Design Entrepreneurs NYC Spotlight: Alexa Galler of Eighteenth

Alexa Galler’s line Eighteenth started as t-shirts. 6 to be exact. Over time, it’s evolved into a full ready-to-wear line. Her pieces re-imagine basics and she’s keen on changing the shape and details of classic garments. You’ll see this through construction details in her dreamy sweaters, tops and outerwear.

So why Design Entrepreneurs NYC? She told us, “I want to learn how to approach my line more like a business than as an art project.” And, she said that the the best part of being a NYC designer is that everyone in this business is a character.

Learn more about Alexa at Eighteenth. 

Design Entrepreneurs in the News: Kallio, Stevie Mac, Chromat, Elizabeth Kosich New York and Love is Mighty

Our design entrepreneurs have been featured on covers, Oprah, and gotten approval from the hottest fashion magazines out there. Here are five brands that have been in the news:

Elizabeth Kosich Cover Photo

Elizabeth Kosich in Dallas Cowboys Star

Elizabeth Kosich New York makes the cover of the Dallas Cowboys Star for their swimsuit issue.

Stevie Mac

Oprah wears Stevie Mac

Stevie Mac is on a roll! Oprah has worn his dresses several times this year and she looks fantastic in this one.

Becca McCharen of Chromat for her show at Miami Fashion Week.

 Kallio makes Vogue Bambini with their adorable children’s pieces.

Love is Mighty featured on Layne Randolph blog

Monisha Raja of Love is Mighty is featured on Layne Randolph’s blog discussing fashion and the law.

Design Entrepreneur Spotlight: Jacqueline Stone of Salt + Stone

Why did you apply to DENYC?

Jewelry is our number one love, our passion. We understand that fashion is a business and in order to pursue this craft to our utmost potential we also need to be business-minded. We applied to DENYC to gain a better understanding about marketing, sales, public relations and finances. We wanted to help Salt + Stone grow.

What do you hope to get out of the program?

We hope to make new friends, write a killer business plan and have a stronger vision for where the company is headed.

What is Salt + Stone’s signature?

Our owl rings get us noticed, but it is our celestial chain necklace that achieves the most sales. We can’t keep it in stock!

Design Entrepreneurs NYC Spotlight: Ayana Evans of Yana Handbags

Ayana Evans

Today we’re spotlighting our Design Entrepreneur Ayana Evans for Yana Handbags. Learn more about her and be sure to read the entire interview because you will remember her three fun facts!

Can you tell us about your business? 

YANA is a handbag company that embraces high art aesthetics, whimsical humor and socially conscious business practices. Our designs merge artistic themes of women in love with practical function and luxury details, such as 18k gold plated custom hardware based on designer Ayana Evans’s favorite childhood earring and metal labels with hand sewn satin bow details. Special concern is given to creating light weight handbags, with comfortable straps, and easily accessible pockets. The label also always offers custom orders. Our customers like being having access to one-of-a-kind/limited edition products. We are fashion X art.

A portion of all YANA’s online sales are given to charity. Additionally, YANA’s eco-friendly snake skin bags are made of re-purposed leather and feature vegetable dyed linings. YANA supports local artisans and always strives to ensure that each worker at the factories the company contracts are paid fair wages and given safe, clean working conditions.

When did you start your line?

Technically YANA Handbags LLC was formed in 2007. The unofficial start was in 2004, but  everything was in my kitchen then and I mostly sold to friends back then.

Why did you start it?

I always loved fashion, bags especially. I wanted to have a job that I couldn’t be laid off from during the recession and I wanted to work in an area thatt was creative but wasnt exactly the same as working in the visual “art world” (my background is in painting). It may sound crazy because fashion is so volatile, but that’s why I started my business.

Can you give us three words to describe the brand?

Art, socially-conscious and beautiful.

What’s your signature?

The waist bag (e.g. the fanny pack.)

What’s your favorite piece of your collection?

The black quilted waist bag with a gold doorknocker.

Why did you apply to DENYC?

I wanted to grow my business and I felt I had hit a wall. I felt I would get the guidance and mentorship I needed from this program, so I applied.

What do you hope to get out of the program?

I hope to gain long lasting mentoring relationships, strong connections to other designers, and a business plan that I can use as a road map for the next two years of my company’s growth.

Best part of being a NYC designer?

You get invited to cool parties.

Can you give us a fun fact(s)?

1. I’m a performance artist.
2. My brother is a rapper.
3. Both of my parents are therapists and I was raised like a Cosby kid.

Learn more about the brand at Yana Handbags.

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.

Check Out Our Design Entrepreneurs in the News

Our Design Entrepreneurs are continuing to do great things in 2013. Whether it’s launching a new collection, giving styling advice or getting the best names to attend their shows, they are certainly being noticed. Here are a few clippings from Suzanne RaeMarlon Gobel and Shirley Ephraim Fine Earth Jewelry 

Suzanne Rae featured in Lucky Magazine

Marlon Gobel in Teen Vogue

Marlon Gobel in Teen Vogue

Shirley Ephraim Fine Earth Jewelry in Vogue

Shirley Ephraim Fine Earth Jewelry in Vogue

For more news and information connect with us at @DesignPreneur on Twitter and on Facebook. 

Design Entrepreneurs NYC is Recruiting the Class of 2013

KahriAnne Kerr presenting her plan to a panel of industry experts

Looking to take your fashion business to the next level and need the tools and knowledge to help you run your day-to-day operations while you grow your brand? If so, we encourage you to apply to Design Entrepreneurs NYC. In its second year, our free “mini-MBA” program brought to you by FIT and the NYCEDC will consist of 35 designers for its 2013 class.

Designers selected into the program will participate in weekend intensive seminars from industry leaders on topics such as operations, marketing, financials and other brand building topics. Participants will be paired with a mentor and will use the summer months to work on their business plan. Those that complete the program will also have the opportunity to pitch to a panel of influential industry leaders.

Here’s our criteria for eligibility:

  • Must be a NYC-based (all 5 boroughs welcome) fashion designer
  • Have a NYC-based fashion design business including: womenswear, menswear, childrenswear, and/or accessories
  • Be committed to attending all mandatory events (e.g. kick-off, weekend intensives, presentation skills workshop, closing events)
We’d also like you to: 
  • Have been in business for at least one year
  • Have demonstrated traction in the industry (e.g. press coverage, sales, etc.)

The deadline to apply is March 31 at midnight. Learn more about the program at Design Entrepreneurs NYC.