Trade show organizer Informa and wholesale e-commerce platform NuOrder are doing their part to help foster a more inclusive fashion industry.
The companies partnered to launch Informa Markets Fashion for Change (IMFC) incubator program, an initiative that supports emerging designers within the Black fashion community and provides select brands with opportunities for representation and mentorship.
Chosen designers will receive two full seasons of complimentary access to Informa Markets Fashion digital events, as well as a digital showroom page on the NuOrder platform and access to its digital wholesale market tools. They will earn brand recognition through strategic marketing promotions and editorial features, and receive one-on-one mentorship from a member of IMFC’s Advisory Board for tailored guidance throughout the duration of the digital event.
Informa’s first digital fashion event, which combines Magic, Project, Coterie, Micam Americas and Children’s Club on one platform, takes place Sept.1-Nov.1.
Nancy Walsh, Informa Markets Fashion president, said the nationwide Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests served as inspiration for program.
“With the [BLM] movement in early June, and the resulting dialogue and introspection, we too, like many other businesses, realized we needed to do more and do better,” she said. “Our aim is to better utilize our resources to amplify the creative work of emerging Black talent, while also giving these start-up brands access to more tools and opportunities, that are often inaccessible, especially during the critical early stages of business growth.”
Ten brands will be chosen for the incubator program. IMFC committee members have already selected nine, including footwear brands Enzi and Kahume; children’s hair accessories and apparel brands Confidence By Gabby Goodwin and Pridd New York; women’s ready-to-wear apparel brand Re Ona; custom made men’s apparel brand Hamid Holloman; L.A.-inspired clothing brand Leimert Park Threads; swimwear company Selfish Swimwear; and home and body provisions brand London Grant.
“These selected designers have incredible talent, show major potential and have a refreshing point of view,” said Lizette Chin, president of Project and IMFC Advisory Board member. “We are supporting the individuals in this program based on their brand merit, business potential and because they are a part of an underrepresented community that deserves better recognition in our industry. We need to give fashion’s Black designers with promising talent greater opportunities and more tools to elevate their brands—which is exactly what this program will do.”
Informa joins a list of others in the fashion industry developing initiatives to support the Black community. In June, the Council of Fashion Designers of America announced the launch of an in-house employment program for placing black talent in all sectors of the fashion business, including mentorship and internship programs. Soon after, New York City-based technology firm Resonance launched of Be Resonant, an initiative that helped 10 Black designers launch fashion brands using its service. Brands such as Supreme and Levi’s also showed their support with individual contributions to relevant organizations.