Image: The “Les Sapeurs” Nikki Billie Jean Ready-To-Wear 2016 Collection
The Brooklyn Public Library’s BKLYN Fashion Academy is a new initiative where aspiring women’s wear designers participate in a 12-week program with assistance from the Brooklyn Fashion + Design Accelerator, FABSCRAP, Made in NY, Mood Fabrics & Materials for the Arts while they create a viable fashion line. Through this program, 15 aspiring women’s wear designers will develop a miniature fall/winter collection of four pieces through a combination of courses and access to materials and equipment. BPL will connect participants to library resources and outside organizations that will help them market their brands, produce their collections, and sell their products.
Lynnsie Augustin, Programs and Outreach Specialist for the Business & Career Center at the Brooklyn Public Library says course offerings like this are very much in alignment with the Brooklyn Public Library.
“The courses and materials that the participants in this program will gain access to are costly, and it will provide access to individuals who otherwise might not be able to afford them. They will have access to library resources as they continue to increase their brand awareness,” says Augustin.
“The Brooklyn Public Library has stated in its strategic plan that it wants to support local artisans and artists, and this program will fulfill that by supporting aspiring designers, who are at an economic disadvantage, and would otherwise not be able to afford the services, materials, and access that we are providing. The program will also allow us to forge new partnerships, create more cultural programming, and provide a starting point for entrepreneurs and future business owners,” Augustin adds.
The BKLYN Fashion Academy program will culminate in a final “Les Sapeurs” themed fashion show. “Les Sapeurs” refers to a Congolese subculture in which individuals dedicated to the cult of style in widespread poverty stroll through the streets like walking works of art.
As with any industry it’s important for all of the designers to open their perspectives so that they can adapt to an industry that has changed drastically in the past few years, and is continually changing.
“Fashion as we know it is expanding into other industries such as tech, and fashion used to be limited to a select few but now is a public domain, and its vision and access is now widespread,” says Augustin.
To learn more about the program and to apply, go here.
Official Program Partners
The Brooklyn Fashion and Design Accelerator was launched by Pratt Institute in 2014. The BF+DA will assist the designers with creating successful and ethical businesses by utilizing the BF+DA’s on-site sustainability resource center to optimize the complete lifecycle of their designs in order to reduce human health impacts, ecological impacts, resource use, and incorporate ethical production methods.
FABSCRAP, is a 501(c)3 charitable organization that was created to meet New York City’s commercial textile recycling needs. Materials that traditionally would have gone to landfill are now being properly recycled and made available for reuse at the academy.
Made in NY will provide access to facilities for participating designers to enhance their creative processes.
Mood Fabrics: Well-known for providing materials for Project Runway, Mood will also be providing resources for the academy designers. In addition to quality fabrics, trims and more, Mood has also created a suite of workshops taught by industry experts called Mood U.
Materials for the Arts is New York’s premiere reuse center, providing a way for companies and individuals to donate unneeded supplies to thousands of nonprofit organizations with arts programming and public schools (and the BKLYN Fashion Academy!)