9 Story Media Group, industry-leading creator, producer, and distributor of award-winning animated and live-action content for young audiences, and Karma’s World Entertainment, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges’ entertainment media company, are pleased to announce a first-of-its kind partnership with the Fashion Institute of Technology’s Design and Technology Lab (FIT DTech). Inspired by the hit animated Netflix series Karma’s World—for which fashion is central to the brand DNA – FIT students designed a 50-piece fashion-forward children’s collection for licensing partners to incorporate across a range of consumer categories, with the first product set to launch later this year. Designs include jumpsuits, jackets, sweatsuits, dresses, swimsuits, and footwear.
The student designers selected for the project demonstrated distinctive points of view and the ability to capture, through fashion, the spirit of courageous and expressive young girls like Karma who dare to dream big. The design team included both current students and 2021 graduates from FIT’s Fashion Design program: Juliana Bui, Brianna Castillo, Jacob Desvarieux, Desiree DiCarlo, Hawwaa Ibrahim, Carly McBride, Jake Valliere, and Jada Wilkerson. The FIT DTech Lab, a key component of the college’s Innovation Center, provided a high-impact learning environment for the team as they leveraged the creative ideas and fresh perspectives of talented students and faculty. FIT’s Footwear and Accessories Design Chair Sarah Mullins, Fashion Design Assistant Professor Lauren Zodel, and Adjunct Instructor Gregg Woodcock teamed up with FIT alum Brandice Daniel, founder of Harlem’s Fashion Row—an organization that supports emerging talent and provides a platform for designers of color—as an advisor to the students and series fashion consultant.
This unique partnership between industry and FIT embodies a shared commitment to social equity within the creative industries for the Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) communities, which was also the impetus for the recent launch of the Social Justice Center at FIT, for which Daniel is an advisory council member.
Launched on Netflix last fall, Karma’s World is an animated series based on a concept created by multi-award-winning American rapper, actor, producer, entrepreneur, and philanthropist Chris “Ludacris” Bridges (Fast and Furious franchise, Crash). The coming-of-age story features Karma Grant, an aspiring musical artist and rapper with big talent and an even bigger heart. Every episode is infused with hip-hop music, streetwear fashion, and original choreography. The series focuses on themes of self-expression, identity, leadership, creativity, and the importance of community. Karma’s World has been nominated for three NAACP awards, and a second season has been confirmed, with new episodes coming to Netflix on March 10.
Karma’s World boasts a rapidly expanding consumer products program with 35 licensees secured to date, including global partnerships with Mattel, Scholastic, and Universal Music. North American licenses span a variety of categories, including apparel, accessories, crafts and activity, electronics, holiday, and footwear, and will see products begin launching in 2022 and beyond. Several of the FIT student designs have been incorporated into product categories set to launch later this year.
“This first-of-its-kind partnership with FIT has truly elevated the Karma’s World brand offering,” said Kyra Halperin, co-vice president of consumer products for 9 Story. “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. 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.”
“Experiential learning and innovative partnerships are pillars of the FIT mission—and nothing illustrates that better than our partnership with 9 Story Media,” said FIT President Joyce F. Brown. “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 DTech Lab. Karma’s World itself was an inspiration, radiating FIT’s own values of inclusivity and community. I am proud of all our students accomplished and proud to partner with such a visionary organization.”