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NYCEDC and FIT Announce Design Entrepreneurs NYC Class of 2014

New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) has 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. The focus is 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 in part for the second year by a generous gift from G-III, Design Entrepreneurs NYC will award the designers with 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 Name

Label/Company

Category

Vince Barile and Dana Hurwitz

Bond Hardware

Accessories, Jewelry

Mj Barton

Electric Picks

Jewelry

Andrea Bocchio

Andrea Bocchio Jewelry

Jewelry, Handbags

Blair Brown     

Blair Lauren Brown

Jewelry

Nicole Chasin  

Nikki Chasin

Women’s Wear

Astrid Chastka and Kalen Kaminski

Upstate Brooklyn

Women’s Wear

Rembrandt Duran        

ADEEN

Women’s Wear, Menswear, Accessories

Loni Edwards

emPOWERED

Accessories

Caroline Fuss  

Harare

Women’s Wear

Perry Gargano

Perry Gargano

Jewelry, Objets d’art

Kerin Rose Gold         

A-morir Incorporated

Eyewear

Lauren Goldfarb

Lauren Gold

Women’s Wear

Ashley Hamedi

Pima Doll

Women’s Wear

David Hart

David Hart

Menswear

Jackie Hopson 

Bodybinds

Intimate Apparel

Alexandra Koumba

Alexandra Koumba

Jewelry

Lindsey Lambillotte      

Lambillotte

Women’s Wear

Nicole Lenzen

Nicole Lenzen

Women’s Wear

Solomon Liou  

Parke

Women’s Wear, Menswear

Sha Liu and Tiffany Liu

Lala and Sasi

Women’s Wear, Accessories

Ayaan and Idyl Mohallim

Mataano

Women’s Wear

Geraldine Morley and Yana Ostrova                       

Mods & Rockers

Handbags

Carrie Morrissey         

I Still Love You NYC

Jewelry, Accessories

Natalya Nyn    

Toy Syndrome

Women’s Wear, Menswear, Accessories

Cristina Ottaviano        

Cristina Ottaviano

Women’s Wear

Meghan Riley

Meghan Patrice Riley Studio

Jewelry

Samantha Sleeper

Samantha Sleeper

Women’s Wear

Dan Snyder     

Corridor

Menswear

Sheena Sood

abacaxi

Women’s Wear

Rebecca Szymczak      

BEX NYC

Intimate Apparel, Accessories

Bita Vahhabaghai and Rouzita Vahhabaghai

ITA Collection

Handbags

Bittany Weiss

W. Britt

Jewelry

Wing Yin Yau  

WWAKE

Jewelry

Ann Yee          

ANN YEE

Women’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 Chromatgarments.com 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 (kaidutility.com). Carrie Frieman recently launched an e-commerce store, carryparry.com, 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 (jeswade.com) 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 (kenwroy.com).

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 www.designentrepreneursnyc.com.

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.

About NYCEDC
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.

Media Contacts:
Cheri Fein (FIT), cheri_fein@fitnyc.edu, 212 217-4719
Ian Fried (NYCEDC), IFried@nycedc.com, 212 312-3523