A New Initiative Devoted to Fashion Design in Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA (DECEMBER 13, 2011) – Mayor Michael A. Nutter today announced details of The Philadelphia Fashion Incubator at Macy’s Center City, a new fashion design initiative devoted to supporting and promoting emerging fashion designers and encouraging local designers to keep their businesses in Philadelphia.

A collaboration between Center City District, The City of Philadelphia, Macy’s Center City, and several educational institutions devoted to fashion design in Philadelphia, The Philadelphia Fashion Incubator at Macy’s Center City (PFI) is a 501 (c) (3) organization (pending) that will provide four aspiring designers the workspace and essential business resources needed to run successful and sustainable fashion companies.

Modeled after a similar and successful program in Chicago between Macy’s State Street and The City of Chicago, the year-long residency program, which launches in Philadelphia in March 2012, will provide the selected Designer-In-Residence (DIR) with office space, a production room and shared showroom space/conference room. DIR will receive mentoring from industry and business professionals along with a significant schedule of monthly workshops focused on the business of fashion. Workshops will include topics on creating a business plan, marketing strategy, and identifying legal needs and funding. The tailored curriculum will be offered by community leaders, industry experts and fashion insiders.

“Philadelphia is a fertile breeding ground for the creative class. We are fortunate to have some of the best educational institutions in the country, and The Philadelphia Fashion Incubator will cultivate and nurture these talented fashion designers that have emerged from these institutions,” said Mayor Nutter. “The Philadelphia Fashion Incubator is the first of its kind in Philadelphia and the initiative represents the City’s commitment to a thriving, innovative creative economy.”

The 800-square foot Project Runway-inspired production room, showroom and office space will be located at Macy’s Center City in the historic Wanamaker Building. The space will allow DIR to produce samples, gain valuable retail insight, and showcase their collections to merchants from local and national retailers. In addition to workspace and monthly business workshops, DIR will also participate in various fashion events throughout the year including pop-up shops, trunk shows and a fashion show during The Philadelphia Collection.

“Philadelphia Fashion Incubator at Macy’s Center City is going to go a long way in finding the next generation of local fashion design talent” says Martine Reardon, executive vice president of Marketing & Advertising of Macy’s. “The fashion and retail industries thrive when new creative talent emerges and energizes the marketplace. By introducing aspiring designers to the inner workings of the fashion and retail business, and providing them a workshop filled with the resources that will get their businesses off the ground, Philadelphia will become a key city in the American fashion industry. We are pleased to partner with The City of Philadelphia and Center City District on the creation of this unique entrepreneurial program here in Philadelphia”.

DIR will be selected by PFI’s Selection Committee which consists of six professionals from Philadelphia’s fashion and business sectors. Each of the participating academic partners (Drexel University, Moore College of Art & Design, and Philadelphia University) will recommend three to five of their alumni as candidates for the DIR seats. From that slate of candidates, the selection committee will choose one alumni from each school as a DIR. The fourth DIR will be selected through an open call opportunity. Effective today, aspiring designers from the eight-county tri-state area will have the opportunity to apply for the spot. The full application with program overview and eligibility guidelines is now available online (link below).

“We are extremely excited to launch this initiative in Philadelphia,” said Michelle Shannon, Vice President of Marketing and Communications for Center City District. “To have the ability to support local fashion design talent and nurture new wholesale and retail business in our city sends a strong message that Philadelphia is indeed an emerging fashion design center.”

Sponsors of The Philadelphia Fashion Incubator at Macy’s Center City include: Center City District, The City of Philadelphia, Macy’s Center City, Philadelphia University, Drexel University, Moore College of Art & Design, TD Bank, The Jones Group, SA VA, Fashion Group International Philadelphia and LevLane. To learn more about sponsorship opportunities, program details, and application process for The Philadelphia Fashion Incubator at Macy’s Center City, please visit or contact Elissa Bloom, Executive Director, at Join the conversation on twitter @philaincubator or

Cashman & Associates: Laura Krebs
Philadelphia Fashion Incubator
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