by Stephen Garner

Informa Markets Fashion has teamed up with NuOrder to launch a new initiative aimed at elevating and better supporting new design talent within the Black fashion community. 

Called Informa Markets Fashion for Change (IMFC) Incubator Program, the trade show organizers said that the launch of this program is the first step that it is taking to reduce barrier-to-entry and further equal opportunity within the fashion industry.

As part of IMFC’s on-going program, 10 up-and-coming brands will receive a complimentary digital showroom page and access to digital wholesale market tools via the NuOrder platform, editorial features, and marketing promotion, as well as individualized mentor and leadership guidance, as overseen by IMFC’s Advisory Board, a team whose mission is geared towards allyship, inclusion, and fostering equality within the fashion community. 

As brands are selected by the IMFC committee members, which consists of 11 executives from across Informa Markets Fashion with backgrounds in branding, marketing, social media, finance, and sales, they will have two full seasons of complimentary access to the digital event– starting with the current season and then building off this in 2021 at Informa Markets Fashion’s fall/winter digital event.

In addition to receiving complimentary virtual showroom space at the digital event, marketing promotion, and editorial features, the IMFC program also will offer brands the opportunity to be mentored by a leading fashion executive, as sourced from a pool of leadership from across the industry, to include IMFC’s Advisory Board members – a board comprised of veteran fashion executives from the IMFC committee, NuOrder executive leadership, and industry executives such as Felita Harris, co-founder and CEO of ENFORM.  Directly paired with an executive for one-on-one support, brands will receive consultative guidance tailored specifically to their business’s needs throughout the duration of the digital event.

“With the Black Lives Matter 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,” said Nancy Walsh, president of Informa Markets Fashion. “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.”

With the program’s selection process already underway, nine of the 10 brands have already been chosen and will be featured in a category-related marketplace when the event launches next week.

For menswear, Hamid Holloman (an eponymous custom-made men’s apparel line) and Leimert Park Threads (a clothing brand inspired by the urban environment of South L.A. by designer Ashley Sky Walker) will be featured on Project Digital platform.

“These selected designers have incredible talent, show major potential, and have a refreshing point-of-view,” added 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.”