NEW INCUBATOR: The Black Design Collective has opened an incubator for members at The New Mart in downtown Los Angeles.
“We always wanted to have an incubator to do workshops, have community meetings and educate,” said BDC cofounder and Los Angeles designer Kevan Hall, of the Black Design Collective Creative Center now open within the 30,000-square-foot Fashion Tech Works space. “It’s like a WeWork,” he added of the facility, which has a sewing room, a cutting room, digital printing machines, a photo studio, a 25,000-square-foot event space and other resources for designers to develop collections.
“When I was coming up, it was my dining room table, so this is an incredible opportunity for young designers and seasoned designers to use this space particularly since we’ve just come through the pandemic, and a lot of folks have given up showrooms and workrooms,” Hall said. “This gives them the opportunity to come in and do whatever they dream, from concept through launching. And this building is full of [sales] reps, so you can imagine a designer coming here to develop a collection, striking up a relationship, and go into a showroom. There’s a facility that’s an exhibit space. We have a photo studio to create content, a podcast room. Everything is here.”
The BDC is leasing the space from the digital design center and showroom Fashion Tech Works, which has hosted fashion shows for Art Hearts Fashion Week and Cross Colours, among others.
“In my day, to get anything similar to this, you had to do an internship…” said BDC cofounder and Cross Colours cofounder TJ Walker.
The BDC was launched in 2018 by Hall, Walker, costume designer Ruth E. Carter and designer Angela Dean to address issues surrounding inequality in the fashion industry. The organization’s mission is to provide Black designers with resources, mentorship, an e-commerce platform and business opportunities. The organization is supported by AT&T and Lexus, among others, and counts the CFDA as a partner.
“One of the highs is during the pandemic we were able to help our membership with a series of meetings and workshops to coach them in keeping their businesses afloat,” Hall said, reflecting on the group’s accomplishments and noting that they helped designers access nearly $2 million in funding.
“We put our effort on the creative center last year in terms of our funding and the education and training part,” said Walker, explaining that he’s in the process of acquiring certification to create a BDC vocational school. “We want to do it so we can build the workforce of the industry, which is dwindling. I also want to get the community more involved in the center, and use it as a template for others to mirror. We just started another chapter of the BDC in Cincinnati.”
The Black Design Collective also has chapter interest in Detroit and San Francisco, he said. — BOOTH MOORE
HEALTHY STARS: There’s a new app in the U.S. that combines wellness and astrology.
Soulloop, which combines traditional wellness practices and astrological studies, including birth chart analysis, breathing exercises, yoga, bespoke meditations, mood tracking, a dream diary, as well as content around sleep, energy, sex and empowerment, has launched in the U.S.
The business was started by London-based Priscila Lima de Charbonnieres in order to provide each user with customized well-being practices.
The Soulloop team hosted a two-day event at the Upper East Side wellness destination Sage + Sound to celebrate the launch and educate guests on how to use the platform.
Lima de Charbonnieres has worked in astrology for 20 years and managed her own studio in Brazil where she met with clients one on one. Seven years ago, she moved to London and ran her practice virtually.
“I started to work online, but I only could do the readings, only the birth charts, or the transits or the charts of the year, and I was not able to do all the techniques together,” Lima de Charbonnieres said. “Since we are entering the age of Aquarius, the age of communication, the age of technology and the age of astrology, as well, I decided to go virtual with all the techniques.”
While the mental well-being app market has welcomed several new entrants over the past few years, analysts say the category’s future is bright. According to a report from McKinsey & Co., 64 percent of consumers use a wellness app daily.
“The whole process is combining these techniques and bringing the coaching process on the app for you to use your app as a diary…to work on your self knowledge day by day, but with very deep content,” Lima de Charbonnieres said. In an effort to provide additional education, the Soulloop team is working on creating videos for how and why to use each feature on the app.
Finding a way to put all of these practices on a single digital platform was key for Lima de Charbonnieres, as her goal was to “give access for the biggest number of people as possible.”
“The main goal, through this work, is to help people to find their mission in this life, to find a meaningful life, to find a happier life, but especially to do something better for the world. If we are happy people, we create a better world around us,” she said. — EMILY BURNS
LANVIN EXIT: Lanvin Group said its chief financial officer Shang Koo had informed the board of his decision to resign on Tuesday.
David Chan, Lanvin Group’s executive president, will serve as interim chief financial officer while the company looks for a replacement, according to a recent SEC filing.
Chan will retain his position as executive president of Lanvin Group, overseeing the group’s merger and acquisition strategy, brand operation and other responsibilities.
“I would also like to express my sincere gratitude to Shang for his contribution to Lanvin Group, particularly during the group’s listing process,” said Joann Cheng, chairman and chief executive officer of Lanvin Group. “We wish him every success in his future endeavors.”
Koo joined the Chinese-owned luxury group in October 2021 after serving as chief financial officer at 17live Inc., Japan’s largest livestreaming platform and Jiayuan.com, a Nasdaq-listed Chinese online dating platform.
Koo launched his career at the investment research platform Pacific Epoch. He later worked as an equity research analyst at Oppenheimer & Co. and Piper Jaffray.
Lanvin Group, the owner of Lanvin, Wolford, Sergio Rossi, St. John Knits and Caruso, made its debut on the New York Stock Exchange last December.
The company’s market debut was off to a tough start. On the first trading day, Lanvin Group’s stock price shot up to $22.81 before dropping to a $4.63 low, then closing at $7.37. Lanvin Group, under the ticker “LANV,” was trading at $6.21 at the time of publication.
Lanvin Group is due to report its unaudited 2022 full-year results on Feb. 17.
“For our first financial announcement as a newly listed company, we look forward to providing an early understanding of last year’s revenues, ahead of the release of our final audited 2022 financial results in April,” Cheng said. — DENNI HU