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New York City Economic Development Corporation and Council of Fashion Designers of America Welcome First 12 Designers to the CFDA Fashion Incubator

New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) President Seth W. Pinsky and Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) President Diane Von Furstenberg today commemorated the opening of the CFDA Fashion Incubator - located at 209 West 38th Street in New York City’s Garment District - with a walk-through of the space, where they were joined by the first 12 tenants. The Incubator was announced in November 2009 by Mayor Bloomberg as part of the City’s efforts to foster the development of entrepreneurs across all industry sectors, and to encourage small businesses to locate and grow in New York City. The City has five incubators, cutting across industry sectors, currently open or in development throughout the Five Boroughs, with at least two additional spaces expected to open by the end of 2010.

The inaugural participating designers are: Alice Ritter; Bibhu Mohapatra; Rachel Dooley of Gemma Redux; Grant Krajecki of Grey Ant; Waris Ahluwalia from House of Waris; Joel Diaz from Jolibe; Prabal Gurung; 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; and Tom Scott.

“This diverse group of designers is a reflection of the depth of fashion talent New York City is known for,” said NYCEDC President Seth W. Pinsky. “Supporting the development of start-up fashion design businesses, as with any start-up, requires providing access to affordable workspaces, networking opportunities, and financial support that will help them grow. It is because of designers like these, as well as the retailers, wholesalers, and numerous fashion-related businesses that choose to locate here, that New York City is, and will remain, the world’s fashion capital.”

“The { CFDA FASHION INCUBATOR } is a natural extension of what our organization already does to support emerging design talent,” said CFDA Associate Executive Director, Lisa Smilor. “We are thrilled to welcome this illustrious group of designers into the program, and are most appreciative for the support and involvement of our esteemed industry colleagues.”

“We are proud to be a part of this project and see it as a long-term endeavor. The { CFDA FASHION INCUBATOR } is a cutting-edge way for city government, fashion and real-estate communities to work together. In collaboration, we are addressing both the current needs of designers, as well as planting seeds for the future of the industry,” stated Eric Gural, Executive Managing Director, Newmark Knight Frank.

The CFDA Fashion Incubator accommodates up to 12 designer brands, each of which will retain a separate design studio, ranging from 250 to 700 square feet in size. Newmark Holdings is providing each brand with a two-year lease at below-market rates ranging from $1,000 to $2,000 per month, depending on the size of the studio space. NYCEDC is providing the CFDA with a $200,000 grant to establish and further develop the CFDA Fashion Incubator.

To be eligible for consideration, designers had to be in business for a minimum of one and one-half years and have paid and/or volunteer professional staff. Designers were also asked to demonstrate their potential through substantive editorial coverage and orders from top retailers. Tenants were chosen by members of a Selection Committee and an Advisory Board comprised of fashion industry experts, including retailers, editors, and business leaders. The Selection Committee assisted in the initial development of the initiative; evaluated and assisted in selecting CFDA Fashion Incubator designers; and will participate in bi-annual reviews of tenants. The Advisory Board evaluated applications, based on designers’ business model and plans; assisted in selecting CFDA Fashion Incubator tenants; and will participate in quarterly reviews of tenants. Advisory Board members will take on strategic planning, sponsorship, funding, and other responsibilities, as needed.

Selection Committee members include: Designer John Bartlett; Kirna Zabete’s Beth Buccini and Sarah Easley; Bloomingdale’s Operating Vice President and Men's Fashion Director Kevin Harter; CFDA Executive Director Steven Kolb; Elle Style Director Kate Lanphear; Harper’s Bazaar Executive Editor Kristina O’Neill; Neiman Marcus Senior Fashion Accessories Editor Roopal Patel; Executive Editor Nicole Phelps; CFDA Associate Executive Director Lisa Smilor; and designer Peter Som.

Members of the Advisory Board include: Marc Beckman, Designers Management Agency; Joseph Ferrara, Ferrara Manufacturing; Eric Gural, Newmark Knight Frank; Douglas Hand, Hand, Baldachin & Amburgey, LLP; Karen Harvey, Karen Harvey Consulting Group; Steven Kolb, CFDA; Trey Laird, Laird+Partners; Seo Hyun Lee, Chiel Industries; Barbara Randall, Fashion Center Business Improvement District; Lisa Smilor, CFDA; Steven Strauss, Center for Economic Transformation at NYCEDC; Gary Wassner, Hilldun Corporation; and Denise Williamson, Denise Williamson Showroom.

The Incubator is designed to support the next generation of fashion designers in New York City. It is one of a series of City-sponsored business incubators launched since February 2009, when Mayor Bloomberg announced a suite of initiatives to support entrepreneurship and encourage start-up companies to locate and grow in New York City. The CFDA Fashion Incubator will provide a creative professional environment to foster promising talent in the field of fashion; help emerging fashion designers grow and sustain their businesses in New York City by offering low-cost design studio space; and provide business mentoring, educational seminars, and networking opportunities to selected designers so that they may reach their full potential and become an integral part of the New York fashion community.

New York City Economic Development Corporation is the City’s primary vehicle for promoting economic growth in each of the five boroughs. NYCEDC’s mission is to stimulate growth through expansion and redevelopment programs that encourage investment, generate prosperity and strengthen the City’s competitive position. NYCEDC serves as an advocate to the business community by building relationships with companies that allow them to take advantage of New York City’s many opportunities. Find us on Facebook to learn more about NYCEDC projects and initiatives.

About the CFDA
The Council of Fashion Designers of America, Inc, (CFDA) is a not-for-profit trade association that leads industry-wide initiatives and whose membership consists of more than 350 of America’s foremost womenswear, menswear, jewelry, and accessory designers. In addition to hosting the annual CFDA Fashion Awards, which recognize the top creative talent in the industry, the organization offers programs which support professional development and scholarships, including the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund, the Geoffrey Beene Design Scholar Award, the Liz Claiborne Scholarship Award, and the CFDA/Teen Vogue Scholarship. Member support is provided through the Business Services Network, a high-profile group of companies offering designers strategic opportunities. The CFDA Foundation, Inc. is a separate, not-for-profit organized to mobilize the membership to raise funds for charitable causes. Through the Foundation, the CFDA created and manages Fashion Targets Breast Cancer; raises funds for HIV/AIDS organizations with 7th on Sale; addresses the issue of model health with The CFDA Health Initiative; and is a key participant in other programs such as the annual Fashion’s Night Out. For more information, please visit


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