The Fashion Institute of Technology has disclosed the 24 fashion companies selected for the 2018 class of FIT Design Entrepreneurs, a free, intensive, “mini-MBA” program that teaches emerging designers how to run a successful label.
The 24 companies were selected from a pool of 246 applicants.
Brands that have been selected are Kozaburo, Christine Alcalay, Kent Woman, Baker & Black, Altered by Kimberly Barasch, Bode New York, Ariana Boussard-Reifel, Onyii & Co., Thistle & Spire, Chikimiki, Vaquera, From the Road, Kris Harring, Oblik Atelier, Heike NY, S/H Koh, Ark, They New York, Hathairat, Marte, Anissa Aida, Muehleder, Mimi Prober and Minan.Wong. They are in categories ranging from women’s wear and men’s wear to jewelry, lingerie, eveningwear and scarves.
Due to significant financial support from the fashion industry, $100,000 will be awarded to the company that presents the most outstanding business plan, and a $50,000 Israel Goldgrub Award will go to the second-place company. Both winners will use these funds to implement business plans developed as part of the program.
FIT Design Entrepreneurs, which launches Thursday, began in 2012 as Design Entrepreneurs NYC, a collaboration between the New York City Economic Development Corp. and FIT to support fashion design entrepreneurs in developing comprehensive and effective business plans and to provide the designers access to industry professionals. Through this process, 155 companies have developed strategic business plans.
“We are grateful to the city for launching this important program with us,” said Joyce F. Brown, president of FIT. “We will continue to provide business education for innovative designers who have the potential to contribute so much to the world of fashion, to the dynamism of New York’s creative core, and to its economy.”
Showroom space for FIT and FIT DE Alumni has been created at 520 Eighth Avenue in New York. The 5,400-square-foot FIT Design Entrepreneurs Collaborative offers private showrooms for nine tenants in addition to a larger networking/collaborative room to extend and leverage the FIT Design Entrepreneurs experience.
Through the leadership of founding sponsor G-III Apparel Group Ltd., companies that support FIT DE 2018 include the Doneger Group, YM Fashions, Scott Kay, Herman Kay, and Lafayette 148. Additionally, Lord & Taylor has pledged $25,000 to the program and will showcase the winner’s and runner up’s designs in one of the flagship store’s windows.
FIT DE starts with four consecutive intensive weekends of instruction in fashion business marketing, operations, and financial management taught by FIT faculty members and other industry professionals. Throughout the rest of the program, the designers work with industry mentors to complete business plans, build skills at optional workshops and attend informal salons with a variety of prominent fashion figures. All participants master the art of the pitch, and the winners will be selected and revealed at a concluding event on June 6.
Jeanette Nostra, former president of G-III, serves as the program’s executive-in-residence. She acts as a mentor to the program participants and assists in reviewing the curriculum, bringing in guest speakers and hosting program events.
”We’re looking to make sure talent on the brink of success can get the necessary consulting and financial support to get over the hurdles,” she said. “It’s about giving designers the boost they need to bring their businesses to the next level and about keeping jobs here.”