For decades, when young fashion designers wanted to make it in the industry, the obvious decision was to pack up and move to New York, Paris, London or precious few other fashion-centric cities. Could Lansing be the next hot spot for aspiring designers?
If it sounds far-fetched, consider the fact that The Runway
, Lansing's forthcoming fashion business incubator isn't being created in the hopes that fashion talent will find their way to the city; it's to begin harnessing all of the fashion-based entrepreneurship that is already here.
"When Jeff Smith and I were came on, we were evaluating and were looking for a unique thing we don't have an incubator for yet," says Co-Director the New Economy Division for Lansing Economic Area Partnership
(LEAP). We kept running into people who were starting their own fashion lines. There are a number of people who are getting formally trained in this area, and there are lot more people who are dabbling in it on the side."
On track to open in January of 2014, The Runway will soon be under construction in an 8,200 square foot space in the Knapp's Building, including a floor level and mezzanine level. The first floor will offer a flexible space for the designers in residence to sell their work, as well as events. The mezzanine level will include 13 offices.
Not only is The Runway a great fit for a community with so much fashion talent, says Szymusiak, but also because of the very building it will be a part of.
"This is bringing fashion back to the most iconic department store in the area," he says. "The retail space for tenants will really bring that back to the Knapp's Building."
LEAP is the service provider for The Runway, which is funded by the Lansing Economic Development Corp.
Source: Ken Szymusiak, LEAP
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor