The FIT Design Entrepreneurs Collaborative helps emerging fashion designers grow their businesses, offering needed space and resources in a convenient Manhattan location. It is an outgrowth of Design Entrepreneurs NYC (DENYC), begun in 2012 as a joint program of the New York City Economic Development Corporation and the Fashion Institute of Technology to support emerging local designers. Through this program, 155 companies have developed strategic plans in consultation with industry mentors to help their businesses succeed in the highly competitive fashion industry. The program, no longer affiliated with the EDC, is now known as FIT Design Entrepreneurs. The Collaborative is open to graduates of the Design Entrepreneurs program or of FIT.
Young fashion companies need support in order to grow. Even innovatively designed merchandise and abundant press attention do not automatically translate into sales. Commercial space is extremely costly in Manhattan, and many emerging designers work out of their own apartments. The Collaborative provides affordable, conveniently located showroom and office space in the Garment District for meetings with buyers and retailers, along with a social/collaborative environment that enables participants to connect with other designers and share ideas.
While not a traditional showroom, the space is configured so that designers can showcase their merchandise and meet with buyers. The Garment Center location is convenient for buyers from nearby retailers, and the industry leaders who serve as Design Entrepreneurs mentors can bring domestic and international buyers who visit New York City several times a year for Market Week or Fashion Week. This offers Collaborative participants the opportunity to leverage the Design Entrepreneurs/FIT reputation in presenting their apparel and accessories collections to appropriate buyers.
520 Eighth Avenue at 36th Street, Suite 1202
FIT alumni or those who attended the FIT Design Entrepreneurs program may inquire about showroom spaces. The Collaborative offers:
- Nine private, locked workspaces with 24/7 access
- Rent: $900 per month; one larger space is available for $1,200
- Spaces can be for individuals or can be shared
- One-year lease with option for second year
- Large flex space for presentations, sample sales, photo shoots, Market Week “mini-marts,” and other events