25 Design Entrepreneurs Selected for Program’s Fourth Year

FIT and New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) has announced the 25 New York City–based fashion companies selected for the 2015 class of Design Entrepreneurs NYC (DENYC), a free, intensive “mini-MBA” program that teaches emerging designers how to run a successful label. Entry to DENYC is highly competitive, with the 25 companies selected from a pool of 246 applicants.


Entering its fourth year, DENYC has significantly expanded due to new and additional support from the fashion industry. This year, $100,000 will be awarded to the company that presents the most outstanding business plan and $50,000 will be awarded to the second-place company, funds that will be used to implement plans that the companies developed during the program. The prize monies are an increase from $25,000 and $10,000, respectively, and are a result of the established fashion industry’s commitment to the program and these emerging designers. Through the leadership of founding sponsor G-III Apparel Group, Ltd., companies that now support DENYC include Macy’s, PVH/Calvin Klein, Kenneth Cole, Cole Haan, and Ivanka Trump.

“New York City’s iconic fashion industry supports more than 180,000 jobs across the five boroughs, and it is vital to provide designers with the tools that keep the sector at the forefront of the 21st century,” said NYCEDC President Kyle Kimball. “Programs like Design Entrepreneurs NYC help to foster growth in this important sector, ensuring that the industry continues to create jobs and that New York City remains the fashion capital of the world for generations to come.”

“DENYC is truly a model program. And FIT is just the place for it—with faculty expertise on both the business and the design side of the industry,” said Dr. Joyce F. Brown, president of FIT. “Through DENYC, the FIT faculty helps designers hone the skills they need to become successful business people—which, of course, helps ensure that New York City remains the fashion capital of the world.”

For the first time, Design Entrepreneurs NYC is providing the winners with access to three industry executives who will advise them throughout the following year on best practices as they implement their business plans. Additionally, thanks to matching funds from the NYCEDC, all 12 program finalists will receive a year of consulting services to help achieve their business plan objectives.

DENYC offers emerging designers in-depth courses and one-on-one assistance in marketing, public relations, operations, and financial management, specifically within the fashion industry. DENYC was created through a partnership between NYCEDC and FIT in 2011. The fashion industry’s commitment helps ensure the program’s sustainability, allowing emerging designers to grow their companies in New York City and further guaranteeing that the city remains a vibrant fashion capital and creative hub.

The program launched on May 28   and comprises three consecutive intensive weekends of instruction in fashion business marketing, operations, and financial management taught by FIT faculty members and other industry professionals. Throughout the remainder of the summer, the designers will work with industry mentors to complete business plans, build skills at optional workshops, and attend informal salons with iconic fashion figures. All participants will master the art of the pitch, and by the program’s end, they will have strengthened their ability to attract audiences and deliver a compelling message.

Jeanette Nostra, the former president and current director of G-III, serves as FIT’s executive-in-residence for the program. Drawing on her fashion and entrepreneurial experience, Nostra acts as a mentor to the program’s participants and assists in reviewing the curriculum, bringing in guest speakers, and hosting program events. “We’re looking to make sure talent on the brink of success can get the necessary consulting and financial support to get over the hurdles,” Nostra said. “It’s about giving designers financial help and keeping jobs here.”

The designers and businesses in the DENYC Class of 2015 are:


Label/Company Name     


Abdul Abasi and Gregory Rosborough Abasi Rosborough Menswear
Jason and Julie Alkire Haus Alkire Women’s Wear
Raul Arevalo and Brad Schmidt Cadet Menswear
Laurence Chandler and Joshua Cooper Rochambeau Menswear
Helen Dealtry Dealtry Accessories
Paola Delgado Mujus Jewelry
Mike Eckhaus and Zoe Latta Eckhaus Latta Menswear and Women’s Wear
Sayaka Fukuda Sand by Saya Sandals
Chris Gelinas CG Women’s Wear
Aimee Grubel Aimee G Women’s Wear
Kim Haller Kim Haller Knitwear
Azede Jean-Pierre Azede Jean-Pierre Women’s Wear
Lara Knutson Lara Knutson Jewelry
Beth Macri Beth Macri Jewelry
Jonathan Meizler Title of Work Menswear and Accessories
Cenia Paredes Cenia New York Women’s Wear
Kandice Pelletier Kandice Pelletier Swimwear
Vanessa Perel-Panar Vanessa Lianne Jewelry Jewelry
Gabrielle Sabharwal Giejo Swimwear
Gillian Steinhardt Gillian Steinhardt Jewelry
Brandon Sun Brandon Sun Women’s Wear
Hillary Taymour Collina Strada Women’s Wear
Noah Waxman Noah Waxman Footwear
Molly Yestadt  Yestadt Millinery Hats
Erica Young Erica M. Bodywear, Lingerie


New York City Economic Development Corporation is the city’s primary vehicle for promoting economic growth in each of the five boroughs. NYCEDC’s mission is to stimulate growth through expansion and redevelopment programs that encourage investment, generate prosperity, and strengthen the city’s competitive position. NYCEDC serves as an advocate to the business community by building relationships with companies that allow them to take advantage of New York City’s many opportunities.

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