Morganne Leigh of Tyche & Iset.

NEW YORK—Los Angeles-based eyewear company, Tyche & Iset is among the winners of the 2019 Elaine Gold Launch Pad Awards, in its second year as a partnership between The Accessories Council and the Council of Fashion Designers CFDA. The program continues to support early-emerging and young design talent and aspirational entrepreneurs through six months of mentorship and milestone-based awards. The program focuses on helping early emerging designers (in business from 0-3 years) launch their careers in apparel, accessories, jewelry or materiality. It was established in honor of the late Elaine Gold, the vibrant accessories executive and innovator.

Late last month, the 2018-2019 program concluded with a final presentation at Camp David and Industry City in Brooklyn, New York. The finalists were challenged to map the future of their venture and fashion, creating a 360 Venture Pitch. Building upon their vision, brand story, and business model presented at the beginning of their 23-week virtual residency, the final blueprint presentation was an opportunity to show the progression of “ideas” holistically across all areas of their design x business strategies, as well as an opportunity to reflect on the program's pillars of innovation, sustainability and technology. An advisory board selected five finalists from more than 80 applications.

Based on the presentations, $140,000 was awarded. For the 2018-2019 program, an additional $25,000 was awarded through the support of MZ Wallace, the New York City-based accessories brand that supports entrepreneurial spirit and innovation in design, combined with an earlier milestone, brought the total to $200,000 in micro funding. Through the support of Camp David, Elaine Gold Launch Pad Fellows received membership access to the creative co-working space located in Industry City.

Elaine Gold Launch Pad winners.

Morganne Leigh, founder and designer of Tyche & Iset was awarded $55,000 plus $5,000 from Hilldun Corp, totalling $60,000. Leigh commented, “I’m so thankful to the Accessories Council and the CFDA for giving me the opportunity to expand on my passion and creativity in a way that could help grow my business. There have been times where I doubted myself or didn’t know where I was heading, and now I know what steps I need to take to expand. I didn't come from the fashion industry, I don’t have that background, I didn’t go to special art school and I really feel like such a ‘newbie’ and a newcomer. So to be welcomed into the industry like this feels like I got validation that I’m doing the right thing, and I just want to make beautiful things for people.”

Other 2019 Elaine Gold Launch Pad award winners included Angela Luna and Loulwa al Saad, Adiff ($55,000 + year residency at Camp David and Industry City,) Leila Dumond, Cyril Studio jewellry ($10,000), Moya Annece and Ashley Cimone, Ashya accessories ($10,000) and Leonid Batekhin, Occhii apparel ($10,000).

The Final Selection Committee of this year's awards included, Karen Giberson, Accessories Council; Leila Larijani, UBS Financial; Sara Kozlowski, CFDA; Jill Standish, Accenture; Dao-Yi Chow, Public School; Tommy Gibb, Tidal New York; Gena Smith, LVMH; Lucy Wallace Eustice, MZ Wallace; Gary Wassner, Hilldun Corp; Sarah Blair, fashion consultant; and Megan Sal, fashion consultant.

The Advisory Board included Becca Mccharen-Tran, Chromat; Brad Schmidt, Cadet; Carly-Ann Fergus, XRC Labs; Claudia Gorelick, Fjord; Danilo Venturi, Polimoda; Frank Zambrelli, Design Quadrant; Greg Armas, Assembly New York; Jake Sargent, Soft Matter; Karen Giberson, Accessories Council; Keanan Duffty, Parsons; Leila Larijani, UBS; Lisa Smilor, CFDA; Marshall Cheek, Tory Burch; Mazdack Rassi, Milk Studios/Camp David; Thomas Gibb, Tidal New York; Sarah Blair, Barneys New York; Sebastien Park, IDEO; and Steven Kolb, CFD.