Philadelphia Fashion Incubator Offers Young Designers’ Lines in New Location

The Philadelphia Fashion Incubator will celebrate the opening of its new base and new participants Thursday.

Previously housed at Macy’s Center City, the PFI prompted a move to Fabric Row, Queen Village earlier this year, due to the retail chain’s store closing. The new location is historically significant, according to executive director Elissa Bloom. As the name suggests, “Fabric Row” has long been linked to textiles and the garment-related businesses with pushcarts selling textiles and other products in the late 19th century.

The new outpost at 706 South Fourth Street will feature a street-front 1,000-square-foot retail space that showcases the work of current and previous PFI designers. One window displays the work of current designers and the other spotlights alumni ones with 15 brands represented in total. Community events are being planned to drum up interest in all, as well as to conduct market research. “We’re really focused on having brands that are focused on solving problems in the marketplace. Last year we had a men’s underwear brand called Easy Access Underwear that made underwear with a magnetic flap near the crotch area that was for men with mobility challenges or recovering from prostate cancer,” Bloom said.

Having worked with designers who ranged in age from 22 to 70, the PFI first opened its doors in 2012 and more than 60 people have cycled through. Even post-pandemic, the organization has maintained a strong success rate with 90 percent of its participants still in business, since 2019. During the 12-month program, they complete more than 50 workshops. To boost business, they share their buying, pricing and merchandising strategies, and present samples to try to rev up opportunities.

This year’s roster consists of Rosa Agliata, Renee Antoine, Assim De Gabriel, Monshell Reyes, and Elmira Vandenberg. To be eligible for the one-year program, candidates must have been in business from anywhere from six months to five years-plus. They need to have products, a logo, a site, sales and an understanding of who their customers are. Created to be more MBA-like than how-to, the PFI teaches entrepreneurship and the business of fashion. The aim is to build sales and teach financial planning, while also offering guidance related to pricing and other necessities. PFI participants also have access to industry leaders and mentorship opportunities.

The upsides of working in Philadelphia include being part of “a very supportive community” and the fact that the cost of living is more reasonable than major cities like New York and Los Angeles, Bloom said. In addition, Philadelphia residents can get to New York City in an hour and a half by train when needed, she added. PFI designers periodically travel there to attend trade shows, and to meet with fashion executives and designers. On May 13, a group will make the trip for the Fashion Group International’s Rising Star awards. A few of the program’s graduates are in the running including Print Fresh’s Amy Voloshin, who is a contender with her husband Leo for the Fashion Apparel award. Another nominee is Paper Shaper by Julie’s Julie Pierre, who is vying for the Accessories award.

PFI is also planning the inaugural Fashionconphilly, a fashion event in November that will feature panel discussions about such subjects as fashion law and technology in relation to fashion entrepreneurship.

Bloom will be joined at the Thursday grand opening event by PFI’s Board Chair Erik Seel, this year’s consortium and alumni from the program too. Dawn Summerville, deputy commerce director for the city’s department of commerce, will also be on hand.

Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top