I am one of the judges in this year's Up/NXT emerging designers competition being featured at FASHIONxt this year, but due to a scheduling conflict I was unable to attend the open audition last Sunday. So to make me feel better, executive producer Tito Chowdhury gave me the first scoop on who those participants are going to be—probably. These things are strict, you see, and while three of the six finalists get a pass to work on their collections before the October 10 showcase, the other three are scheduled to have a second meeting with the judges (oh, I'll be there) to check on progress and make the final call. So:

The three shoe-ins are Lift Label, Cathy Rae, and LeAna Leo, while the three "most likelys" are Taylor Trapnell, Amy Sim, and Jackie Lipshutz.

Info is hit or miss with this crowd, being that they are still "emerging," but sear those names in your memory—the fellow judges I've spoken to since the audition were in general very impressed with the quality of designs they had to choose from. And regardless of who wins this thing the best outcome is that these designers will stick around become productive members of the city's independent design scene.

A lookbook image from LeAna Leos Leo Revolt swimwear-oriented line.
  • Leo Revolt
  • A lookbook image from LeAna Leo's Leo Revolt swimwear-oriented line.