For designers, New York Fashion Week is all about exposure — and no one needs that more than emerging ones.
With that in mind, The Standard and Raisefashion have teamed up to showcase Black, Indigenous and people of color brands’ spring 2024 collections and unveil a pop-up at The Shop at The Standard, High Line. Twenty emerging designers tied to Raisefashion’s Brand Fellowship Program will benefit from the union, which is designed to continue advancing equity and opportunity. All of this is in sync with the nonprofit’s mission to mentor, provide resources and create access.
More from WWD
Clarence Ruth, Tolu Coker, Charles Harbison, Amina Means, Shari Smith, Rachel Scott, Jacques Agbobly, Awet Woldegebriel and Busayo Olupona are among the designers. The Standard also partnered with Woldegebriel and Ruth for two custom retail designs — a French terry hoodie and a spring varsity jacket.
Participants have also been gaining insights through Raisefashion’s network of industry leaders like Carlie Cushnie, Roopal Patel, April Hennig, Elizabeth Von der Goltz, Alexa Geovanos and others, who are mentoring them and offering other resources.
The partnership between The Standard and Raisefashion will include a Sept. 6 showcase and a cocktail party at the Meatpacking District hotel. In addition, The Shop at The Standard, High Line will feature a pop-up from Sept. 6 to 10. Each displayed collection will feature a QR code linking to dedicated microsites, enabling customers to buy directly from the designers and have their garments shipped to their homes. The support amounts to what would be a six-figure investment for the designers to have a showcase and pop-up at a comparable hotel.
Having first met last year via a remote women’s leadership panel that was hosted at The Standard East Village, Standard International’s chief executive officer Amber Asher and Raisefashion’s cofounder and board member Felita Harris shared a bond and like-minded commitment to diversity, creativity and inclusivity, according to Harris. Asher later offered to host a NYFW showcase for Raisefashion designers. “This gesture substantially tackled a hurdle faced by BIPOC designers at this pivotal juncture. Not only are they striving for recognition of their innovative work but they are also focused on establishing connections with industry leaders and securing avenues for wholesale distribution,” Harris said.
The 338-room hotel will be at capacity during the Raisefashion event, according to Asher, who noted that 9,000 people came in and out of the hotel during this year’s Pride weekend for various activations.
Acknowledging how tricky navigating business has been post-pandemic for numerous designers, Asher said that being able to give designers spaces, support and events feels like “a really great partnership that we would love to do in other places throughout the world.”
Brand recognition, connections made and media coverage are among the upsides. The financial means necessary to gain such exposure is an ongoing equity challenge in the industry — and one that generations of designers have experienced. However, Asher’s actions could serve as “a blueprint for leaders across all industries” as to “how to dismantle these financial barriers to advance equity and opportunities,” Asher said. “We can’t just keep talking about it. We need to collaborate to create opportunities so that these designers and other creators in other industries can advances their businesses.”
Noting how Raisefashion supports designers across five continents, Harris said similar opportunities are needed. Asher is open to the prospect of expanding the initiative to other Standard properties internationally. With plans to open multiple properties in the next few years, The Standard expects to unveil one in Singapore next year, and outposts in Melbourne, Brussels, Vancouver, Mexico, Brooklyn and Lisbon are planned for the next five years. The Standard is also eyeing locales in Paris and Milan for the future, Asher said.
In the meantime, The Standard is excited about being able to offer something that is tangible to designers, who have had less opportunity, Asher said. “We’re hoping to do more and more together. The Standard has always been a place to foster emerging talent whether that’s through activations or art installations. We love to do things with real meaning and not just to do them [for the sake of doing them].”
On another front, the Raisefashion endeavor has attracted the sponsorship of such significant companies as the Disney-owned Andscape, Moët Hennessy USA, TikTok, W2 Creative, Ford Models and Victoria’s Secret. Designers will post exclusive live shopping streams on TikTok Shop.
Driven by philanthropy in a way that she had not anticipated at this time in her life, Harris said, “There is nothing more than I would rather dedicate my time to then helping to support and amplify designers, who need it the most.”
Best of WWD