Nurturing the next generation of fashion stars in Philadelphia

March 1, 2013 3:38:41 PM PST
A program that is helping Philadelphia produce the next generation of great fashion designers kicked off its second year in Center City Friday.

To make it happen, Macy's has joined forces with the city and several area schools devoted to fashion design.

The program is called The Philadelphia Fashion Incubator.

It aims to develop and support local fashion talent and keep the spotlight on Philadelphia's fashion design community.

On Friday, the first class of Designers in Residence celebrated the conclusion of their year-long program and helped welcome the new 2013 class of designers.

This coming year, six young women will have access to more than 800 square feet of donated space here Macy's to work and learn.

"The teaching that happens here and the sharing is some of the best experience they get," said Michelle Shannon.

Designers from Moore College of Art and Design, Drexel, and Philadelphia University presented the candidates, all of whom have emerging businesses.

For the next year, the designers chosen will learn the business side of fashion, "including PR, sales, financial planning, marketing. So we're going to be doing that all next week," said Fashion Incubator Executive Director Elissa Bloom.

"Hopefully we'll get things going for our company and have people know about it," said Melissa Choi of Senpai and Kohai.

"I think it's going to help small businesses grow," said Pia Panaligan of Senpai and Kohai.

The program's directors say Philadelphia has flown under the fashion radar for too long. They hope this program will give these young entrepreneurs a business-savvy foundation in the city's fashion industry:

"I want to show the world that fashion can be fun. And you know, let's sparkle the city with fun clothes!" said Leah Delfiner of Pretty Pretty Rebel.

So the program teaches young entrepreneurs how to sustain and expand their businesses.

And the more successful they are, the more likely they'll be to stay in Philadelphia instead of going to New York, which has long over-shadowed the city in the fashion arena.