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In its 12th go around, Ecco Domani [Wines] takes its love for high quality even higher by focusing on fresh new talent within the fashion industry. Simply see the eye-opening effect the  Ecco Domani Fashion Foundation has created in fostering 60+ designers. The foundation has provided over $1.7 million to push today’s hottest brands into the limelight. Winners received a $25,000 grant to premiere their designs on the NYFW fall 2013 runway.

The foundation has helped a mind-boggling list of designers become household names including as Zac Posen, Proenza Schouler, Rodarte, Prabal Gurung, Alexander Wang, and Derek Lam. The foundation admires all aspects of design, as winners range from talented accessory to sustainable designers: Narrowed down from 200 applicants, the winners are a stellar group consisting of women’s design recipient TOME, accessories design recipient  Deborah Pagani, sustainable design recipient SUSAN WOO, and men’s design recipient Ian Velardi.  Here’s a brief background so you’re more familiar once these names hit it big, and a few snapshots to recognize them..

Although TOME calls NYC home, the designers still look back at their beginnings in Sydney, Australia studying fashion at the University of Technology Sydney. TOME consists of dynamic duo Ryan Lobo and Ramon Martin. Martin’s range of work consists of kickstarting an online mag to shooting for fashion publications to working for Alberta Ferretti, Jean Paul Gaultier, and also as the design director for Derek Lam. TOME expresses a no-fuss approach to design-meaning fashion that is both “practical” and “pure.”

Self-taught designer Ian Velardi knows what men want in their wardrobe- using his background across all aspects of menswear as a strong foundation. This 2012 GQ Best New Menswear Designer in America nominee also created a GAP capsule collection resulting from the recognition.The designer’s past consists of transitioning from high-quality label Hickey Freeman to its the future extension Hickey. He then moved to Hart Schaffner Marx, next managed the establishment of Rogues Gallery, and following that he began his own collection of hot hats, dubbed Hattan featured at a number of stores such as Barneys New York and Bergdorf Goodman.  He took each new step as an opportunity to establish bonds with Italian manufacturers and mills that helped produce the initial four seasons of Velardi’s collections.

The Cornell University grad used her love of day to night looks by beginning the namesake label, SUSAN WOO. Global awareness is a core part of the brand, as her upbringing in a health-conscious family made having 100% sustainable and all-natural fabrics even more important. Using her experience working in the design centers of Chanel, Derek Lam, and Louis Vuitton as a base, the sustainable designer blurs the lines between caring for the environment and looking chic. She even goes as far as to make sure that the companies that source her organic wools, cashmeres, and cottons have a true environmental responsibility. Quality over quantity is Woo’s motto, which is an unyielding promise that we’re sure won’t be broken !

Native new-yorker Deborah Pagani simply looked at the urban jungle around her when searching for inspiration for her brand. Deemed “Deco Rock”, the label is a result of uniting Rock’n’Roll with Art Deco for a unique outcome. Managing three collections within her main line,  she uses her former years as an in-demand Manhattan beauty expert to know what women desire within her pieces- to become both sultry and beautiful. Pagani looks at legends such as Cleopatra, Joan Crawford, and Grace Jones as a guide to create an timeless result. We’re sure that these labels will quickly move from the runways to filling the closets of worldwide fans. Written by Mary Anderson 

photo credits:

Marvin Jones,  Amber De Vos, and Ian Veraldi | Patrick McMullen, all courtesy of Ecco Domani.

Visit for more info and a list of Ecco Domani Fashion Foundation alumni.


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