Philadelphia Fashion Incubator celebrates 10-year anniversary

Madelange Laroche at her bridal shop. (Courtesy of Madelange Laroche)

Madelange Laroche at her bridal shop. (Courtesy of Madelange Laroche)

To mark its 10-year anniversary, the Philadelphia Fashion Incubator is holding a special five-week event.

Beginning Aug. 2, and lasting through Sept. 10, the exhibit “Illume” will showcase the success of the incubator and its alumni. Guests will also be able to purchase pieces from alumni and the designer-in-residence at The InLiquid Gallery.

Each year, the Philadelphia Fashion Incubator gives designers the opportunity to participate in programs to further their brand. Well-known brands to come out of the program include Milano Di Rouge and Minkee Blue.

“We are thrilled to know that our initiative has had such a positive impact on revitalizing the fashion ecosystem of Philadelphia through educating and empowering women and minority-owned fashion entrepreneurs to build sustainable businesses,” Elissa Bloom, executive director of the Philadelphia Fashion Incubator, said in a press release.

The incubator connects designers with education as well as business strategies, allowing them to succeed and be impactful in Philadelphia.

“Our fashion entrepreneurs have positively impacted Philadelphia’s apparel, manufacturing, and retail economy. Through job creation and local industry support, PFI has helped them succeed with their go-to market strategies and in creating sustainable businesses,” Bloom said.

Madelange Laroche, the 2018 designer-in-residence and owner of Madelange Laroche Bridal, believes the Philadelphia Fashion Incubator is the reason her company is successful.

“If it wasn’t for PFI, I wouldn’t be the entrepreneur I am today, they really helped me from A to Z, from the smallest thing like creating a business card to going out and meeting with manufacturers, it really was an amazing experience with them,” Laroche said.

Emily Soloby, founder of Juno Jones Shoes and one of the Philadelphia Fashion Incubators’ current designers-in-residence, had no experience working in fashion, coming from the trucking and legal sectors. Soloby’s idea to build a fashionable work boot for women stood out.

“The incubator has been really important to our growth. Part of that is that they have helped us along the way as a new company … You don’t have that many employees when you’re a new company and they kind of serve that function as a team,” Soloby said.

The current designers-in-residence, including Soloby, have been able to work with the incubator for two years. Their residency started just before the coronavirus pandemic, so they have the opportunity to extend it another year.

More information about the Philadelphia Fashion Incubator and its upcoming event can be found online.

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