In a surprise move the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund anointed its latest winner to a footwear designer, Paul Andrew, bucking the trend of giving the top honors to ready to wear designers.

Andrew is a British-born, US-based footwear and accessory designer who launched his namesake line of luxurious women’s shoes for Spring 2013. He waited over 15 years to launch while cultivating his craft within iconic fashion houses such as Donna Karan, Calvin Klein, Alexander McQueen and Narciso Rodriguez. As the winner he receives a cash prize of $300,000 in addition to business mentoring.

Tied as runners-up were Ryan Roche and Eva Zuckerman of the jewelry line Eva Fehren who will each receive $100,000.

The fellow nominees for this year’s award included Daniel Corrigan and Jake Sargent of Simon Miller, Edie Parker, Gigi Burris, Natalie Levy and Grant Krajecki of Grey Ant, Orley’s Matthew Orley, Alex Orley and Samantha Florence, Tanya Taylor, and Wes Gordon. And while the winners have been announced, one can watch the drama unfold starting November 5th at 10PM on the Ovation Networks series: The Fashion Fund.

Previous winners of the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund include Alexander Wang, Altuzarra, Proenza Schouler and Billy Reid. Last years winners went on to be one of this season’s hottest runway show invites, Public School.

The Impressionist tips its hat to all the nominees and winners who we are sure are onto bigger and healthier careers from having experienced the nomination process. Fashion can have difficult hills to climb and we applaud the CFDA & Vogue for helping young climbers along their journey.