who were already in the fashion business and give them the chance to grow into players.

The new TV show follows last year’s competition, in which the winning designer received $300,000 and the two runners-up were awarded $100,000 each.

Equally or more important, says this year’s runner-up Juan Carlos Obando, they get guidance from people like Wintour.

Contrary to the impression one might get from “The Devil Wears Prada,” says Obando, “she's somebody who really cares. She really has an interest in you.”

This year’s first-place winners, Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne, are New Yorkers who call their company Public School, because they both came up through New York public schools.

Dao says those schools helped shape what their company became.

“That experience made us more authentic,” he says. “More original. It placed an importance on separating ourselves from the rest of the pack.”

“A lot of TV about fashion is reality TV and that’s not something we were interested in,” says Steven Kolb, CEO of the Council of Fashion Designers of America. “This program wasn’t created by TV executives.”

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