Tempe could skirt NYC as hub for fashionista flair

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Fashion designer is drawing a fashion sketch for autumn-winter season
Fashion designer is drawing a fashion sketch for autumn-winter season

Look out New York and Los Angeles: Tempe has its sights set on creating its own one-of-a-kind fashion hub.

LabelHorde, Arizona Fashion Source and Arizona Apparel Foundation have teamed up with the city of Tempe in the innovative endeavor.

And hang on to your designer hats: the fashion business incubator is slated to open at the end of this month.

“Tempe is known as a creative, innovative city,” said Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell.

“Thanks to LabelHorde, Arizona Fashion Source and Arizona Apparel Foundation, the world’s next Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren or Vera Wang could come from Tempe and this fashion incubator.”

Angela Johnson, founder of LabelHorde, noted that the Valley is home to “incredible designers and fashion-centric businesses. We want to create a fashion industry environment to make it easier for Arizona students, brands and fashion lovers to learn, source, create, network and ultimately stay in Arizona.”

Housed in the Tempe Performing Arts Center, the three organizations will work together, combining their expertise to support local visionaries and entrepreneurs by taking fashion from beginning to end.

That includes everything from business consulting to design services and apparel manufacturing.

For local brands, it means eliminating a stubborn wrinkle: they’ll no longer have to look outside the state for manufacturing services.

It also means that new brands may be attracted to Tempe. And that, say supporters, spells jobs and revenue for the city, something that’s always in style.

The new fashion center is on deck to create eight jobs immediately, with many more to follow as the fashion hub becomes established.

More than a dozen independent designer brands will work out of the space, as will several photographers, videographers and fabric printers. Six companies will receive scholarships to work in this fashion hub each year and approximately 50 people will fill this space immediately.

Arizona students studying to work in the fashion industry will now have the opportunity for local hands-on training and employment.

“In the U.S., there are only about a dozen similar manufacturing facilities, but none are quite like what’s happening in Tempe,” said Sherri Barry, founder of Arizona Fashion Source.

“The distinctive combination of services will create unprecedented opportunities for both new and existing Arizona-based companies that are looking for ways to keep their business local, sustainable and socially responsible.”

No-cost classes will be open to the public and will include everything from sewing to sketching and marketing.

Local residents can expect to see fashion shows on Mill Avenue and inside the new facility, but the fruits of the fashion incubator won’t be limited to the red carpet.

The Arizona Apparel Foundation has partnered with the 2016 Tempe Fall Festival of the Arts to bring local designer clothing and fashion shows to the event.

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