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Brooklyn Fashion + Design Accelerator plans September open

Pratt's Brooklyn Fashion + Design Accelerator should begin operations at the end of the summer and house at least 30 ventures on an entire floor of the Bed-Stuy Pfizer building.

Photo by Flickr user buridan [Creative Commons]

We haven’t gotten to take a look at the Pratt Institute’s Brooklyn Fashion + Design Accelerator [BF+DA], but at the Center for Sustainable Design Strategies [CSDS] open house this week (part of Tech Triangle U), we learned that it should open up by September and be fully operational by the new year. The center’s assistant director, Carolyn Schaeberle, gave us an overview of the vision for the Bed-Stuy facility.

The broad vision is to nudge fashion into a more modern direction.

“The industry as a whole, from a sustainability standpoint … has a lot of room for improvement,” Schaeberle said. She gave attention first to the waste in production, but also citing the planned obsolescence of fashion’s seasons to drive waste.

Here are some other interesting points she made about the plan for the space, which is still very much a project in development:

  • As a production facility, BF+DA will be engaging in workforce development, readying local workers to run the production operations of the facility.
  • One goal for the facility is to push fashion designers into the idea of rapid prototyping used by other kinds of makers.
  • Designers in the space will be encouraged to move away from the tradition of guarding innovations and instead sharing ideas with fellow makers.
  • The space has room for approximately 30 venture fellows. Studios in the space will range from $300 to $700 per month, according to the FAQ.
  • Research Fellows will be granted space in the site as a way to stimulate ideas and share experience and insights. Two research fellows named already, Francis Bitonti and Carmen Malvar.
  • The facility will have some very advanced equipment. One piece that they are hoping to make a deal around is a STOLL knitting machine, one of the most advanced devices of its kind in the world.
  • A large multi-purpose space in the front that could be used for everything from lectures to meetings to fashion shows.
  • CSDS is in talks with major companies in making and fashion about establishing spaces or labs within BF+DA, to give makers access to its equipment and pushing what’s possible with their tools or resources.

The space just hired a new managing director, who started work yesterday.

If you dig into CSDS, it can get a little confusing, because it also runs an incubator at The Navy Yard. The incubator is for newer early-stage projects and is limited to Pratt students and alumni.

BF+DA will be for companies that are further along, clearer on their business model and probably making sales. As we previously reported, the key gap they aim to fill in the New York City fashion continuum is that gap between how much a designer can produce out of his or her own facility and the volume that’s needed to place an order from a production facility in a place like the Garment District.

Companies: Pratt Institute
Series: Brooklyn

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