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Philadelphia Fashion Incubator at Macy’s Center City devoted to supporting emerging designers in the
Philadelphia region announces 2015 Designers-in-Residence

PHILADELPHIA (February 27, 2015) – As Philadelphia continues to expand and flourish, it is quickly solidifying its position as a city in the midst of a renaissance. Bolstered by the innovative talent of the local creative community, Philadelphia’s robust design community continues to expand and highlight its talent with the launch of the fourth year of the Philadelphia Fashion Incubator at Macy’s Center City (PFIMCC). The fashion initiative, created to help foster and support emerging local fashion design talent, enters into its fourth residency on the heels of another highly successful year. After a rigorous selection process, the PFIMCC is pleased to formally announce the 2015 roster of Designers-in-Residence (DIRs).

After reviewing many qualified applications from designers spanning across the region, a selection committee consisting of professionals from Philadelphia’s fashion and business sectors selected six designers, representing five fashion lines to make up the 2015 class of DIRs, the most diverse and eclectic incubator group to date.

“The significance of the incubator program lies within the desire to not only nurture local talent, but also in retaining this pool of creative and driven individuals in the Philadelphia region” said Elissa Bloom, executive director of PFIMCC. “Now, more than ever, this city is home to a surge of start-up companies – especially in fashion – and we were amazed to see the number of very qualified designers that applied for the program this year.”

DIRs were selected based on their talent, vision for their collection and overall business concept. Three DIRs are alumni (or current students) of the participating academic partners (Drexel University, Moore College of Art & Design and Philadelphia University) and an additional DIR was selected through an open call opportunity and is also a graduate of Temple University.

“We are thrilled to officially welcome our most unique class of DIRs to their new ‘home’ in Macy’s Center City for the next year,” said Ed J Goldberg, senior vice president of government & consumer affairs for Macy’s. “Macy’s strongly believes in fostering local talent and nurturing the next generation of great American fashion designers. Macy’s is very proud to play a significant role in the City of Philadelphia’s effort to strengthen and expand their creative fashion economy.”

The PFIMCC 2014 Designers-In-Residence are:

Ashli Reese
– Academic Partner: Drexel University in Philadelphia
– Focus: The MARSANDVENUS line is inspired by shape, vision, fabric, texture and colors. Every design focuses on combining the chemical attraction between men and women

Amanda Stearns
– Academic Partner: Philadelphia University
– Brand: Mandy Marie
– Focus: Knitwear; is bolstered by her interest in tactile stimulation of various fabrics and yarns, creating a line of clothing that is both comfortable yet fashionable.

Papa Owusu & Victor Richardson
– Open Call Selection; Drexel University graduate/current student
– Brand: Mesdames et Messieurs (MetM)
– Focus: Footwear; the style and design in the shoes produced embrace cultural inferences and motifs that are hard to find, thereby signify notable heritage, and have depth and character.

Conrad Booker
– Open Call Selection; Temple University graduate
– Brand: conradbooker
– Focus: Accessories; contemporary women’s handbag and accessory line, whose core design principle is the elevation and transformation of unconventional materials into wearable works of art. The collection is sculpted using strong architectural forms and bold colors.

Ivy Aristy
– Academic Partner: Moore College of Art and Design
– Brand: Ivy Aristy
– Focus: Women’s RTW; concentrates on fusing feminine and edgy elements to create an overall modern, cool, and sophisticated look. An essential part of the brand will be to provide USA made quality garments.

Like the designers before them, the 2015 class of DIRs will have access to the Philadelphia Fashion Incubator’s 800+ square-foot space housed in Macy’s Center City. The facility features a production room with state of the art machinery, an office and conference area, and a showroom space. For the next year, they will receive business mentoring from some of the region’s leading business professionals, as well as workshops and retail critiques with the fashion industry’s most celebrated talent.

The PFIMCC is a collaboration between the City of Philadelphia, Center City District, Macy’s Center City, and several educational institutions devoted to fashion design in Philadelphia including Drexel University, Moore College of Art & Design and Philadelphia University. Additionally, the PFIMCC is part of a larger group of Fashion Incubators at Macy’s department stores with sister programs in San Francisco, Chicago and New York.

“Watching the success and growth of this program, now entering its fourth year, has been nothing short of inspiring,” said Desiree Peterkin-Bell, City Representative and Director of Communications and Strategic Partnerships. “The City of Philadelphia takes immense pride in our homegrown talent and supporting our retail, fashion and creative economy through initiatives like PFIMCC. As our City plans for the bright spotlight that accompanies major events like the World Meeting of Families, Forbes Under 30 Summit and the Democratic National Convention, we are poised to show the world exactly what Philadelphia and Philadelphians are capable of. ”

In the coming year, DIRs will also participate in various fashion events including pop-up shops, trunk shows and a fashion show during the city’s annual weeklong fashion celebration, The Philadelphia Collection (taking place in October this year). New for 2015, Philadelphia will also host the 5th International Fashion Incubator Conference in November. DIRs will also have the opportunity to join interactive workshops with industry leaders like Fern Mallis, Terry Lundgren, Tommy Hilfiger and Steven Alan, the DIRs will hear insider advice on everything from production and sourcing to marketing and financial planning. Additionally, the PFIMCC arranges for the designers to have their lines critiqued by nationally recognized retailers including Nicole Miller, Joan Shepp, INTERMIX and internationally-known business mogul Chris Burch.

The PFIMCC program acts as a major component in the growth of the fashion and retail community in the City of Philadelphia by incubating talent, furthering the DIRs existing knowledge about the business of fashion and creating a local support system around them to further their businesses.

“When we launched the Philadelphia Retail Marketing Alliance in 2009 followed by the PFIMCC in 2012, we had a vision of revitalizing the Philadelphia retail and fashion community and elevating the City’s presence as a modern destination for retailers, designers, residents and visitors alike,” said Michelle Shannon, VP of marketing and communications for Center City District. “We are more committed than ever to supporting the local retail economy and nurturing the PFIMCC program. These efforts wouldn’t be possible without our local and national partnerships with academic institutions, retailers and industry professionals that continue to bring our program and DIRs to new heights.”

Sponsors of The Philadelphia Fashion Incubator at Macy’s Center City include: The City of Philadelphia, Center City District, Macy’s Center City, Philadelphia University, Drexel University, Moore College of Art & Design, QVC, Jay H. Baker Retailing Center at Wharton, TD Bank, Reed Smith Law Firm, Ryan Dennis Digital, Next FABB, Fashion Group International Philadelphia, Jim Cottingham Photography and Cashman & Associates. To learn more about PFIMCC please visit Join the conversation on Twitter @philaincubator and on Facebook at


About Philadelphia Fashion Incubator at Macy’s Center City
A collaboration between The City of Philadelphia, Center City District, Macy’s Center City and several educational institutions devoted to fashion design in Philadelphia, The Philadelphia Fashion Incubator at Macy’s Center City (PFIMCC) is a 501 (c) (3) organization that provides select aspiring designers the workspace and essential business resources needed to run successful and sustainable fashion companies in Philadelphia. PFI encourages full support of local businesses and organizations across the city in order to achieve its mission of developing a business-savvy foundation for the growth of the Philadelphia fashion industry. Learn more by visiting Join the conversation on Twitter @philaincubator or