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PHILADELPHIA FASHION INCUBATOR at MACY’S CENTER CITY

channel6-2PHILADELPHIA – April 25, 2013 (WPVI) — It’s tucked away in a small space you’d miss unless you know it.  But the fashion industry already knows about the Philadelphia Fashion Incubator, occupying a small space inside Macy’s at 13th and Market. The incubator is a partnership involving Macy’s, fashion experts, local colleges and others.  Graduates of three local colleges and unaffiliated designers who live in Philadelphia compete for slots in the program.

Those who gain entry, only five per year, get advice on how to sharpen their business skills without losing their creative edge.  Philadelphia’s well-known fashion expert Nicole Cashman is one of the participants.  She’s excited about Philadelphia getting in on the ground floor of the incubator movement.

Chicago launched America’s first but Philadelphia was a close second.  Since then, other programs have been launched in San Francisco and Washington, D.C. All provide women with proven fashion design skills the business pointers they’ll need to keep their enterprises going.

Melissa D’Agostino has a degree in textile design from Moore College of Art. She’s been creating fabrics and producing clothing for four years.  She was a member of the first incubator “class” a year ago.  What she learned in the program gave her enthusiasm for the business world to match her design skills, and built her confidence for success.

A century ago, the city was a leader in the textile industry with many top-name clothing manufacturers right in town.  Most of those entities no longer exist.  But there’s growing optimism that the city can re-establish itself on the world design stage. Nicole Cashman compares this emerging textile leadership to what’s been happening in the restaurant industry, where Philadelphia is seen as a leader in new cuisine and diverse dining experiences.  She believes a day is coming…maybe soon…when people in other fashion centers will demand the “Philadelphia look”. The incubator aims to be a driving force in that movement.