| Dec 1, 2014 |
Pratt shows off new space for blossoming design businesses
Boh staff
By Staff

Last month, in front of government and industry leaders and invited guests, Pratt Institute revealed the home of its Brooklyn Fashion + Design Accelerator (BF+DA), a 21,000-square-foot facility in South Williamsburg. The BF+DA, which launched last year, aims to provide high-potential design start-ups with the resources necessary to establish viable businesses.

The BF+DA provides interdisciplinary workspace for 30 design-oriented start-ups, and its facility offers companies a diverse range of resources ranging from traditional apparel production to computerized knitting, high-tech digital fabrication, and business development mentoring.

Pratt's Brooklyn Fashion + Design Accelerator space

“We’re thrilled to have the Pratt Institute BF+DA up and running in its new space and serving as a vital resource for New York City’s local creative economy,” said Pratt Institute President Thomas F. Schutte. “At Pratt, we see the Accelerator as an extension of our mission to educate young designers, and we look forward to seeing BF+DA businesses grow and flourish.”

The space includes an apparel lab with a sample development studio and small-run apparel manufacturing capabilities, as well as a 3D fabrication lab with 3D printing and laser-cutting services. Committed to ethical production and minimizing environmental impact, the Accelerator will integrate local sourcing, zero-waste production, and upcycling practices into the businesses it supports.

Pratt's Brooklyn Fashion + Design Accelerator space

The BF+DA is currently home to 16 Venture Fellow companies, two Junior Venture Fellows, and five Research Fellows, with plans to expand its occupancy in the coming months. A variety of high-potential companies make up the inaugural list of fellows, including a multidisciplinary digital design and fabrication studio; a rubber origami company whose product has far-ranging applications across design and architecture; and a natural textile dyeing company. Research Fellows blur the lines between fashion and technology, emphasizing new practices in design and manufacturing.

“Breaking into the fashion and design business can be extremely difficult, and many talented designers and artists get stuck trying to move from start-up to the next level of success,” said BF+DA Executive Director Debera Johnson. “We envisioned BF+DA to show young entrepreneurs a pathway to success and provide the full spectrum of product design resources all under one roof."

Pratt's Brooklyn Fashion + Design Accelerator space

Community members within and outside of Pratt will have access to BF+DA programs and facilities. The Accelerator will offer workforce development programs in entrepreneurship, digital fabrication, and apparel production and design. Its Sustainable Strategies Lab (s.LAB) will provide designers with new models for sustainable production, and its program of events will open the space for fashion shows and educational workshops that will enrich the local community. In addition, a retail space will allow consumers to purchase items made by BF+DA companies.

The Accelerator follows the success of the Pratt Design Incubator for Sustainable Innovation, which was founded by Johnson and launched in 2002 in Brooklyn. Pratt’s Incubator has helped create more than 30 new companies and dozens of jobs in industries like fashion design, product design, social entrepreneurship and green-consulting services. The BF+DA underscores Pratt’s commitment to helping creative entrepreneurs succeed in starting new businesses.

Funding from the State of New York, the Borough of Brooklyn and the Pratt Institute supports the initiative. For additional information or to learn how to participate, click here.

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