Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams recently gave $500K to Pratt Institute’s Brooklyn Fashion+Design Accelerator as part of $2.75 million in Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18) funds from Brooklyn Borough Hall to advance economic development initiatives across the borough. The BF+DA, launched by Pratt Institute received $500,000 for an array of design and fashion technology equipment, including digital looms and technical embroidery machines.
In attendance to accept the award was Brooklyn Fashion + Design Accelerator Executive Director Deb Johnson, Pratt Institute Provost Kirk Pillow and Pratt Associate Provost of Research, Allison Druin.
“We’re excited to be part of the Brooklyn Borough President’s vision for the future of Brooklyn that supports entrepreneurship and that serves an environmental and social purpose,” says BF+DA Executive Director Deb Johnson.
The funding comes on the heels of an exciting new fashion and technology project called TEK-TILES, a two-year initiative to investigate and create a library of 200 activated swatches that are a “how to” for the design and manufacture of smart garments. The TEK-TILES project is aligned with a previous $486K grant that is expanding the BF+DA into a research center for creative technologists that houses design and manufacturing services needed to get “smart garments” and functional textiles from concept to market. The goal is to create a collaborative space that connects research institutions, industry innovation and indie technologists – pioneering the way for new products that can do everything from capture biometric data and deploy information through sensors, to textiles that react to changes in the environment.
Johnson who was the previous chairperson of the Industrial Design program at Pratt Institute says that the industry has entered a new age in material technology.
“This is an age that will have a massive impact on the function of clothing and the way our products communicate with us and each other,” says Johnson, adding that rapid advances in science, computing and connectivity are expanding the boundaries for designing life-changing products for people.
“We are focused on connecting researchers with two things that are critical to speeding the cycle of innovation,” says Johnson, “Fashion designers that understand how to make things that people want to wear and solutions that are ready for manufacture.”
Watch the slideshow below for more highlights from the Brooklyn Borough President’s visit to the Brooklyn Fashion + Design Accelerator.