For an up-and-coming US-based designer winning the coveted Council of Fashion Designers of American/Vogue Fashion Fund prize of $400,000 USD plus mentorship with established designers, fashion industry icons and Vogue editors is a major leap towards becoming a truly established name which makes for a fierce fashion competition. The four-month long competition established back in 2003, culminates in a fashion show in LA where the top 10 will show their designs and the winner will then be announced in New York on November 6.

Along with the top gong of $400K, two runners up take home $150K USD each to help them grow their brands  - which is the essence of the prize: to support the next-gen of fashion talent. This year however, the judging panel has played a game of musical chairs with new names in the mix and one important name out. US Vogue Editor-in-Chief, Anna Wintour, who is renowned for spotting and supporting rising talent and has in the past played a very key role in the final decision has taken a step back from the panel due to her very busy schedule, according to BOF. New names on the panel include Vogue Runway's Nicole Phelps, Instagram's head of fashion partnerships Eva Chen, high-end womenswear designer Joseph Altuzarra and Roopal Patel, luxury retailer Saks Fifth Avenue's senior VP and fashion director. Returning judges include CFDA chairwoman Diane von Furstenberg and Vogue's Mark Holgate.

And here's the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund class of 2017:

Ahlem Manai-Platt: Ahlem (eyewear)
Becca McCharen-Tran: Chromat (swim and activewear)
Christopher Bevans: Dyne (menswear)
Victor Glemaud: Victor Glemaud (knitwear)
Jordan Askill: Jordan Askill (jewellery)
Matthew Harris: Mateo New York (jewellery)
Eli Azran: RtA (streetwear)
Sandy Liang: Sandy Liang (womenswear)
Telfar Clemens: Telfar LLC (ready-to-wear)
Patric DiCaprio, Bryn Taubensee, David Moses and Claire Sully: Vaquera (ready-to-wear)

Who’s in the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund class of 2017?