The first class of Design Entrepreneurs NYC (DENYC), the free, intensive, “mini-MBA” program that teaches emerging New York City-based fashion designers how to run a business, culminated with presentations of business plans by 15 of the 35 designers who participated in the program. The event took place at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) on September 20. DENYC was launched by the New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC) and FIT.
Three panels of business and banking executives heard and commented on five plans each. Three designers were then selected by the executives to receive additional mentoring to further refine their plans and continue to learn how to successfully run a design business.
The selected designers were women’s ready-to-wear designer Mimi Plange, Hippototamus children’s wear designer James Talbot, and Jes Wade, whose women’s collection is handcrafted in house exclusively for private clients. Each will receive two sessions in consumer brand support from Ari Bloom and five pro bono hours of legal support from Charles Klein.
Bloom works closely with creative entrepreneurs to develop innovative consumer concepts and to establish sustainable businesses around them. He is an advisor to the CFDA Fashion Incubator and has advised such brands as Chris Benz, Richard Chai, and Steven Alan.
Klein is a partner at Davidoff Hutcher & Citron LLP, specializing in corporate licensing and litigation matters for the fashion industry. He is an active member of the fashion law community, having founded the Fashion Roundtable and the Fashion Service Network.
Seth Pinsky, president of the EDC, gave opening remarks. Dr. Joyce F. Brown, president of FIT, and Jeanette Nostra, DENYC executive-in-residence and president of G-III Apparel Group, closed the event. Panel moderators were Steven Frumkin, dean, FIT’s Jay and Patty Baker School of Business and Technology; Nostra; and Yolanda Wardowski, MD Avalon Group and DENYC advisor/instructor.
The panel of industry executives that selected Mimi Plange included Jay Margolis, investor and former chief executive officer, Reebok; Ellen Rodriguez, president and chief executive officer, French Connection; Edwin Goodman, FIT trustee, and partner and co-founder, Milestone Venture Partners; and Robin Burns-McNeill, vice chair, FIT Board of Trustees, and chair and co-founder, Batallure Beauty.
James Talbot was named by Simon Dallimore, chief executive officer, Dallimore & Co.; Tim Baxter, executive vice president, Macy’s; Morris Goldfarb, chief executive officer, G-III Apparel Group; and Jonathan Duskin, chief executive officer, Macellum Capital Management, and director, Wet Seal.
Jes Wade was chosen by Lisa Schultz, executive vice president-Design, Sears Holdings Corporation; Bob Mahan, management consultant, Kaufman Franco; Gail Cook, president and chief executive officer, Gail Cook & Co.; and Renaud Dutreil, chairman, LVMH USA.