Press Releases

NYCEDC and FIT Announce Design Entrepreneurs NYC Class of 2014

35 Emerging Fashion Businesses Will Receive Free, Intensive Education on How to Run a Successful Label

New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) today announced the 2014 class of New York City-based fashion companies selected for Design Entrepreneurs NYC, a free, intensive “mini-MBA” program that teaches emerging fashion designers how to run a successful label. The program, which launched last week at a kickoff orientation and reception at one of  G-III Apparel Group’s (G-III) showrooms, will take place during the summer at FIT, led by FIT faculty and other industry professionals, and will focus on fashion business marketing, operations and financial management, allowing participating emerging designers to grow their companies in New York City, creating jobs and opportunities, and helping to cultivate homegrown talent within the City’s thriving fashion sector.  To participate, designers are required to operate New York City-based companies that have been in business for at least one year.  Funded for the second straight year in part by a generous gift from G-III, Design Entrepreneurs NYC will award the winning and second place business plans, judged by an expert panel at the end of the program, with $25,000 and $10,000 in funding, respectively.  The G-III gift will also be used to provide financial workshops, networking opportunities, and fashion business presentations for both past and current program participants. The 2014 class is comprised of 35 businesses selected from a field of 270 applications.

“New York City's fashion industry supports more than 180,000 jobs across all five boroughs, and programs like Design Entrepreneurs NYC help to foster growth in this important sector, ensuring that the industry continues to create jobs and that our City remains the global capital of fashion for generations to come,” said NYCEDC President Kyle Kimball.

“Now in its third year, Design Entrepreneurs NYC has truly begun to make a name for itself, through its own reputation as well as through the outstanding accomplishments of its alumni,” said Dr. Joyce F. Brown, president of FIT. “We are again grateful to G-III for enhancing this year’s program with a generous gift. DENYC is giving our City’s creative talent the tools that will allow them to succeed, and this, of course, helps ensure that New York City remains the fashion capital of the world.”

The 2014 Design Entrepreneurs a wide range of fashion categories including women’s wear, menswear, jewelry, accessories, decorative arts, intimate apparel, handbags, and eyewear. The designers studied at universities across the United States and internationally, including Sydney, Beijing, Moscow, and Florence.

Intensive instruction will take place on three weekends during the summer at FIT. Led by FIT faculty and other industry professionals, the curriculum will focus on fashion business marketing, operations, and financial management. Afterwards, and continuing into September, participants will formalize individual business plans with the assistance of mentors. Participants also will have free access to FIT resources, including workshops, personal tours of The Museum at FIT, and lectures by iconic fashion figures. In September, a select group will present their business plans to a panel of industry leaders and compete for the monetary prizes.

The selected designers and businesses are: 

Designer NameLabel/CompanyCategory
Vince Barile and Dana HurwitzBond Hardware Accessories, Jewelry
Mj Barton Electric PicksJewelry
Andrea BocchioAndrea Bocchio JewelryJewelry, Handbags
Blair BrownBlair Lauren BrownJewelry
Nicole ChasinNikki ChasinWomen’s Wear
Astrid Chastka and Kalen KaminskiUpstate BrooklynWomen’s Wear
Rembrandt DuranADEENWomen’s Wear, Menswear, Accessories
Loni EdwardsemPOWEREDAccessories
Yara Flinn NomiaWomen’s Wear
Caroline FussHarare Women’s Wear
Perry Gargano Perry Gargano Jewelry, Objets d’art
Kerin Rose Gold

A-morir Incorporated

Lauren GoldfarbLauren GoldWomen’s Wear
Ashley HamediPima DollWomen’s Wear
David HartDavid HartMenswear
Jackie HopsonBodybindsIntimate Apparel
Alexandra KoumbaAlexandra KoumbaJewelry
Lindsey LambillotteLambillotteWomen’s Wear
Nicole Lenzen Nicole LenzenWomen’s Wear
Solomon LiouParkeWomen’s Wear, Menswear
Sha Liu and Tiffany LiuLala and SasiWomen’s Wear, Accessories
Ayaan and Idyl MohallimMataanoWomen’s Wear
Geraldine Morley and Yana OstrovaMods & RockersHandbags
Carrie MorrisseyI Still Love You NYCJewelry, Accessories
Natalya NynToy SyndromeWomen’s Wear, Menswear, Accessories
Cristina OttavianoCristina OttavianoWomen’s Wear

Meghan Riley

Meghan Patrice Riley StudioJewelry
Samantha SleeperSamantha SleeperWomen’s Wear
Dan SnyderCorridor Menswear
Sheena Soodabacaxi Women’s Wear
Rebecca SzymczakBEX NYCIntimate Apparel, Accessories
Bita Vahhabaghai and Rouzita VahhabaghaiITA CollectionHandbags
Brittany Weiss W. BrittJewelry
Wing Yin YauWWAKE 


Ann YeeANN YEEWomen’s Wear

Jeanette Nostra, the former president and current director of G-III, will serve as FIT’s executive-in-residence for the program.  Drawing on her fashion and entrepreneurial experience, Nostra will serve as a mentor to the program’s participants and will assist in reviewing the curriculum, bringing in guest speakers, and hosting program events.

