Design Entrepreneurs in the News: Chromat, Stevie Mac, Ilana Kohn and Yana Handbags

Check out our design entrepreneurs in the news! From covers to coveted fashion sites, our designers are being recognized for their great work and talent.

Chromat's and Racked's Young Guns

Becca McCharen of Chromat

Becca McCharen of Chromat is a semi-finalist for Racked’s Young Guns contest.

Ilana Kohn is featured in Daily Candy for their 25 Dresses for a Summer Fling story. 

Yana Handbags is featured in In Her Shoe blog for being one of 5 independent handbag designers you should know.

Oprah wearing Stevie Mac

Oprah wears Stevie Mac’s dress on the June cover of Essence.

Design Entrepreneurs NYC Spotlight: Melinda Huff of Mirame

Today we’re chatting with our Design Entrepreneur Melinda Huff, Founder and Chief Creative Officer at Mirame.

Can you tell us about your line?Mirame is a swimwear brand with a sportswear edge. We specialize in one piece silhouettes that are fashion forward. We also offer generous coverage bikinis that reference old Hollywood glamour.

When did you start your start Mirame? 

I launched Mirame in Febrauary 2011.

Why did you start it?

I started Mirame because of the gap in the market for edgy and advanced one piece silhouettes. Solid bodies are not represented in this category either. I wanted to expore the one piece in referene to dancewear and how our wardrobe can transition from beach to bistro.

Can you give us three words to describe the brand?

Beach to bistro.

What’s your brand signature?

Fashion forward one piece silhouettes.

Why did you apply to DENYC?

FIT is amazing. I had been receiving general business tips, but reached a wall and needed fashion industry specific guidance. DENYC was the obvious answer.

What do you hope to get out of the program?

Industry guidance in the merchandising and branding arenas.  Great connections with industry advisors and peers.

Favorite piece in your collection?

I love the new Ellen bikini.  It has a retro appeal, with a skirted bikini bottom and cap sleeve swim top.

Best part of being a NYC designer?

Everything at your fingertips!

Tell us a fun fact about yourself

I fell in love with swimwear when I found myself living on the north shores of Oahu with nothing but my sewing machine and suitcase in hand.  I took to making bathing suits as a way to make money so that I could feed myself.  A love affair was born!

Learn more about the label at Mirame.

Design Entrepreneurs NYC Spotlight: Ilana Kohn

Ilana Kohn

When did you start Ilana Kohn?

Summer Spring 2012

Tell us about your line?

I make casual, wash-n-wear women’s clothing featuring original prints that I design myself. The line is really all about the prints!

Why did you start it?

Prior to working in fashion, I worked as a commercial illustrator for close to a decade. When the economy tanked and took my bread & butter, publishing with it, I decided to return to grad school for historic preservation. While I was there, however, I became restless without any creative pursuits and began sewing. By the time I was ready to graduate, I decided to launch my line rather than go to work in the field.

Can you give us three words to describe the brand?

Bold, relaxed and print-based.

What’s your brand signature?

Prints and prints and prints!

Why did you apply to DENYC?

I applied to DENYC because I felt that I still have a lot to learn about the business side of things. Granted, as opposed to most designers I know, I actually really enjoy dealing with the business half and was eager to learn more!

What do you hope to get out of the program?

I hope to come out of the program with a better grasp on literally everything. This is such an excellent opportunity. I’m gonna take everything I can get! Granted, although I really do actually really enjoy marketing and sales, serious number crunching is so not my thing and I do hope they can manage to make a number girl out of me.

Your favorite piece of your collection?

I’m pretty excited about the jacquard knits that I have coming out for AW13!

Best part of being a NYC designer?

Getting to be friends with and be inspired by all the other amazing designers here. All the resources at our fingertips are certainly nothing I’d stick my nose up at either though!

Can you share a fun fact?

If I weren’t a clothing designer I’d be a professional kitty-puppy cuddlier.

Connect with Ilana at Ilana Kohn and get social with her on InstagramTwitter, her Blog, Facebook and Tumblr


Design Entrepreneurs NYC 2013 Opening Reception

Design Entrepreneurs NYC 2013

Morris Goldfarb, CEO, G-III Apparel Group; Jeanette Nostra, president, G-III Apparel Group; Joyce F. Brown, president, Fashion Institute of Technology.

Our second installment of Design Entrepreneurs NYC kicked off last week with a reception to welcome the class of 2013.

Jeanette Nostra, president of G-III Apparel Group opened up their showroom to host the event. FIT president Joyce F. Brown and Steven Frumkin, Dean of the Jay and Patty Baker School of Business and Technology were there along with the NYCEDC, program mentors, instructors and the 2012 class to meet the new group and share their advice and inspirational words.

Check out some of the photos below from the evening and view all of them on our Facebook page.