Cadillac Launches Retail Store, Mentorship Program for Fashion Designers

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Cadillac’s headquarters in New York City will now be home to a retail shop featuring products by promising fashion designers selected through an application process. The automaker, in partnership with the Council of Fashion Designers of America, will provide the designers with mentorship opportunities and a $75,000 grant.

“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,” says Melody Lee, director of brand strategy and planning at Cadillac.

Lee says six designers will be part of the 2016-17 term, each opening their respective retail shop for three months while in the mentorship program. The first fashion designer showcased at Cadillac’s ground floor retail space will be Timo Weiland, whose shop will open to the public in early July. Weiland’s clothes have been worn by celebrities such as Kerry Washington, Elizabeth Banks, and Andrew Garfield.

Lee says Cadillac will cover the costs associated with a retail space, such as real estate, display units, mannequins, signage, and a point of sale system.

The CFDA and Cadillac have formed a team of experts across fashion, retail, business, and technology that make up the advisory board, who will curate the program curriculum, develop a Retail Lab handbook, and provide mentorship guidance. Members include designer Derek Lam; Robin Kramer, founder and president of Kramer Design Group; Simon Doonan, creative ambassador-at-large at Barneys New York; Stacey Bendet Eisner, CEO and creative director at Alice and Olivia; and designer Steven Alan.

"Every designer aspires to a freestanding retail experience that allows them to tell their brand story and connect directly with consumers,” says Steven Kolb, president and CEO of the CFDA. “Cadillac's commitment to the industry will help the selected designers make this a reality."

The application process for the Retail Lab opens today and runs through May 6. The five designers chosen by the advisory board will be announced at the end of May. To apply, click here

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