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Nolcha Fashion Week: Nourishing Promising Designers to their Big Break

When the power to make or break a new designer lies in the hands of several key figures, specifically Anna Wintour – something is indeed rotten in the ecosystem of the fashion world. Bypassing fashion’s traditional gatekeepers, Nolcha Fashion Week, allows new talent to grow, develop and excel in the industry. How did this emerging company become the hot incubator for fresh talent? Read on for Forbes outlook. 

Photo Credit: [http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Spring_2011_Fashion_Show_at_Chicago%27s_Lyric_Opera_House.jpg]
Anyone in the fashion industry will tell you that it’s a “cut-throat” business. Although having the spotlight on a collection during Fashion Week is a coveted position, not all designers are accepted at the venue which creates roadblocks to achieving success in the industry.

This trend is changing, however, with the help of the creators behind Nolcha Fashion Week. This new concept has been equated with an “off Broadway” show for newcomers. In this setting, previously unknown up-and-coming designers have the opportunity to display their collections privately to potential buyers.

Photo Credit: [http://photos.prnewswire.com/prn/20121009/NY88919]
Located in a neighborhood shared by Hell’s Kitchen, the Fashion Lounge, as it is better known, is overseen by CEO Kerry Bannigan. She took the position after moving to the area from London only to discover the inability of promising designers to get a shot at entering the market through traditional means.

According to Bannigan, it wasn’t that these individuals had poor concepts or construction of their garments; they just didn’t have the “know-how” to grow their businesses.

Scheduling appointments for designers with potential buyers the week after New York Fashion Week concluded, this year Bannigan’s team was able to help 20 new designers make the necessary contacts to grow a healthy customer base while gaining attention in the market.

Along their way, several top brand sponsors also signed on, including RUSK, a  trendsetter in the hair industry.

In constructing the Fashion Lounge, Bannigan and her team encountered similar challenges faced by hi tech startups. Although the Fashion and technology industries  appear to be worlds apart, they both require comparable business plans to grow effectively.

Expertise in the field of business, powerful relationships, venues that lead to sales, validation of their brand, money, and supportive partners are all essential components in taking a business from concept to realization.

Photo Credit: [http://blogs-images.forbes.com/victorhwang/files/2012/09/080-Nolcha-Fashion-Week-New-York-Fall-2012-IE3V0129.jpg]
The co-founder and president of Nolcha, Arthur Mandel, felt that this new venture was the perfect solution to expanding the concept of entrepreneurship to the fashion industry.

Although a “big show” held at the Lincoln Center generally costs designers approximately $100,000, the new approach provides a powerful platform for those trying to break into the industry without the excessive costs.

Despite scheduling the event after New York’s Fashion Week, those selected to participate are provided with ample opportunity to ensure their brand gets high visibility, and sometimes are even provided with equity stakes.

Photo Credit: [http://assets.nydailynews.com/polopoly_fs/1.1159006.1347625986!/img/httpImage/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/gallery_635/celebs-new-york-fashion-week.jpg]
With only a limited number of participants being selected, the Nolcha team scouts for talented designers with exceptional communication skills . After all, success in the fashion industry often hinges on verbalizing the power of your brand.

Great collections communicate a story to their wearers. Yet, designers cannot rely on their creations alone, they must also learn how to persuasively sway media, customers, and other key stakeholders into believing in their brand.

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