CFDA Fashion Incubator program participants
Today’s open house for the CFDA Fashion Incubator proved that fashion isn’t only a sorority of mean girls it has a kind, mentoring streak too. The whole thing felt like a warm welcome party during freshman orientation, except there wasn’t a single North Face fleece in sight.
The incubator program was announced in November of 2009 by Mayor Bloomberg as part of the Citys efforts to foster the development of entrepreneurs across all industry sectors. The one we care most about, fashion, chose 12 on-the-rise DVFs-in-training to get some pretty sweet showroom space for two years on the cheap. If you’re real estate obsesssed like us, then get a load of these friendly rents: $1k to $2k for a studio on west 38th street in Manhattan’s Garment District, depending on the size.
Rachel Dooley of the jewelry line Gemma Redux explained the acceptance process. “It was a two-step application process, the first one was about 20 pages where we talked about our dreams, where we want to be in five years, 10 years,” Dooley chatted. “It made it clear that [the CFDA] was looking for people who are wanting to take it to the next level. The next step was more to make sure that you’re financially viable.”
Up-and-comer Prabal Gurung, who made waves after Michelle Obama rocked his stunning red gown, was both business-minded and utterly appreciative when speaking about the honor. “The CFDA incubator is great for the reduced rent for a designer like me who’s self-financed,” the dapper designer told us. “I couldn’t even imagine having this kind of space after only a year [in business]. Plus all of my factories are right here in the Garment District.”
Gurung and Dooley aside, the inaugural participating designers include: Alice Ritter; Bibhu Mohapatra; Grant Krajecki of Grey Ant; Waris Ahluwalia from House of Waris; Joel Diaz from Jolibe; Dao-Yi Chow & Maxwell Osborne of Public School; Yuvi Alpert & Danna Kobo from Ruby Kobo; Sang A Im-Prop of Sang A; Justin Giunta from Subversive Jewelry; and Tom Scott.
New York by way of Paris designer Alice Ritter spoke fittingly of what makes this program so perfectly NYC-centric. “I’ve been living here for 11 years now, I pursued fashion design when I moved here,” she said. “New York has the do it yourself entrepreneurial spirit. It’s not the same in Paris, it’s very different.”
Ritter emphasized, “I really like the free spirit, the style of the city, it’s liberated me in many ways.”
Joel Diaz of JOLIBE shows his collection
Miss Sang A in her studio
All images: CFDA Fashion Inclubator Facebook