In an effort to support budding fashion executives, the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and 92nd Street Y have launched the NYC Fashion Fellows program aimed at mentoring rising stars in fashion management. The program is just one of the many initiatives launched recently as part of Mayor Bloomberg’s Fashion.NYC.2020 plan, which kicked off in 2010 with the hope of growing New York City’s fashion industry, which accounts for 5.7 percent of the City’s workforce.Kristy Sundjaja, head of Industry Transformation Teams at NYCEDC, said the program will “enable us to develop the city’s fashion leaders of the future.”
An advisory committee including Diane von Furstenberg, Macy’s CEO Terry Lundgren, Fern Mallis, Theory CEO Andrew Rosen, and LF USA CEO Richard Darling will select a group of 20 fellows to participate in the program. Each fellow will be paired with a top executive mentor for a year. The group will also participate in educational seminars, skill-building workshops on topics ranging from public speaking to work-life balance, and breakfasts with fashion industry CEOs.“This interaction will help New York City keep its edge, while providing a competitive advantage to the high-potential individuals who will lead the fashion industry in the future,” said Macy’s CEO Lundgren.
Theory’s CEO Rosen says, “By recognizing and supporting rising stars in fashion management, NYC Fashion Fellows ensures that the City’s fashion industry continues to be served by the best leadership talent in the decades to come, in turn preserving New York City’s position as the fashion capital of the world.”
While a variety of programs exist in New York City to support up-and-coming fashion designers—the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund and the Dorchester Fashion Collection Prize among them—this program is unique in its support of rising stars on the business side of fashion. It also demonstrates just how crucial the fashion industry is to economic development in New York City. The industry is expected to generate $865 million for the city this year. Mayor Bloomberg has said, “Fashion is critical to New York City’s future.”To be considered for the fellowship, candidates must have at least five years of work experience and work at either a New York City-based company or an international company headquartered in New York City. The winning fellows will be announced in December.