For newly graduated designers, the fashion industry is harder to break into the State Dinner, but the Center City Macy’s collaborated with the Philadelphia Fashion Incubator, a non-profit organization designed to help foster creative talent in the city of brotherly love.
In December, the PFI panel began its search for the four greatest fledgling Philly designers to take part in the year long program. Philadelphia University, Moore College of Art and Design, and Drexel nominated their top design alumni for consideration. In addition to the top Philly design schools, the Incubator had a wild card spot open to almost anyone in the Philadelphia area.
On March 1st, at 10:45 a.m., the incubator officially opened with a ceremonial ribbon cutting. The space is essentially a blank canvass for the designers to do whatever they want. One designer joked that Macy’s is giving them a job, and Macy’s CEO Terry Lundgren said, “I’m going to guarantee you an opportunity.”
The Incubator program selected Moore graduate Melissa D’Agostino, Philadelphia University alumna Kaitlyn Doherty, former Drexel University student Autumn Kietponglert, and wild cards Latifat Obajinmi and Moriamo Johnson as the 2012 inaugural class. In addition to retail and design space for a year, the program will also instruct the designers on how to conduct themselves with buyers, clients and retailers. Basically, they’re being groomed to be the next Chanel, Christian Louboutin, or Prada.
While the designers just got their space, they hope to have their lines completed by the fall, and have a fashion show to display the latest and greatest Philly talent.
Mayor Michael Nutter hopes to use the incubator program to foster Philly’s fashion industry by grooming our fashion students and, ultimately, give them a retail space on Chestnut Street. Nutter said, “[With the Incubator,] We’re growing our own fashion industry.”