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NYCEDC And FIT Announce Inaugural Class of Design Entrepreneurs NYC, A Mini-MBA Program For New York City-Based Fashion Designers

35 Businesses Will Receive Free, Intensive Training on Elements Required to Run a Fashion Label


New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) today announced the selection of the 35 New York City-based fashion companies that will make up the inaugural class of Design Entrepreneurs NYC, a free, intensive, “mini-MBA” program that will equip select New York City-based fashion designers with the skills needed to successfully run a fashion label. Classes will be taught at FIT by industry professionals and FIT faculty, with a focus on fashion business marketing, operations and financial management. The 35 participants were selected from a field of 165 applicants.
“The overwhelming interest in Design Entrepreneurs NYC is further proof of the demand for critical business training that exists within New York City’s design community,” said New York City Economic Development Corporation President Seth W. Pinsky. “Thanks to this innovative program, these 35 participating designers will be able to hone their business skills and develop new techniques, allowing them to become integral players in this growing sector.”
“We are very pleased to welcome this creative group of designers to the program,” said Dr. Joyce F. Brown, president of FIT. “There’s no question that it takes talent to be a designer. However, talent isn’t all it takes to find success in the marketplace. A firm understanding of business principles and practices is also a necessary component. This program will help these designers add business skills to their portfolio.”
The 35 selected businesses are: A.D.O; ACCESSOIR; Alice Alan; ANGG New York; ANNIE WU; BazzdeGrant; Between the Sheets; Cala Ossidiana; Cuffe Parade; G9C; H Williams; Hatting by La China Loca; Helen Sanchez; Hippototamus; Jes Wade; Kahri by KahriAnne Kerr; Kordal; KV NUIT; Leota New York; MARLON GOBEL; Mimi Plange; Olivier Green; Parke & Ronen; RECOLLECTION {by Sandra Murphy}; SENA; SHIRLEY EPHRAIM Fine Earth Jewelry; SIRAK; Soham Dave; STEE-LETAS; Study NY; Sunghee Bang; Suzanne Rae; Tirana Jewelry; Vespertine; and Zimba Collections.
The 35 participating companies span a wide range of fashion categories including accessories, children’s wear, jewelry, men’s apparel, and women’s apparel. The designers who founded the businesses trained at universities in countries all around the world, including Canada, Italy, Ireland, and Turkey, though the majority come from New York City schools, including FIT, Parsons, Columbia, and NYU. To participate, designers were required to have New York City-based companies that have been in business for at least one year; the majority of the selected participants have been in business for less than four years.
The program will kick off with an orientation on May 24, 2012, followed by three intensive weekends of instruction – Saturdays and Sundays, from June 2 – June 17. Between June and September, participants will formalize their business plans with the assistance of instructors, and will then have the opportunity to present their business plans to a panel of industry leaders.
Additionally, Design Entrepreneurs NYC participants will have free access to a number of FIT resources, including workshops, personal tours of The Museum at FIT, and lectures by iconic fashion figures.
Jeanette Nostra, president of G-III Apparel Group, will serve as FIT’s Executive in residence for the program.Drawing on her wide-ranging experience, Ms. Nostra will serve as a mentor to the program’s students and will assist in reviewing the curriculum, bringing in guest speakers, and hosting program events.
FIT was selected to manage and implement Design Entrepreneurs NYC through a competitive RFP issued in May 2011. NYCEDC is investing $60,000 in the program.
Design Entrepreneurs NYC is one of six initiatives that resulted from Mayor Bloomberg’s Fashion.NYC.2020 plan, which is designed to sustain and grow the fashion industry in New York. The fashion industry employs 173,000 people in New York City, accounting for 5.7 percent of the City’s workforce, and generating nearly $2 billion in tax revenue annually. In addition, the City is home to one of the world’s largest wholesale fashion markets, which attracts more than 500,000 visitors a year to its trade shows, showrooms and retail stores. The Fashion.NYC.2020 initiatives address the industry’s challenges in two ways: by further positioning the City as a hub of innovation for emerging designers as well as specialty and multi-channel retail, and by attracting the next generation of design, management and merchant talent. The industry chairs for Fashion.NYC.2020 are Richard Darling, CEO of LF USA; Diane von Furstenberg, Chairman and Founder, Diane von Furstenberg Studio L.P., and President, Council of Fashion Designers of America; Terry Lundgren, Chairman, President and CEO of Macy’s, Inc.; Andrew Rosen, CEO of Theory; and Kevin Ryan, CEO of Gilt Groupe.
For more information about Design Entrepreneurs NYC, visit


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. Among FIT’s alumni are Reem Acra, Amsale Aberra, Brian Atwood, Jhane Barnes, John Bartlett, Dennis Basso, Stephen Burrows, Francisco Costa, Andrew Fezza, Norma Kamali, Calvin Klein, Michael Kors, Nanette Lepore, Miranda Morrison, Rebecca Moses, Ralph Rucci, Austin Scarlett, Kari Sigerson, Michelle Smith, and Daniel Vosovic. Visit



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