The Council of Fashion Designers of America (“CFDA”) and sponsor, Cadillac unveiled a new project on Tuesday evening: The Retail Lab. Described by the parties as “an innovative new program that provides tangible value to designers in a multifaceted way,” the Retail Lab will take the form of a custom retail shop located on the ground floor of Cadillac’s Soho, New York headquarters (where the MotorCity car manufacturer moved some of its team and former Audi executive-turned-Cadillac president, Johan de Nysschen, last year).
According to CFDA President Diane Von Furstenberg, there will be a rotation of designers selected in a competitive application process for the 2016/2017 term. Each designer will open the respective retail shop for three months and receive mentorship in the areas of business development, marketing and PR, starting with Timo Weiland design trio, Alan Eckstein, Donna Kang and Timo Weiland, this upcoming July. So, essentially - the Retail Lab is likely a stage-two or fast track version of the CFDA's two-year Fashion Incubator program with better real estate. In fact, we will likely see a number of Fashion Incubator grads in the mix. The Timo Weiland brand is one, after all.
“Our ongoing partnership with the CFDA represents Cadillac’s unwavering commitment to the fashion community and its growth,” said Melody Lee, Director, Brand Strategy & Planning at Cadillac. “Retail Lab will give designers a space in the heart of Cadillac’s headquarters, along with the tools, training and inspiration to take their business to the next level.”
In addition to covering costs associated with a retail space, such as real estate, display units, mannequins, signage and point of sale system, Cadillac will provide each designer with a $75,000 grant to put towards wholesale buys, sales support and marketing.