Arizona’s East Valley may be seeing an influx of catwalks in the near future thanks to a new haven for local fashionistas. Along with their own foundation, Tempe entrepreneurs Angela Johnson and Sherri Barry have partnered with Arizona State University and the City of Tempe to launch an incubator for fashion designers.
The as-yet-unnamed incubator, located in the old Tempe Arts Center on Sixth Avenue, will open later this month. 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. About 50 people will fill the space immediately.
Barry, the founder and CEO of Arizona Fashion Source, told the Phoenix Business Journal that the goal of starting the incubator is to not only encourage local designers, but to educate them on what takes to get a business off the ground while supporting the local economy.
“This is a manufacturing facility for clothing,” Barry said. “We have a team of workers who are cross-trained to all of the steps of making clothing ready for market.”
Barry said the plan is to break the multi-century manufacturing mold and institute “apparel manufacturing 2.0.”
“This is high-end, quality workmanship,” she said. “The manufacturing team knows the client, they work with the product from design to pattern to prototype to production.”