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Elyse Walker is more than just the mastermind behind Pacific Palisades's version of Rodeo Drive—she's a true originator who has been in the LA retail game for decades. She's also a longtime supporter of emerging talent, which is why it's no surprise that the esteemed Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) has tapped her for an exciting new project that supports the development of up-and-coming luxury fashion designers.
Noted as the first formal mentorship program sponsored by online retail haven Forward by Elyse Walker, the CFDA and Forward "Rising Talent Retail Program" recently had its first workshop right here in LA. Designers Juan Carlos Obando, Erin Beatty and Max Osterweis of Suno, and Veronica Miele Beard and Veronica Swanson Beard of Veronica Beard were all hand-picked by both powerhouses to participate in the debut event, which was led by Forward fashion director Walker and co-owners Michael Mente and Mike Karanikolas, in addition to a selection of the CFDA's key players.
The two-day session featured tons of takeaways, including tips on how to navigate the ever-evolving world of retail. A capsule collection that celebrates the initiative will be revealed spring/summer 2016.
"The building of Forward by Elyse Walker has been exciting from the onset, but this experience has to be one of the best yet!" Walker exclusively tells us. "I am so proud of our Rising Talent program with the CFDA because it has been a collaboration in the truest sense of the word—one of heart and soul, retail, wholesale, and design. Everyone worked so hard to make the workshop meaningful and our launch event impactful including the designers, the buyers, the PR team and marketers. What's most exciting is that we're only just beginning and we're already exploring ways to grow the program in future."