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Tomorrow, we'll officially close the public nomination process for Racked Young Guns, our nationwide search for the next big thing in fashion design. But before we do, we thought you should know exactly which industry insiders will be helping us pick our winners. Ladies and gentlemen, it's time to reveal the official Young Guns selection committee—the 26 designers, retailers, and all-around fashion experts who will help us sort through hundreds of applications to find the country's most promising young talent.
This year's committee includes both newcomers and familiar names from last year's process. We have beloved designers, major boutique owners, and founders of some of the most successful e-commerce sites out there. What they all have in common: They're helping determine how people dress every day, which makes them ideal for the task of finding the designers who will determine how we dress in the future.
Without further ado, here are their names.
· Steven Alan—founder and designer behind clothing line and boutique Steven Alan
· Amy Smilovic—designer and founder behind the modern cool-girl label Tibi
· Pamela Love—designer behind the award-winning jewelry line Pamela Love
· Erica Cerulo and Claire Mazur—founders of small-batch e-commerce site Of a Kind
· Jennifer Mankins—owner and proprietor of trend-setting Brooklyn boutique Bird
· Neil Blumenthal—co-founder and co-CEO of eyewear e-commerce innovator Warby Parker
· Sarah Easley and Beth Buccini—owners of New York designer emporium Kirna Zabête
· Jessie Randall—founder, designer and creative director of fashion-editor–beloved shoe and bag line Loeffler Randall
· Kathy Rose—co-owner (with business partner Rick Rose), proprietor and designer of LA-based jewelry line and boutique Roseark
· Claire Distenfeld—owner and proprietor of Manhattan luxury boutique Fivestory
· Melissa Coker—founder and creative director of cute, polished LA-based clothing line Wren LA-based clothing line Wren
· Kristen Lee—co-founder, co-owner and buyer for stylish, design-obsessed boutique TenOverSix, which has locations in LA and Dallas
· Lizzie Fortunato and Kathryn Fortunato—Young Guns alums, sisters, and designers behind the jewelry line Lizzie Fortunato
· Caitlin Mociun—Young Guns alum and designer of delicate, unusual jewelry line Mociun
· Erica Weiner—founder and designer of sustainable New York-based jewelry collection and boutique Erica Weiner
· Andrea Linett—creative director, author, editor, and blogger at I Want to Be Her
· Paul Birardi and Eddy Chai—owners and proprietors of New York menswear destination Odin
· Gabriel Ricioppo—creative director of cult-favorite affordable fashion site and boutique Need Supply Co
· Soraya Dorabi and Maxine Bédat—founders of sustainable e-commerce site Zady
Want to nominate yourself or a friend? Here's the official form. But do it fast—nominations officially close at 6pm tomorrow, May 20.
LATE-BREAKING ADDITION: Designer Rachel Comey, known for her eponymous RTW and especially beloved for her footwear, just joined the committee.
LATE-BREAKING ADDITION NUMBER TWO: Rony Vardi, owner of Brooklyn jewelry store Catbird and hidden force behind many a star jeweler's career, has also joined the committee.