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Nashville Fashion Alliance Dissolves After Five-Year Effort to Raise City’s Fashion Profile

The Nashville Fashion Alliance (NFA), which had formed in an attempt to elevate the city’s diverse industry and culture into a denim hub, has quietly dissolved after five years.

Robert Antoshak, the managing director of Olah Inc., who was also the last chairman of the NFA, confirmed that the organization’s board voted to dissolve NFA in March, but didn’t make a formal announcement.

“The NFA played a central role in helping to develop and support a growing and successful industry in Nashville,” Antoshak said.

In a separate interview with the local Venture Nashville Connections (VNC), Antoshak and others said NFA had difficulty getting a planned Fashion Accelerator Innovation Resource Center off the ground. Antoshak told VNC that while he wasn’t aware of another group that was prepared to step into the Nashville fashion industry leadership role, there could eventually be such a successor.

Regardless, Antoshak said he expects fashion entrepreneurs and specialists will continue to find success in Nashville, and he told VNC it’s possible a local university could incorporate elements of the fashion innovation center into its programming.

Van Tucker, who was CEO of the NFA, told Sourcing Journal, “I know our fashion industry will continue to thrive even though access to business resources and connections might be a little tougher to access. The sense of community in the industry here has always been what sets us apart from other cities and I’m confident that is even stronger because of the NFA’s work.”

This week, Nashville Denim Days organizer, Kingpins, said the event planned for October at Marathon Music Works has been cancelled. The email from Kingpins said, “We are so appreciative to have had a successful one-time event in Nashville in 2018, which brought together local and national denim vendors, vintage dealers, music and makers of all kinds. We are grateful for your enthusiasm for Nashville Denim Days and to the city for welcoming the event with open arms.”

The NFA was founded through a Kickstarter campaign that raised $100,000. A report NFA published in 2017 indicated Nashville had the largest per capita concentration of independent fashion companies outside of New York and Los Angeles. The fashion industry contributed $5.9 billion to the city directly, and indirectly and employed more than 16,200 people. Those numbers could reach $9.5 billion and 25,000 people by 2025 with the right investment, the report added.