NEW YORK — Another venue for emerging designers has popped up on the New York Fashion Week schedule, courtesy of YouTube and Brand Assembly.
In November, YouTube Space, a 20,000-square-foot studio located in Chelsea Market, opened as an incubator for YouTube creators, as the company calls its users, to experiment with content and the latest audio, visual and editing equipment at no cost to them. YouTube has similar outposts in London, Los Angeles and Tokyo. Via a partnership with Brand Assembly, an agency that offers business services to small designers, YouTube Space is hosting “The New Class,” a series of presentations that will be held Feb. 12 for six Brand Assembly clients: Hunter Bell, Michelle Kim, Caroline Constas, Nikki Chasin, C. Keller and Maria Dora.
The designers are divvied up into two, two-hour time slots — three showing at 10:30 a.m. and three showing at 2:30 p.m. — and each has her own individual space and eight models to work with. The Stylisted is doing makeup and Frederic Fekkai is handling hair. With YouTube as the main sponsor, there is an online aspect to the partnership. The designers will be set up with a YouTube creator or YouTube star, including Evelina Barry of Evelina’s Fashion Cafe and Alexys Fleming of MadeYewLook, for pre-show interviews and first looks to post in an online video. “We hope this fashion showcase will bring the creative communities on YouTube and those in the fashion world even closer together,” said Vanessa Goldstein, who works in creator development at YouTube Space.
The partnership was proposed by Brand Assembly, founded in May 2013 by Alex Repola and Hillary France to provide operational support to independent designers. It also operates a trade show in Los Angeles and a concept shop for its designers within Lord & Taylor.
“Brand Assembly is set up to promote and elevate design talent and help them reach the final audience and that’s what YouTube Space does,” Repola said. “We saw a synergy to collaborate to help the guys we work with reach a wide audience by leveraging the YouTube resources.”
Most of the Brand Assembly designers would not otherwise be able to afford a fashion week presentation. “It’s an opportunity,” said Hunter Bell. “As a small designer, you have to plan everything yourself, and you don’t necessarily have the infrastructure and resources to come to life. There are so many opportunities that fall flat.”
As nice as it is to save money, Bell also appreciates the perk in pairing up with one of YouTube’s stars. Barry has 918,000 subscribers to her channel and Fleming has more than one million. “It’s a phenomenon,” Bell said. “YouTube caters to a younger demo and it’s a very important social media channel.”
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