Public School Among Finalists for CFDA’s $100,000 Sustainability Prize

by Aria Darcella

The Council of Fashion Designers of America is back with its sustainable business development program, the CFDA + Lexus Fashion* Initiative, and this year Public School has made the list of five finalists. The Initiative acts as a “virtual residency,” aiming to help designers make their brands more sustainable and ethical, combatting fashion’s environmental and social impacts. At the end, there is a monetary cash prize for one brand.

Throughout the competition designers will compete in micro-award challenges, the first of which occurs in January. There are three micro-awards, with prizes of $20,000, $15,000, and $10,000, totaling up to $80,000. The program concludes in June with the finalists pitching their strategies to make their businesses sustainable. The most viable, visionary, and impactful strategy will take home the Lexus Grant of $100,000.

Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne of Public School have been making a push into sustainable fashion recently, so their inclusion among the finalists isn’t surprising. Last month the duo released a zero-waste capsule collection with Eileen Fisher that used damage garments from a take-back program as the raw materials for new designs.

The announcement was made last night at a cocktail party marking the launch of 2018/2019 program. Both Osborne and Chow were in attendance, as were fellow finalists Abdul Abasi and Greg Rosborough of Abasi Rosborough, Araks Yeramyan of Araks, Jonathan Cohen and Sarah Leff of Jonathan Cohen, and Tracy Reese. Also at the party were past winners Rosario Dawson and Abrima Erwiah of Studio One Eighty Nine, and Erin Isakov of Erin Snow. Congrats to all!

CFDA + Lexus Fashion* Initiative

The finalists: Jonathan Cohen, Greg Rosborough, Abdul Abasi, Dao-Yi Chow, Maxwell Osborne, Araks Yeramyan, Sarah Leff, Tracy Reese (

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