Target Underwriting CFDA Fashion Incubator Project


Photo: Patrick McMullan

CFDA's Fashion Incubator project designers

Last year, the Council of Fashion Designers of America launched the Fashion Incubator program, providing low-cost studio space to promising young designers in the heart of the Garment District—and now they’re getting an extra dose of support from Target.

The CFDA and the mega-retailer have just announced that Target is the lead underwriter for the CFDA Fashion Incubator [CFI] project.

Alice Ritter, Bibhu Mohapatra, Gemma Redux, Grey Ant, House of Waris, Jolibe, Prabal Gurung, Public School, Ruby Kobo, Sang A, Subversive Jewelry, and Tom Scott were the 12 labels that made up the program’s inaugural class, which will stay in the studios until next year. The 2012-2014 class, meanwhile, will be selected through an open call that begins today.

“Through innovative partnerships and our commitment to CFDA, Target continues to foster design talent,” Trish Adams, senior vice president of merchandising for the retailer, said in a statement. “In our new role as the lead sponsor of the CFDA Fashion Incubator, we will nurture some of today’s most talented emerging designers who we believe will become tomorrow’s stars.”

In addition to the reduced-rate lease, CFI tenants receive business mentoring and a development curriculum.

“We are thrilled that Target has extended their commitment to the professional development of working designers and the CFDA Fashion Incubator, and are proud to be working with them in this new capacity," said Lisa Smilor, associate executive director of the CFDA.

This isn’t the first time Target has teamed up with the CFDA: In 1998, it launched the Target/CFDA Design Initiative, which offered young designers apprenticeships at Target’s Minneapolis headquarters (the program ran though 2006). And in 2007, the CFDA/Teen Vogue Scholarship was established, complete with a $25,000 Target Fashion Scholar grant.