CFDA Announces Next Wave of the Fashion Incubator

Today the Council of Fashion Designers of America announced the group of designers selected to participate in the CFDA’s 2014 – 2016 {FASHION INCUBATOR} program. The designers include:

A PEACE TREATY Dana Arbib, Farah Malik & Jesse Meighan


ISA TAPIA – Isa Tapia

KAELEN – Kaelen Haworth

KARA – Sarah Law

KATIE ERMILIO – Katie Ermilio

LUCIO CASTRO – Lucio Castro

NOMIA – Yara Flinn

NONOO – Misha Nonoo

ORLEY – Matthew & Alex Orley, Samantha Florence

Located at 209 West 38th Street in New York City’s Garment District, the {FASHION INCUBATOR} is a business development program for emerging American designers. The {FASHION INCUBATOR} provides a creative professional environment to foster promising fashion talent, and help selected designers grow and sustain their businesses. By offering low-cost design studio space, business mentoring, educational seminars, and networking opportunities, the program provides opportunities for participants to reach their full potential and become an integral part of the New York Fashion community.

The CFDA {FASHION INCUBATOR} accommodates ten (10) designer brands; each retains a separate design studio, ranging from 550 to 1,000 square feet in size. Newmark Holdings provides each brand with a two-year below-market-rate lease. In addition, the floor boasts a large, communal work-studio, a conference room and a full kitchen that designers share.

To be eligible for consideration, designers are required to be in business for a minimum of two (2) years and demonstrate their potential through substantive editorial coverage and orders from top retailers. The designers were chosen by members of a Selection Committee comprised of fashion industry experts, including retailers, editors, and business leaders. Selection Committee members include:

Steven Alan – Creative Director, STEVEN ALAN

Gloria Baume – Fashion Director, TEEN VOGUE

Trish Donnelly – President, STEVEN ALAN

Joseph Ferrara – President, FERRARA MANUFACTURING

Doug Hand – Founding Partner, HAND BALDACHIN & AMBERGY

Noria Morales – Director of Design Partnerships, TARGET

Tomoko Ogura – Senior Fashion Director, BARNEYS NEW YORK


Nicole Phelps – Executive Editor, STYLE.COM

Shan Reddy – Founder, REDLINE CONSULTING

Lisa Smilor – Executive Director, CFDA

Nick Sullivan – Fashion Director, ESQUIRE

Prior to moving into their {FASHION INCUBATOR} studio in May 2014, the designers will have completed a nine-month “MBA program” which CFDA developed in partnership with New York University’s Stern School of Business.  Then, over the course of two (2) years, the CFDA will work closely with the designers on all aspects of business development – – including costing and production, branding and marketing, finance and legal, eCommerce development and retail strategy. The program includes a highly customized Business Mentorship program, with over fifty of the industry’s leaders participating as Mentors. In addition, the designers participate in group workshops and seminars, as well as networking and travel opportunities – all with the objective of helping them grow their businesses.

“It is very promising for the fashion industry that there is such a deep and diverse pool of passionate, talented and hard-working young designers.  We are most appreciative for our ongoing partnerships with Target, W Hotels and Newmark Holdings, and to have the active participation of so many of the industry’s leading experts –  ALL who make it possible for CFDA to provide this unprecedented level of support for the development and growth of these brands”, said Lisa Smilor, Executive Director, CFDA.

The CFDA is very happy to announce Target’s renewed support as Underwriter of the {FASHION INCUBATOR} program for 2014-2016. The association between Target and {FASHION INCUBATOR} is the latest in an ongoing series of partnerships with CFDA dating back to 1998. Over the years, Target has provided significant financial resources for post-graduate and scholarship programs.  

“A commitment to the design community is at the core of Target’s DNA,” said Trish Adams, senior vice president of apparel and accessories at Target. “By supporting the CFDA, we’re fostering some of the industry’s most promising talent by helping them explore their craft and hone their business acumen – two critical components for every designer.”

The CFDA also announces the continued support of W Hotels Worldwide, a supporter of the CFDA {FASHION INCUBATOR} program since September 2012. Since the partnership inception, W Hotels has provided unprecedented support of the CFDA {FASHION INCUBATOR}’s emerging designers by taking them outside of New York City and introducing them to a highly affluent and fashion savvy global audience with a range of opportunities to help them grow their businesses. Offering an incredible global scale, W Hotels will once again immerse the new class into fashion showcases across the country, deepening their presence both in the US and beyond, ultimately expanding brand awareness and supporting business development of this rising class.

“Fashion has long been a passion of the W brand and we are thrilled to once again partner with the CFDA to support this next wave of rising talent in the 2014-2016 {FASHION INCUBATOR} class,” said Anthony Ingham, Vice President, North America Brand Management, W Hotels. “Showcasing emerging talent is at the core of our brand’s DNA and we look forward to introducing this new class of {FASHION INCUBATOR} designers to influential buyers, retailers, media, and our fashion loving guests around world.”

“We’re excited to be part of this innovative program for a third time. Its benefits are evident in the success of the first two programs,” said Eric Gural, a principal with Newmark Holdings. “We at Newmark Holdings believe that cultivating nascent talent and giving hard-working design entrepreneurs a boost now helps to ensure the dynamic future of the fashion industry, a critical part of the New York City economy.”

The {FASHION INCUBATOR} is one of a series of City-sponsored business incubators launched since Fall 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. New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) provided a $200,000 grant to help establish the CFDA’s {FASHION INCUBATOR}