Signature Styles: Introducing the CFDA {Fashion Incubator}

CFDA Signature Styles: Introducing the CFDA {Fashion Incubator}

Meet the newest crop of designers from the CFDA’s {Fashion Incubator} program, an immersive two year experience supporting 10 up-and-coming fashion brands. W Hotels has been partnering with the CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers of America) to nurture emerging talent, giving each class of designers inspiring trips around the world and  harboring creativity for their upcoming collections.

To help the new class kick off their journey, we brought the group together at the awe-inspiring oasis of W Punta de Mita in Mexico, asking each designer to share the signature designs that make their brand unique.


Every designer has one special thing they’re known for – from an identifying print to a unique cut (like CFDA president Diane Von Furstenberg’s signature wrap dress), it’s a way to be recognized around the world. With the creative eye of The Coveteur, we got to know each brand through their signature design, introducing a new class that is all their own.


“When I first started designing, my father gave me advice to think of something basic that everybody needs, like a t-shirt. I thought there weren’t a lot of bodysuits out there.”

– Alexandra Alvarez


Alexandra Alvarez knew she had found her niche when she couldn’t find that perfect bodysuit to go with her trousers. As an undergraduate at Parsons, she obsessed over designing suits that made women look and feel good in their skin. With a convenient snap, ALIX designs stand out in function as well as form, with unexpected materials like this sparkling gold turtleneck jumpsuit perfect for a party on the beach.


“The inspiration for my line really comes from travel. This opportunity to immerse in different cultures is what my brand is all about.”

– Aurora James

Brother Vellies

Canadian-born Aurora James has been obsessed with authenticity ever since she rifled through her well-traveled mother’s closet. But it was a visit to Morocco after graduating college that inspired Brother Vellies, her brand that makes shoes and bags with authentic African design while creating local jobs in South African communities. These cultural details, and Aurora’s passion for a community based business model, make her and her designs genuinely one-of-a kind.


“The woman I design for wants to look and feel good without suffering in her clothing.”

 Charles Youssef

Charles Youssef

From Parsons to Central Saint Martins, Charles Youssef has a pedigree leading him to head design teams around the world: from Calvin Klein to Ralph Lauren to Gareth Pugh. Inspired by these global cityscapes, Charles adds architecture and geometry to his designs in a distinctive way, all with a flair for color. 


“I thought about what makes somebody want to buy something and what gives it value: how it’s made, where the materials come from, how it fits, and how the fabrics feel.”

– Daniel Dugoff


After spending his time studying the form and structures of menswear at labels like Patrik Ervell and Marc Jacobs, Daniel Dugoff broke off and started DDUGOFF. Making “unbasic-basics”, or clothes that simply fit and feel just right, Dugoff’s pieces are daily essentials crafted from the finest fabrics, and still perfect for every day.


“Our name embodies our brand. It’s the idea that if you put hard work into the things you love, it’ll grow into something great.”

– Tim and Dan Joo


Brothers Tim and Dan Joo form the perfect design duo. Dan brings the logic of the left brain: he studied engineering at Binghamton and spent two years at IBM;  while Tim pursues right-brain creative passions having studied at Parsons. The two have since synthesized their singular skill-sets with Haerfest, designing a series of modest, minimal bags that have since matured into line with an aesthetic of restraint.

Haus Alkire

“We really wanted to not have any creative limitations and push ourselves textile wise to be able to offer the client custom elements.”

– Jason and Julie Alkire

Haus Alkire

Jason and Julie Alkire are a husband-and-wife team who know fashion –from founding their own magazine to creating their own brand Haus Alkire. Haus Alkire’s designs are sophisticated and intricate, but still brightly unique, with a focus on textile sourcing and tailoring. The couple bring the best of both world to their designs, like this airy sunset-inspired dress that stays modern in its design. 

Ji Oh

“The cut, proportions, cleanness, and details are what’s important. It’s very minimal. Things that are easy to wear and you can go anywhere in.”  

– Ji Oh

Ji Oh

Ji Oh’s namesake brand is an exercise in saying more with less. Discovering a passion for architecture while studying at London’s Central Saint Martins, Ji Oh has an obsessive and observant eye for construction. Her love for structure inevitably seeps into her designs, making her brand recognizable by the signature draping.



“If you’re wearing one simple piece it can be very elegant but if you start layering it all together it starts creating a whole different look. It’s really accessible to a lot of people.” 

– Katie Deguzman and Michael Miller


Katie Deguzman and Michael Miller met when Katie was in desperate need of something to cover up a tattoo from her mother’s gaze and Michael had just the thing: a bracelet. Drawing from this initial rebellious spark, the duo’s K/LLER COLLECTION is a collaboration jewelry company built on polarity and duality. Fish-jaws, bat-tails, and relics like arrow-heads and stalactites are cast in oxidized metal for pieces that possess an inimitably primal aesthetic.


Thaddeus Oneil

“I make playwear using luxury fabrics from Japan and Italy. As a designer, entrepreneur and business owner, there’s just so much to learn.”

– Thaddeus O’Neil

Thaddeus O’Neil

Thaddeus O’Neil’s namesake brand is inspired by the New Yorker designer’s lifelong hobby: surfing. Focusing on exquisite materials and bold prints, his relaxed fits and aprés surf aesthetic perfectly embody the classic cool of beachside bohemians.



“I always start my collection with color. It’s about quality and a specific detailed millinery technique.”

– Molly Yestadt

Yestadt Millinery

Since starting her namesake millinery back in 2008, Molly Yestadt of Yestadt Millinery, has elevated the woman’s hat as an accessory while maintaining a focus on quality production. With a commitment to responsible sourcing and an eye for sleek design, Molly has collaborated with fashion forces like The Row and Public School New York to bring personal twists on a classic designs, every time.