U.S. Department of Commerce Awards $486K Research Grant to BF+DA


2016 Research Fellow Maddy Maxey, founder of Loomia. Photo by Charlie Nordstrom

U.S. Department of Commerce Awards $486K Sustainability and Technology in Apparel Grant to the Pratt Institute Brooklyn Fashion + Design Accelerator

(Brooklyn, New York) November 16, 2016: Today the Pratt Institute’s Brooklyn Fashion + Design Accelerator (BF+DA) was awarded a $486K research grant to support the link between sustainability and technology in apparel as part of the U.S. Department of Commerce investing $15 million in entrepreneurs across the nation to move ideas to market and promote American innovation.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker announced 35 organizations, including nonprofits, institutions of higher education, and entrepreneurship-focused organizations from 19 states will receive nearly $15 million to create and expand cluster-focused, proof-of-concept and commercialization programs, and early-stage seed capital funds through the Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) program.

“This is a game changer,” says Deb Johnson, Executive Director of the BF+DA and author of the grant. “This will give New York City fashion technologists the support they need and give them a place to create next-gen materials and processes.”

As part of this grant, the BF+DA has identified four key areas upon which to focus: the need to reduce the environmental impacts of apparel, new technologies that are enhancing the functional aspects of apparel, customized apparel production and advanced manufacturing.

The BF+DA will apply the grant money to expand the manufacturing capacity of its advance production lab both to serve the Fashion Tech Program (FTP) as well as the NYC design community and to build a Mastermind Knowledge Network that will mentor proof-of-concept development for eight Research Fellows over the next three years. “We are creating a pipeline to the existing BF+DA Venture Fellow program that helps design entrepreneurs build financially successful businesses that respect the environment and society, “ says Johnson.
The BF+DA program will focus on attracting and supporting underrepresented populations in technology innovation.

In its second year of operation, the BF+DA has tangible impacts in both increasing venture revenues on average by 78% and creating over 50 new jobs. At the same time, the BF+DA has created an advanced manufacturing facility that provides fashion industry professionals with access to micro-run production, emerging technologies, digital manufacturing, and sustainable strategies consulting services that redefine the apparel industry around ethics, fashion technology, manufacturing, and reductions in environmental impacts.

The BF+DA is a “beyond the gates” initiative of Pratt Institute located in Brooklyn, New York and situated at the intersection of Williamsburg, Bushwick, and Bedford Stuyvesant.

For press inquiries, contact BF+DA Communications Director Amy DuFault at amy@bkaccelerator.com

To read Senator Gillibrand’s release on the BF+DA receiving the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) program grant, go here.

To read the U.S Economic Development Administration’s release on the BF+DA receiving the U.S. Department of Commerce’s  Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) program grant, go here.