Showroom NY aims to help young designers

December 8, 2009 3:26:22 PM PST
It's not always easy to get your big break. Sometimes you need a little help. And for some New York fashion designers, there's a showroom that's helping them launch their careers.

Showrooms are a big part of the fashion industry. It's where boutique and department store representative, or buyers, go to choose the clothes they want to carry in their stores. But for emerging designers, showrooms are often cost-prohibitive. And that's where Showroom New York comes in.

"It's impossible to break into the market unless you have lots of money, rich parents or a backer," May Kosaka said. "It's definitely difficult for young designers."

Kosaka graduated from FIT last year, and she's showing her line, called Mothe, at Showroom New York.

"We are getting designers ready for market," Samantha Bhatty said.

Bhatty runs the showroom. It's not for profit and funded, in part, by a New York state grant. Only new designers may apply to show here, and to qualify, they have to make their lines in New York.

The showroom charges a 10 percent commission on sales, but in exchange, the designers get exposure and guidance.

Male designers are welcome, but right now all 15 designers are women.

The showroom has the tools to get buyers in, and for the designers, it's less expensive than showing at traditional showrooms. Plus, the Garment Center location is convenient.

And of course, the state wants designers to stay in New York. The showroom helps give them a platform, and the goal is that they fly on their own in two to three seasons.

Showroom New York opened two years ago, and already some designers are on their way, selling their lines at big stores. Showroom New York, by the way, even has sample sales.

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