NYC and Mayor Bloomberg Launch Project PopUp, A Fashion Tech Start-up Competition

New York at STORY | Photo: Matthew Scrivens

NEW YORK, United States — Today, the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), in collaboration with Manhattan-based concept store STORY, founded by Rachel Shechtman, is set to launch Project PopUp NYC, a competition that offers the city’s most promising fashion retailers and technology start-ups the opportunity to win prizes including a temporary pop-up shop, PR and marketing support and valuable business mentoring to coincide with New York Fashion Week in September.

“Project Pop-Up NYC will enable emerging New York City-based fashion retailers and fashion technology companies to gain critically important exposure, helping them to join the next generation of leaders within this important sector,” said New York City Economic Development Corporation President Seth W. Pinsky. “By providing the opportunity to sell merchandise from a unique pop-up store, while also offering mentorship and business development training, this program will help these companies take their businesses to the next level.”

Up to three fashion retailers and eight fashion technology companies will receive space at STORY, in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighbourhood, this September, with 100 percent of the sales going to the winning start-ups. The winners will also receive a tool kit of business services valued at $25,000 and exposure at key industry events. Judges for the competition include fashion designer Norma Kamali; Brandon Holley, editor-in-chief of Lucky magazine; Vanessa von Bismarck, founder of Bismarck Phillips Communications & Media (BPCM); Andy Dunn, chief executive officer of Bonobos; and Shana Fisher, managing partner of High Line Venture Partners.

“Having made the decision to call NYC home for Bonobos has been one of the critical factors in our success,” said Dunn. “Access to amazing talent, a supportive startup community, and the fact that it’s the fashion capital were not only the key drivers in the initial decision but what has kept us here and enabled us to flourish, and this is why I am excited to be part of Project Pop-Up.”

The project is part of Mayor Bloomberg’s Fashion.NYC.2020 initiative, launched in January 2010 with the aim to help sustain and grow the fashion industry in New York, which currently employs 173,000 people, accounting for over 5.7 percent of the city’s workforce and generating nearly $10 billion in wages annually, according to figures provided by NYCEDC. The initiative seeks to solidify New York’s position as a hub of design and retail innovation and help attract the next generation of design, management and merchant talent.

The six part plan also includes a fashion production fund to finance local production, a ‘fashion draft’ designed to help business-minded fashion students find management track positions, mentoring opportunities for rising stars in fashion management, fashion career fairs and an mini-MBA program for emerging designers. NYCEDC program chairs involved in the project include fashion industry heavyweights like Diane von Furstenberg; Terry Lundgren, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Macy’s, Inc.; Andrew Rosen, chief executive officer of Theory; and Kevin Ryan, chief executive officer of Gilt Groupe.

For more information about Project Pop-Up and to submit your company, visit projectpopupnyc.com.  Applications are due no later than 30 July 2012.