The kids of Gen Alpha are not the only youths reaping the benefits of Ludacris’ charming Netflix children’s show “Karma’s World.”
9 Story Media Group, the producer behind some of kids’ television’s biggest titles, announced last week that it had teamed up with the Fashion Institute of Technology’s Design and Technology Lab to give eight FIT students and graduates the chance to design their own children’s streetwear collection.
Inspired by “Karma’s World,” an animated TV show that follows the 10-year-old aspiring rapper Karma Grant, the 50-piece line includes jumpsuits, jackets, sweatsuits, dresses, swimsuits and footwear. 9 Story Media Group said it plans to incorporate the collection across a range of consumer categories, with its licensing partners set to release the first products later this year.
The design team, a mix of current students and 2021 graduates of FIT’s Fashion Design program, includes Juliana Bui, Brianna Castillo, Jacob Desvarieux, Desiree DiCarlo, Hawwaa Ibrahim, Carly McBride, Jake Valliere and Jada Wilkerson. FIT’s footwear and accessories design chair Sarah Mullins, fashion design assistant professor Lauren Zodel and adjunct instructor Gregg Woodcock worked with FIT graduate—and founder of Harlem’s Fashion Row—Brandice Daniel as advisors to the students, as well as series fashion consultants. Daniel is also on the advisory council at FIT’s Social Justice Center, an initiative introduced in December that is designed to “increase opportunity and accelerate social equity within the creative industries for the Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) community.”
“Experiential learning and innovative partnerships are pillars of the FIT mission—and nothing illustrates that better than our partnership with 9 Story Media,” FIT president Joyce F. Brown said in a statement. “Our students were offered an extraordinary opportunity to apply their creative talent to a real-world project—one with demanding needs and deadlines—within the context of our own innovative [Design and Technology] Lab.”
Chris Bridges, the multi-hyphenate more commonly known as Ludacris, saw his debut kids’ show hit Netflix in October. Since then, the program has been nominated for three NAACP awards and secured 35 licensees, including partnerships with Mattel, Scholastic and Universal Music. These licenses span apparel, accessories, crafts and activity, electronics, holiday and footwear and will see products launch in 2022 and beyond. A second season of “Karma’s World” is slated to premiere March 10.
“The students’ talent, passion, and vision enabled them to imagine what else Karma might have in her closet, resulting in a highly creative collection that captures Karma’s unique style,” Kyra Halperin, co-vice president of consumer products at 9 Story, said in a statement. “FIT’s mission to foster and celebrate youth, creativity, and individuality aligns perfectly with what Karma’s World stands for and 9 Story is thrilled to partner with an organization with the same commitment to inclusivity and representation.”
Earlier this month DSW parent Designer Brands announced that it was investing $2 million to fund a factory—the first Black-owned footwear factory in the U.S., it says—that will produce shoes designed by graduate students at Detroit’s soon-to-launch Pensole Lewis College of Business & Design. The students’ shoes will be sold exclusively at DSW “with the goal of all work leading to the launch of Black designers’ brands inside of DSW,” CEO Roger Rawlins said.