CFDA Fashion Incubator

CDFA Fashion Incubator is a business development program in New York City


CDFA Fashion Incubator is a business development program intended to assist the next generation of fashion designers in New York City.

The Council of Fashion Designers of America, Inc. (CFDA) is a not-for-profit trade association with more than 400 members which include: foremost womenswear, menswear, jewellery and accessory designers. It was founded in 1962.

Mission and Vision

The program provides a creative professional environment with the mission of helping to grow and sustain the businesses of the 10 participating brands throughout the two-year program. By providing low-cost design studio space, business mentoring, educational seminars, and networking opportunities, the program provides a way for participants to reach their full potential and become an integral part of the New York Fashion community.

In 2010, the program partnered with New York University’s Stern School of Business to create a Masters Workshop that pairs their top MBA Students with the designers to work on business development projects.

Successful alumni of the Incubator are, for instance, Prabal Gurung and the 2013 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund winners, Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne of Public School.

The 4.0 class (2016-2018) of the {FASHION INCUBATOR} involves Alexandra Alvarez of Alix, Aurora James of Brother Vellies, Charles Youssef, Daniel DuGoff of Ddugoff, Tim Joo and Dan Joo of Haerfest, Jason Alkire and Julie Alkire of Haus Alkire, Ji Oh, Katie deGuzman and Michael Miller of K/ller Collection, Thaddeus O’Neil, and Molly Yestadt of Yestadt Millinery.

Testimonies – Haerfest

“Being a part of the CFDA Fashion Incubator Class of 2018 was an incredible, and valuable one because we were able to connect with mentors and have resources we wouldn’t have had outside of the program. The community of designers selected also exposed us to a new group of peers that are all so knowledgeable and supportive in an authentic way. That sense of community was really important, because as a designer it is really common to kind of be in your own bubble. The program itself also helped us with partnerships, and activations too. For example, we were able to work with W Hotels.

Outside of the fun and rewards, we had to go through a really lengthy process to get there. It started with recommendations from our friends who are former CFDA participants, to applying, to submitting all of our finances, and lookbooks. We also had to get recommendations from people in the industry, and so on and at the end of the process, it narrowed down to 15 from 300 applicants. One of the final steps was having the committee visit our studio for another round of interviews. It was rigorous, but the application process positively challenged us to polish our brand story, and craft the way we shared it”, The Founders of Haerfest.