Now entering its third year, Design Entrepreneurs NYC has proven successful in creating jobs and opportunities around New York City.  Numerous alumni have grown their businesses and achieved success after participating in the program. Becca McCharen, the 2013 top-prize winner, earned a spot on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list and participated in MADE Fashion Week, showing her fall 2014 line. Her designs can be seen at and in Opening Ceremony.  Menswear designer Kai D. Fan opened his first menswear store in Williamsburg this past winter, where he is connecting with the local community and attracting international customers (  Carrie Frieman recently launched an e-commerce store,, featuring timeless, essential women’s shirts.  The brand’s direct-to-customer strategy led to the creation of a website that focuses on the customer and on fit.  This past March, Frieman was the United States Embassy’s Fashion Envoy to the Bangkok International Fashion Fair, organized by the Thai Ministry of Commerce, where she gave a lecture titled “Green Clothing: U.S. Fashion Trends.”  Designer Jes Wade ( expanded her custom offerings with a knit collection at a commercial luxury price point. She also opened an e-commerce shop that highlights her craftsmanship and commitment to the environment, and special online pop-up shops that donate a portion of each sale to nonprofits. Wade was recently featured in The New York Times and on Good Morning America talking about her life as a designer.  2013 second-prize winner Vasumathi Soundararjan showed at PROJECT in Las Vegas and is using funds from her winning business plan to focus on marketing to build her vibrant and colorful men’s underwear label (

FIT was selected for Design Entrepreneurs NYC by NYCEDC after a competitive RFP process to manage, implement, and develop the program as a targeted initiative that supports emerging talend in order to grow the City as a hub of fashion design.  For more information about Design Entrepreneurs NYC, visit

Fashion is a $98 billion industry that employs more than 180,000 people in New York City, accounting for nearly 6 percent of the city’s workforce, paying $10.9 billion in wages, and generating nearly $2 billion in tax revenue annually. New York City’s wholesale fashion market is one of the world’s largest, attracting more than 500,000 visitors per year to its trade shows, showrooms and fashion shows. Overall, the industry garners more than $18 billion in retail sales, $72 billion in wholesale sales, and $8 billion in manufacturing sales annually. The city’s semi-annual Fashion Weeks draw approximately 232,000 attendees to more than 500 shows, creating a total economic impact of $865 million. Design Entrepreneurs NYC is one of a suite of City initiatives to sustain and grow the fashion industry, which also includes the Fashion Manufacturing Initiative, seed funding for the CFDA incubator, and other professional mentorship opportunities in design and fashion management, as well as networking and educational programs.


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 or follow us on Twitter, or visit our blog to learn more about NYCEDC projects and initiatives.

About FIT

The Fashion Institute of Technology, a part of the State University of New York, has been a leader in career education in art, design, business, and technology for nearly 70 years. With a curriculum that provides a singular blend of hands-on, practical experience, classroom study, and a firm grounding in the liberal arts, FIT offers a wide range of outstanding programs that are affordable and relevant to today’s rapidly changing industries. Internationally renowned, FIT draws on its New York City location to provide a vibrant, creative community in which to learn. The college offers more than 45 majors and grants AAS, BFA, BS, MA, MFA, and MPS degrees, preparing students for professional success and leadership in the global marketplace. Notable alumni include Calvin Klein, Michael Kors, Nanette Lepore, Amsale Aberra, Reem Acra, Nina Garcia, Francisco Costa, Joe Zee, Brian Atwood, Ralph Rucci, Michelle Smith, Andrew Fezza, Dennis Basso, Norma Kamali, John Bartlett, Stephen Burrows, Daniel Vosovic, Victor Alfaro, Jhane Barnes, Miranda Morrison, Kari Sigerson, and Rebecca Moses. Visit


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Contact Info

Media Contacts: 

Cheri Fein (FIT),, 212 217-4719

Ian Fried (NYCEDC),, 212 312-3523