Tokyo’s design school Vantan is introducing Asia Fashion Collection New York, an incubator project in partnership with Japanese department store retailer Parco.

This story first appeared in the February 8, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Shunji Nagasawa, chief executive officer of Vantan, said, “We are pleased to offer our top design students the exciting opportunity to travel to the United States and show their collections on an international stage.”

The Asia Fashion event shows tonight at 8 p.m. in The Salon at Lincoln Center, and marks the first runway show for six emerging designers at New York Fashion Week.

The designers — three rising stars and three of Vantan’s design students — are: Yumiko Sei, Akiko Kishimoto and Suzuki Maaku from Vantan; Won Ji Yuen from South Korea; Tzu-Yun Wu from Taiwan and Mim Mak from Hong Kong.

Gaku Mizoguchi, executive officer for New Business Planning Group at Parco, said, “The initiative is particularly exciting to our company because it creates a global showcase as well [as] promotes commerce, which will ultimately help the Asian market flourish.”

Asia Fashion Collection was founded as an incubator project to evolve the fashion industry across Asia. Supported by Vantan and Parco, the initiative has the cooperation of Asian industry organizations such as the Korean Fashion Association, Taiwan Textile Federation and Hong Kong Trade Development. The program enables selected designers to participate in New York and Tokyo fashion weeks, as well as exhibitions and promotional events throughout Asia.

In recent years, there’s been a greater presence of international designers showing at New York fashion week.

The Argentinian foreign ministry in the fall supports a selection of six or seven Buenos Aires-based designers to show capsule collections in an effort promote the country’s fashion industry. Fabian Zitta, Viviana Uchitel and Mariana Dappiano were the most recent designer participants.

In the fall, Fashion Shenzhen, which has been a part of London Fashion Week for five years, for the first time introduced 15 designers to the New York showcase, and helped two — Ellassay and Deng Hao — show selected designs at Lincoln Center. The program is sponsored by the Chinese city of Shenzhen, which counts apparel manufacturing as a major industry for jobs in the area. The program will return to New York this fall.

On Tuesday, a group of four South Korean designers will show their designs at Concept Korea, the ninth edition of a government-sponsored runway show at Lincoln Center. Concept Korea, a combined effort by the Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the Korea Creative Contents Agency, is an effort to raise awareness of Korean fashion and local support for home-grown designers as they expand their business abroad.

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