When we think of New York Fashion Week, we often think of supermodels and international brands like Calvin Klein and Donna Karan, but during the Spring and Fall collections there are numerous independent fashion shows going on all over the city.
One of the premier fashion week events is Nolcha Shows, providing the best opportunity for independent fashion designers to showcase their collections to a global audience of press, retailers, stylists and industry influencers. The showcase consistently receives positive media coverage, including features in Forbes, Wall Street Journal, Entrepreneur, New York Times, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, NBC and Inc and supported by brands including smartwater, Rusk, Vitamin Water, American Airlines, Don Q Rums and Landrover.
In an interview with Co-founder and CEO Kerry Bannigan, she explains why independent designers should consider using Nolcha Fashion Week to launch their collections during New York Fashion Week.
Q & A with Nolcha Fashion Week’s Kerry Bannigan
Heather Petrey: What got you into fashion?
Kerry Bannigan: I moved to New York City from England in my early twenties and was quickly connected to independent fashion designers via contacts. My background is in communications, events and marketing. I soon learned that there was a gap in the market.
HP: Why did you start Nolcha Fashion Week and when?
KB: After speaking to many fashion designers, I learned that one of their main obstacles in business growth is showcasing during New York Fashion Week, which is a key time in the fashion market. Due to the high costs, lack of contacts and non-expertise to produce runway shows, independent fashion designers struggle to exhibit or introduce their brand to industry contacts. Many times, [independent designers] face not being discovered for that season.
We created Nolcha Fashion Week in 2007, held during New York Fashion Week, for independent fashion designers to showcase their collections to a global audience of press, retailers, stylists and industry influencers.
HP: Why the name “Nolcha”?
KB: My business partner Arthur Mandel and I wanted a name that stood alone; not necessarily aligning specifically with fashion. We aimed to create our own definition around our business services and even tools that could be expanded to other creative sectors. ‘Nolcha’ is a feminine name of Native American origin that means ‘the sun’. It is enlightening, rising and positive.
HP: What sets Nolcha Fashion Week apart from NYFW?
KB: It is not the goal of Nolcha Fashion Week to compete with New York Fashion Week, but instead to be a landmark for independent fashion designers to get a foothold in the market. Whether [it is] to launch their brand, introduce their collection or use a cost-effective professional platform for a certain growth period of their business.
Nolcha Fashion Week [showcases the designs of] independent, innovative, cutting-edge fashion designers from around the globe. We aim to be a platform of discovery, specifically with the international brands that are on our runway.
HP: What do you hope to accomplish with Nolcha Fashion Week?
KB: We aim to continue to grow as a key showcase of New York Fashion Week, and to receive the positive support from media, sponsors, retailers, industry decision makers and celebrities. Nolcha Fashion Week will continue to be the professional hub for independent fashion designers, offering a range of cost-effective options to increase [their brand’s] recognition and develop their business.
Fashion Mingle regularly covers Nolcha Shows to report on emerging designers from the apparel and accessory world. Follow our latest fashion week coverage from featured designers and our fashion photographers covering the shows. If you’re interested in debuting your latest collection during Nolcha’s fashion week showcase, you can visit their website to apply to present during their runway events or in their exclusive fashion lounge.
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