Informa Markets Fashion Kicks Off Fashion for Change Incubator Program
On Aug. 27, Informa Markets Fashion launched the Informa Markets Fashion for Change (IMFC) Incubator Program, a new initiative in partnership with wholesale e-commerce platform NuORDER, created to elevate and support emerging design talent within the Black fashion community. This new and ongoing initiative marks the company’s first step toward reducing barriers to entry and furthering equal opportunity within the fashion industry.
“With the Black Lives Matter movement in early June and the resulting dialogue and introspection, we too, like many other businesses, realized we needed to do more and do better,” explained Nancy Walsh, president of Informa Markets Fashion. “Our aim is to better utilize our resources to amplify the creative work of emerging Black talent while also giving these start-up brands access to more tools and opportunities that are often inaccessible, especially during the critical early stages of business growth.”
As part of the new annual program, 10 up-and-coming fashion brands will receive a complimentary digital showroom page via the NuORDER platform in two seasons of Informa’s MAGIC DIGITAL 8-week-long virtual marketplace. This includes the fall/winter 2020 event, running through Nov. 1, and the 2021 spring marketplace (dates TBD). As with its live, bi-annual counterpart, MAGIC Marketplace, the digital trade show includes four sister events: COTERIE DIGITAL, PROJECT DIGITAL, MICAM Americas DIGITAL and CHILDREN’S CLUB DIGITAL.
Besides being featured alongside MAGIC’s 1,200 exhibiting brands, the chosen start-ups will also receive complimentary marketing promotion and editorial features; digital wholesale market tools; and one-on-one, customized mentorship guidance from a leading fashion executive – sourced from a pool of IMFC board and committee members – throughout the virtual events.
The new incubator program will provide promising Black fashion designers with greater opportunities and more tools to help elevate their brands, says Lizette Chin, president of PROJECT and IMFC advisory board member.
“These selected designers have incredible talent, show major potential and have a refreshing point-of-view,” Chin said. “We are supporting the individuals in this program based on their brand merit [and] business potential, and because they are a part of an underrepresented community that deserves better recognition in our industry.”
Selected in July and August by the IMFC committee, the 10 featured brands include:
- London Grant at MAGIC DIGITAL: a collection of natural provisions for home and body, handcrafted in Atlanta by founder Tiffany Staten
- RE ONA at MAGIC DIGITAL: a Canadian-designed, ethically manufactured Bangladesh women’s ready-to-wear apparel brand by founders Christina and Philiscia Abayomi
- SELFISH swimwear at COTERIE DIGITAL: a collection of high-quality, sustainable swimwear based in Canada, led by designer Naomie Caron
- HAMID HOLLOMAN at PROJECT DIGITAL: custom men’s apparel designed by Philadelphia-born designer Hamid Holloman
- Leimert Park Threads at PROJECT DIGITAL: a clothing brand inspired by the urban environment of South LA by designer Ashely Sky Walker
- ENZI at MICAM Americas DIGITAL: a collection of made-in-Ethiopia footwear by co-founder and designer Jawad Braye
- Kahume at MICAM Americas DIGITAL: a luxury line of footwear designed to match the skin tones of all women by founder and brand director Jamela Acheampong
- CONFIDENCE BY GaBBY Goodwin at CHILDREN’S CLUB DIGITAL: a collection of hair accessories from 11-year-old entrepreneur Gabrielle “GaBBY” Goodwin
- Pridd New York at CHILDREN’S CLUB DIGITAL: a made-in-NYC, sustainable children’s apparel brand by founder Sabrina Pridd
- LaQuan Smith at COTERIE DIGITAL: a collection of women’s apparel, headquartered and manufactured in Queens, N.Y. by designer LaQuan Smith
Ten more Black fashion brands will be chosen prior to the 2021 fall/winter edition of MAGIC DIGITAL.