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The clothing buyers and editors saw on the models wouldn't make it to stores until the following season. The management company behind NYFW (which for years was the Council of Fashion Designers of America until IMG took over in 2001) curated the event. As a result, only the holiest of brands, like Givenchy and Ralph Lauren, ruled the runways.
Enter MADE Fashion Week. The event producer and fashion incubator founded in 2009 disrupted the catwalk by giving emerging and edgier designers, like Jeremy Scott and The Blonds, their own show-hub in lower Manhattan. Jenne Lombardo, Keith Baptista and Mazdack Rassi created MADE in hopes of breathing life into a frayed industry. They curated their own fashion week lineup, giving a set of new creatives the space and resources to host a runway show during NYFW.
“We felt like we needed to build a program that provided resources for young designers to survive the economic crash,” says Rassi. “We put together a roster of 24 to 25 designers and opened our doors to them and allowed them to show, free of charge.”
It all started in 2009 when the Manhattan trio combined their backgrounds in marketing, branding and event production. Rassi, specifically, owned and ran Milk Studios in the Meatpacking District, a 6,000 square-foot gallery. He and his partners realized the raw space could also host back-to-back fashion shows. They enlisted sponsors like Intel and Lexus to underwrite the costs of production, giving their designers access to lighting, staging, sound and makeup.
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