The Brooklyn Fashion + Design Accelerator (BF+DA), a Pratt Institute initiative, is a hub for ethical fashion and design that provides design entrepreneurs, creative technologists and industry professionals with the resources they need to transform their ideas into successful, triple bottom line businesses.
Located between Bed-Stuy and South Williamsburg, the BF+DA is housed in the old Pfizer industrial building, which is also home to many food start-ups. The BF+DA provides 21,000 square feet of 21st century production, research, and work space, with services that include business mentorship, sustainable strategies consulting, materials sourcing, small-run apparel production, no-minimum computerized knitting services, and digital fabrication services.
Approximately 15 emerging design businesses (not limited to Pratt alumni) are selected to work from the BF+DA, either as Venture Fellows (mentorship program) or Research Fellows. Each year, the BF+DA also serves over 70 apparel production clients, 300 digital fabrication clients, and 4,000 event, tour, and educational program attendees, and has recently launched a rapidly growing Membership program and sustainability consulting offerings to further their mission and reach.
What the BF+DA does
At the core of the BF+DA is the Venture Fellow program, which helps founders of fashion, accessories, home, and technology companies grow their business responsibly. Benefits include a structured mentorship program with one-on-one advisement on finance, brand, sales, marketing, and sustainable strategies, curated events for knowledge sharing and social networking, and a light-filled studio at the BF+DA.
These emerging businesses are surrounded by an ecosystem to help them go from idea to prototype to production to market, which includes:
The Production Lab (p.LAB) is a sample development studio and small-run apparel manufacturing facility, equipped with the latest technology in garment production as well as a digital fabrication service bureau offering 3D printing and laser cutting along. The BF+DA specializes in small-scale production with no minimum requirements in both cut-and-sew and knitwear and is developing into an R&D center for wearable tech and activated materials. Created for new designers and established brands, the full-service apparel production services provide patternmaking, sample development, and small-run production for cut & sew in knits and wovens, fully fashioned and wholegarment knitting, as well as prototyping for digitally-printed textiles.
The Sustainability Lab (s.LAB) offers hourly consulting services for designers to create practical roadmaps to optimize the complete life cycle of the products they manufacture in order to reduce human health impacts, ecological impacts, resource use, and incorporate ethical production methods. Highlights of the s.LAB are a textile library of sustainable materials, which serves as a teaching tool for designers who want to source responsibly, and the Sustainable Fashion Roadmap, a digital platform and extensive online resource that invites designers to explore and integrate sustainable strategies into their own work.
The Fashion + Technology Lab (t.LAB) offers research fellowships to creative technologists and designers who are exploring new modalities of production, materiality, and form generation alongside product development and research in wearable technology. Research Fellows are selected to develop projects that incorporate responsible technology and are provided with a space to work in the t.LAB.
The BF+DA actively organizes and curates’ public events and educational programs for the greater community that explore the future of production, entrepreneurship, sustainability, and technology, engaging leaders and change agents across industries and communities of practice in the co-creation of new knowledge and critical ideas. Furthermore, the BF+DA provides private and public tours on a regular basis.
Ways to become a part of the community:
- Venture Fellowship: A full-time residency program complete with one-on-one mentorship on business development, expert counseling on sustainable strategies, and the priceless support of an engaged community of your peers. Applications accepted on a rolling basis with a new deadline each month. Applications rolling.
- Membership: A full year of benefits that not only provides robust tools for advancing your creative and entrepreneurial endeavors but also supports our ambitious vision to make a positive impact on society and the environment. Only members have access to our online Sustainable Fashion Roadmap tool, which is a self-guided tour of sustainable design strategies for apparel. Join any time.
- Residency: Come do your work at the BF+DA—a great place to let your creative juices flow—with a dedicated desk in a shared studio space, or a dedicated studio. Very limited available.