The CFDA Fashion Incubator is now up and running. The new program, run in conjunction with the New York City Economic Development Corp provides 12 selected designers with studio space for 2 years in New York’s garment district at 209 West 38th Street. Depending on the size of each studio, designers pay from $1,000 to $2,000 a month for rent (well under market rates).
I’ve always been a fan of the emerging/young designer set so I was curious to learn how the first group of designers were chosen. Chosen by members of a Selection Committee and Advisory Board, all designers have met the requirements of:
– Having been in business for a minimum of one and one-half years
– Having paid and/or volunteer professional staff
– Substantive editorial coverage
– Orders from top retailers
And in case you were wondering just who the committee and board members are.. boldface names include John Bartlett, Kirna Zabete’s Beth Buccini and Sarah Easley, Neiman Marcus’ Roopal Patel, Style.com’s Nicole Phelps and Peter Som. Not bad!
A few things stand out as problematic for me though. First, a cut in studio rent is great, and the location in the garment district is better than working out of a Brooklyn basement for example, but what about EXPOSURE? I mean sure anyone could walk into 209 W 38th Street and having the CFDA attached to your name helps, but what about some kind of aid to expose designers to the right retailers and press? (Scratch that! These designers should have already had “substantial” editorial coverage). There is also no mention of manufacturing capabilities, I would only hope that these brands are able to produce and ship goods.
Here’s a closer look of the inaugural group of designers. Some familiar, some new, and a nice chunk of jewelry.
Alice Ritter, Fall 10
Bibhu Mohapatra, Fall 10
Rachel Dooley of Gemma Redux, Fall 10
Grant Krajecki of Grey Ant
Waris Ahluwalia from House of Waris
Joel Diaz from Jolibe, Spring 10
Prabal Gurung, Fall 10
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