Business leaders celebrate new incubator program in D.C. (Courtesy photo)
Business leaders celebrate new incubator program in D.C. (Courtesy photo)

The entrepreneurial spirit remains alive and well in the District – this time thanks to Macy’s Inc. who recently unveiled a fourth location of the highly-successful DC Fashion Incubator [DCFI] at Macy’s Metro Center.

It’s a City-established fashion design initiative devoted to supporting and promoting emerging fashion designers while encouraging local designers to grow and maintain their businesses in the Greater Washington Area.

The collaborative program, created in 2009 by Christine Brooks-Cropper, provides designers the workspace and resources needed to run successful fashion companies.

One Macy’s executive said the addition of the District to the program makes good business sense.

“DCFI at Macy’s Metro Center joins an elite portfolio of Macy’s stores in downtown Chicago, Philadelphia and San Francisco that have successful City-established Fashion Incubator programs in residence,” said Terry J. Lundgren, chairman and CEO of Macy’s Inc.

“As an advocate for creating a strong support system for emerging designers to succeed in the fashion marketplace and to strengthen local economic development by fashion businesses, I am very proud of Macy’s commitment to dedicating talent, training and workroom space where available within our stores. This is a cooperative effort between public and private partnerships and these locally-based Fashion Incubators are essential to helping designers build their brand and sustain a business in the fashion and retail industries,” Lundgren said.

The year-long program at DCFI will provide the selected Designers-in-Residence with office space, a production room and shared showroom space/conference room.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser called the initiative a “boon to our creative economy.”

“This is yet another example of how this Administration is creating pathways to the middle class for all District residents,” Bowser said.

DCFI’s executive director of operations, noted that while New York remains the capital of fashion, significant opportunities exist in cities like Washington, D.C., particularly when hopeful designers receive adequate support and education about the industry and related processes for growth.

“Our goal is to foster the growth of designers as leaders of small businesses by providing the training, mentoring and resources [they] need to be successful,” said Shaka King.

Designers chosen by DCFI’s Selection Committee, a combination of representatives from local fashion and business sectors, consist of six locally-based designers as well as two designers from Peru and Ghana identified and supported through a cultural business exchange between the two countries and the District.

To learn more about sponsorships, program details and the application process, email Christine Brooks-Cropper at

D. Kevin McNeir – Senior Editor

Dominic Kevin McNeir is an award-winning journalist with more than 25 years of service for the Black Press (NNPA). Prior to moving East to assist his aging parents in their struggles with Alzheimer’s,...

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