The fashion industry is notorious for its exclusivity, and finding a way to break in may seem like mission impossible. When success is so dependent on who you know and who knows you, networking opportunities are an invaluable resource. While New York Fashion Week may be out of the question for many, there are events available that not only provide the opportunity to network with others in the industry, but also give experts the platform to share the tools necessary to launch successful careers in fashion. Here are five noteworthy conferences and workshops that do just that.
The Axis Trade Show was established by renowned fashion event organizer the Reed Fashion Group to provide a space for “creative individuals and entrepreneurs [to] come together to distill and discuss the trends shaping the fashion landscape.” With an emphasis on women’s brands, the event promotes cross-category merchandising, allowing participants to network and collaborate with other brands and companies that have overlapping markets, specifically within fashion lifestyle, action lifestyle, and home and beauty brands. The brands represented include Timberland, Reebok, OBEY Women’s, Mitchell and Ness Women’s, and Stussy Women. Attending trendsetters and advisers include Nike Global Concept Director Kristen Reiter, athlete Kassia Meador, and Style.com Fashion Market Director Rachel Wang. What makes the Axis trade show particularly unique is that it seeks to promote fashion in conjuncture with music and food, and even health and fitness activities, to present it as part of a collective culture. The event is hosted biannually in New York City in February and September.
Launched in 2011, The Workshop at Macy’s is a retail vendor development program that aims to give high potential minority and women business owners the preparation to succeed in retail. In collaboration with the renowned entrepreneurial school Babson College, the program was created to “foster growth in the next generation of minority and women-owned merchandise suppliers,” with the potential to partner with Macy’s as a vendor for the retail giant. Although the program is extremely competitive, it is free for companies that are chosen to participate. In its four year run, The Workshop has already proven to be successful and has helped to propel the exposure of companies such as LAMIK Beauty, Urban Intimates Lingerie, Alex Woo, The Lip Bar, and Fashion has Heart, whose owner Michael Hyacinthe has been featured on blackenterprise.com. The Workshop is held annually in New York City.
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