International Designers Join Macy’s Latest Fashion Incubator

Macy’s fourth Fashion Incubator will take up residence in Macy’s Metro Center in Washington, D.C., with a year-long program beginning in June. As with the fashion incubators housed in Macy’s State Street (Chicago), Union Square (San Francisco) and Center City (Philadelphia), the Metro Center program will provide six locally-based designers-in-residence with a dedicated workspace and support through mentoring and courses focused on helping them build their design business.

But this incubator will have a decidedly international flair. The local designers will be joined by two cultural exchange students from Peru and one from Africa.

“Fashion is a global business,” said Christine Brooks-Cropper, founder of the D.C. Fashion Incubator (DCFI). “Many young designers want to create, but we help them learn the business side of things.

“The cultural exchange piece provides a unique opportunity for peer-to-peer mentoring,” she added. “The United States is very strong in design, but other countries are much stronger in manufacturing their products. The designers from Peru and Africa will be able to enhance their design aesthetic, skills and techniques, while the D.C.-based designers will gain contacts for manufacturing and production.”

The Frallain African Fashion Fund, a nonprofit organization that supports emerging African designers, already has chosen Papa Oppong Bediako, pictured above, to participate in the program. A sketch by this young designer from Ghana is pictured here. Brooks-Cropper will travel to Peru in late May to participate in a “Project Runway”-inspired process to select the two designers through PromPeru.

“We are thrilled to add the D.C. Fashion Incubator to our family,” said Ty Stone, manager of public affairs for Macy’s. “Not only will this help gifted designers get a foothold in the fashion world, but it also will help to promote economic development in the Washington, D.C., area.”

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