Informa Markets Fashion Kicks Off Fashion for Change Incubator Program

September 10, 2020

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.


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Partner Voices
Less than six months ago, Lisa Messina joined the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) as the first-ever chief sales officer after leading the sales team at Caesars Entertainment. A 12-year Las Vegas resident, Messina is a graduate of Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration and serves on MPI International’s board of directors. TSNN had a chance to catch up with this dynamic leader and talk to her about her vision for the new role, current shifts in the trade show industry, creating more diversity and equity within the organization, and advice to future female leaders. Lisa Messina, Chief Sales Officer, LVCVA With Las Vegas becoming The Greatest Arena on EarthTM, what are some of the things you’re most excited about in your role? Our team was at The Big Game’s handoff ceremony earlier this month, and I couldn’t help but think, “We’re going to crush it next year!”  These high-profile events and venues not only drive excitement, but also provide unmatched opportunities for event planners. Allegiant Stadium hosts events from 10 to 65,000 people and offers on-field experiences. Formula 1 Grand Prix will take place in Las Vegas in November, after the year-one F1 race, the four-story paddock building will be available for buyouts and will also offer daily ride-along experiences that will be available for groups. And, of course, the MSG Sphere officially announced that it will open in September, ahead of schedule, with a U2 residency. It’s going to be the most technologically advanced venue as far as lighting, sound, feel, and even scent, and it will be available for buyouts and next-level sponsorships inside and outside. There’s no ceiling to what you can do when you’re doing events in Las Vegas.  Allegiant Stadium As the trade show and convention business returns to the pre-pandemic levels, what shifts are you noticing and how do you think they will impact the industry going forward? Our trade show organizers are very focused on driving customer experience. Most of our organizers are reporting stronger exhibitor numbers and increased numbers of new exhibitors, with trade shows proving to be almost or above 2019 levels. Now our organizers are really doubling down on driving attendance and focusing on the data to provide that individualized, customized experience to help attendees meet their goals and get the best value. Some companies continue to be cautiously optimistic with their organizational spend when it comes to sending attendees, but I think it will continue to improve. As the U.S. Travel Association makes more progress on the U.S. visa situation, we also expect a growing influx of international attendees. What are some innovative ways the LVCVA helps trade show and convention organizers deliver the most value for their events? We focus on customer experience in the same way that trade show organizers are thinking about it. We got rave reviews with the West Hall Expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC), so over the next two years, we will be renovating the North and the Central halls, which will include not just the same look and feel, but also the digital experiences that can be leveraged for branding and sponsorship opportunities.  Vegas Loop, the underground transportation system designed by The Boring Company, is also a way we have enhanced the customer experience. Vegas Loop at the LVCC has transported more than 900,000 convention attendees across the campus since its 2021 launch. Last summer, Resorts World and The Boring Company opened the first resort stop at the Resorts World Las Vegas , with plans to expand throughout the resort corridor, including downtown Las Vegas, Allegiant Stadium and Harry Reid International Airport. The LVCVA also purchased the Las Vegas Monorail in 2020, the 3.9-mile-long elevated transportation system that connects eight resorts directly to the convention center campus. This is the only rail system in the world that integrates fares directly into show badges and registration. For trade show organizers, these transportation options mean saving time, money and effort when it comes to moving groups from the hotels to LVCC and around the city. Also, the more we can focus on building the infrastructure around the convention center, the more it supports the customer experience and ultimately supports our trade show organizers. Scheduled to debut in Q4, Fontainebleau Las Vegas will offer 3,700 hotel rooms and 550,000 square feet of meeting and convention space next to LVCC.  What are some of the plans for advancing DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) within your organization? We’re currently partnering with instead of working with a leading consulting firm, to lay the foundation and create a solid DEI plan and be the leader when it comes to DEI initiatives. The heart of that journey with the consulting firm is also talking to our customers about their strategic approaches to DEI and driving innovation in this space.  What are your favorite ways to recharge? My husband and I have an RV and we’re outdoorsy people. So, while we have over 150,000 world-class hotel rooms and renowned restaurants right outside our doorstep, one of my favorite things to do is get out to Red Rock Canyon, the Valley of Fire, and Lake Mead. Five of the top national parks are within a three-hour drive from Las Vegas, so there’s a lot you can do. We love balancing the energy of Las Vegas with nature, and we’re noticing that a lot of attendees add activities off the Strip when they come here.  Valley of Fire What advice would you give to women following leadership paths in destination marketing? I think it’s about being laser-focused on what you want to accomplish; building a team around you that lifts you and helps you achieve your goals; and being humble and realizing that you do it as a group. No one gets this done alone. Thankfully, there are a lot of women in leadership in this organization, in our customers’ organizations, and in this city that we can be really proud of. We’re a formidable force that is making things happen.   This interview has been edited and condensed. This article is exclusively sponsored by the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority. For more information, visit HERE.