Last night FIT welcomed the designers participating in the seventh edition of its Design Entrepreneurs Program in a party that officially kicked off the project. In DKNY’s midtown showroom the 25 selected creatives mingled with each other, as well as past participants and mentors.
Over the next six months the designers will go through an intensive “mini-MBA” bootcamp, learning how to develop strategies and create comprehensive and effective business plans. Along the way they will gain access to specialized workshops, networking salons, industry mentorships, and more. By the end of the program the most outstanding business plan will receive a $100,000 grant from founding sponsor G-III Apparel Group (a second place prize of $50,000 will also be granted).
While the program is no doubt a lot of work, last night was more about everyone enjoying themselves. Megan Balch and Jaime Barker, the duo behind Flagpole Swim (who were part of the 2016 class) co-emceed the evening, introducing remarks from G-III Apparel Group CEO Morris Goldfarb, FIT President Dr. Joyce Brown, and past winners Maggie Bacon of Thistle & Spire, and Ariana Boussard-Reifel.
“You’re here because you’re great designers, but what you need to leave here being is a great business person,” Boussard-Reifel advised the audience. “You will leave here being amazed with yourselves, all of you, with what you can become when you’re given the opportunity. And that’s all it is. This is an opportunity.”
Below are all the designers participating this year:
Marisol Arteaga, Arteaga
Anita Arzé, ARZÉ Atelier
Kathy Bach, KAAREM
Nora Gardner, Nora Gardner New York
Anitra Michelle, Anitra Michelle//HOMME
Audra Noyes, AUDRA
Stefan Ayon, STAY MADE
Lisa Reali, Reali New York
Chorthip Langese, Chorthip
Fiona Morrison, Wolf Circus
Soull Ogun, L’ENCHANTEUR
Stephanie Schwallie, Castlecliff
Sage Loman, SAGE AUBREY
Hope Macdonald, Hope by Hope Macdonald
Jaquelyn Wang, Apede Mod
Eree Kim, HOPP
Soni Borcar, Mei L’ange
Corey Woods, YEROC by Corey Woods