The 10 Designer Recipients of NYFW Small Business Grants – WWD




Empire State Development, in partnership with IMG, has revealed the 10 recipients awarded funding through the $500,000 New York Fashion Week Small Business Grant.

Each of the 10 small, independent fashion designers will be awarded up to $50,000 to offset eligible show production costs for New York Fashion Week’s September 2022 season.

The grant awardees are AnOnlyChild, Barragan, Batsheva, Deveaux New York, Elena Velez, Fe Noel, Interior, Studio 189, Theophilio, and Willy Chavarria.

“The grant feels really important because it helps us designers do something we love, which is to create live experiences. In a time when we are being told only digital matters, it is great to get support and to be encouraged to show our clothes in person,” said Batsheva Hay of Batsheva.

Batsheva Hay

Batsheva Hay
Lexie Moreland/WWD

Maxwell Osborne, founder of AnOnlyChild, said, “We are thrilled to receive this grant to help us bring our vision for AnOnly Child to life. This will be the first time we are showing to the public so as a new, small company any and all support is very much appreciated. We are grateful to ESD and IMG for being there with us from the beginning of this journey.”

Maxwell Osborne

Maxwell Osborne
Lexie Moreland/WWD

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, New York’s City’s fashion industry employed 4.6 percent of the city’s workforce, generating approximately $11 billion in wages. The New York Fashion Week Small Business Grant aims to support the vibrant return of New York’s fashion industry while enabling independent New York-based designers to participate in recovery efforts.

 Designers who produce shows during a major fashion week like NYFW often generate global exposure, demonstrating the potential of using NYFW as a global platform to support business growth and tradable sectors.

“It’s no secret that young brands don’t have a ton of disposable marketing dollars. The grant gives us an opportunity to share our perspective with the world – we wouldn’t be here without this kind of support,” said Lily Miesmer, who co-founded Interior with Jack Miner in 2021.

Jack Miner and Lily Miesmer

Jack Miner and Lily Miesmer of Interior
Jenna Greene for WWD

Hope Knight, president and chief executive officer of Empire State Development said, “The New York Fashion Week Small Business Grant will support diverse and emerging New York-based fashion businesses, encouraging the post-pandemic revitalization of the State’s fashion industry, which it vital to the jobs, economy and creative energy of New York City. In collaboration with IMG, we are proud to help small business fashion designers showcase their work in New York – the fashion capital of America.”

According to Noah Kozlowski, director of designer relations and development at IMG, the criteria, established with Empire State Development, is the designer has to be in business two years, headquartered in New York, have participated in NYFW for two consecutive seasons, have no more than 30 full-time employees, and generate no more than $2 million in annual global gross revenues in 2019, 2021 and within projections for 2022. Lastly, they needed to provide a strong use case for how they would use the funds and how it would help them bring their shows to the next level.

Fe Noel, Felisha Noel

Felisha Noel, Fe Noel

The money has to be used specifically for production of their spring 2023 fashion show.

Kozlowski said the 10 designers are a diverse roster spanning various categories, including womenswear and menswear, and some of them also create accessories.


Willy Chavarria of Willy Chavarria.

Willy Chavarria
Courtesy of Willy Chavarria

“As a company we’re committed to supporting the designer community and providing them with resources to make it more efficient for them to show,” said Kozlowski. “Designers who participate in NYFW also generate global exposure, demonstrating the potential of using NYFW as a global platform to provide business growth. As part of our commitment to the designer community, we’re supporting the vibrant return of New York’s fashion industry. We’re also giving back to 10 designers who have shown their commitment to utilizing NYFW as a global platform,” he said. “This is a small step for a big impact that we hope to continue implementing in the future.”

Kozlowski said the designers can use whatever production company they want for their shows. A lot of the production costs will be reimbursable through this grant, and designers will receive funding toward production line items and need to submit receipts. IMG’s production arm is available to them if they’re interested. They also have  the opportunity to show at Spring Studios, but it’s not a requirement. “We’re really excited for these designers to use the city as their playground, to showcase the new collections,” he said.

Leslie Russo, president of IMG’s fashion events and properties, said: “With New York as the capital of American fashion and our global reputation for incubating the best next generation of fashion brands, IMG is committed to helping the designer community flourish and grow. We are grateful to Governor Hochul and Empire State Development for showing up and taking action on behalf of New York’s fashion industry. The New York Fashion Week Small Business Grant helps to ensure we will continue to foster vibrant, diverse talent and uplift independent fashion businesses as they develop and thrive right here in New York.”


Leslie Russo

Leslie Russo
courtesy shot.

The New York Fashion Week Small Business Grant follows the formation of the IMG Fashion Alliance, first launched in September 2021 to support the post-pandemic revitalization of New York Fashion Week. New York State played key roles in supporting the initiative, including making state venues like Moynihan Train Hall and Robert F. Wager Jr. Park available to designers to showcase their collections. This initiative will continue, said Kozlowski.

As reported, the 11 launch partners who participated in IMG Fashion Alliance for three seasons are Joseph Altuzarra of Altuzarra,  Brandon Maxwell, Jason Wu, LaQuan Smith, Alexandra O’Neill of Markarian, Fernando Garcia and Laura Kim of Monse, Prabal Gurung, Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez of Proenza Schouler, Kate and Laura Mulleavy of Rodarte, Sergio Hudson and Telfar.

IMG’s Fashion Events & Properties division will host a reception for the New York Fashion Week Small Business Grant recipients at its new headquarters at 512 West 22nd Street tonight on the rooftop.

New York Fashion Week takes place Sept. 9 to 14 with the official hub at Spring Studios in lower Manhattan, with content distributed across and @NYFW channels.


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