About the “The Fashion Gate”
The Athens Fashion Business Incubator “The Fashion Gate” is a creation of the Fashion Designer Maria Vytinidou, CEO of the innovative Fashion School “AthensFashionClub” and Evangelos Dimitrakopoulos, Textile Engineer M. Sc. with long experience in the apparel and textile industry as well as in higher education as a Lecturer.
In 2015 they recognized the potential wide reach of Athens and generally the Greek fashion industry. “The fashion gate” is the only Fashion Incubator – Cluster in Greece. Created in 2016 to respond to the need for a Metropolitan Fashion Business Centre, which will promote the Greek Fashion and talents outside the country’s borders giving to the new fashion designers step in innovation, cooperation, fair competition and extroversion.
Realizing the significant impact that fashion has on the local economy, they envisioned fashion as a driver for job creation, cultural growth, trade development, and tourism. Building on Greek’s long manufacturing heritage (many apparel companies succeed in the past) and the city’s good acclaimed design schools, the idea was to have a place that used the resources and opportunities available in Athens to help aspiring local fashion designers build sustainable businesses that can compete in the local, in the European and why not, in the global fashion industry. This was the inspiration and the AFBI “The Fashion Gate” was born.
AFBI “The Fashion Gate” is located in a 2,250 square foot (250 square meter) on the 1st floor at 10, George str. building in the city center of Athens. The space, was leased and funded exclusively by the Fashion Designer Maria Vytinidou to create this Fashion Entrepreneur Center. The Fashion Gate is comprised of a manufacturing workroom equipped with cutting tables, sewing machines, atelier, drawing room, and pressing positions where designers produce their sample collections. Each designer shares a private office equipped with computer and printer. A large room serves as a photo studio for photo shooting their collections and a sun-drenched multi-media room serves as a showroom for buyer presentations, or a place to hang out in and find inspiration about fashion’s next big idea. There is also a large room of lectures and educational programs which may attend the new designers – residences.
About the needs of the emerging designers
Until now it has been shown that the greatest need of Fashion Designers community is education associated with entrepreneurship. It is common for most educational fashion programs at private colleges and universities do not include any kind of entrepreneurship education.
The designers graduating from various fashion schools only with knowledge to work as employees. They know how to design, but do not know how to start and create their own Brand. Most fashion designers may have their own design lines, but does not know basic things about purchasing, invoicing, creating brand (branding), the strategic positioning in the market, product promotion techniques (marketing), costing the collection, optical product promotion or otherwise visual merchandising (visual merchandising) etc .
Simultaneously other needs generated for the new Fashion Designers before they operate commercially. There is a need for them to have a physical place to house their collections, in other words a business area with assistance benefits in their first at least steps to promote their products to buyers and at the same time be guided safely in creation of a business model, sustainable and competitive in the Greek and International market.
With attitude of responsibility to a problem and an opportunity at the same time for our country’s talents, Evangelos Dimitrakopoulos and Mary Vytinidou created the first and only nationwide Athens Fashion Business Incubator “The Fashion Gate”, namely the first “Fashion Incubator” hosting and develop new business Designers categories of apparel, accessories, jewelry and footwear.
Creation of a Metropolitan Fashion Centre which will promote Greek Fashion beyond the borders of the country, giving step to innovation, cooperation, fair competition and extraversion.
The mission of the AFBI “The Fashion Gate” is to make meaningful economic impact in Athens by giving fashion designers technical product development and business tools and training to create innovative products and launch globally competitive businesses based in Athens or in any other place in Greece.
AFBI “The Fashion Gate” accelerates emerging apparel and accessories design businesses while supporting fashion industry economic growth and job creation in Athens and generally in Greece. Participants receive individualized mentoring from fashion industry experts and business development professionals. We help members stay current on industry trends through educational courses and access to our programs that bring together the regional design community. We offer low-cost design studio space, a showroom and high-profile opportunities to showcase new lines. Athens Fashion Business Incubator “The Fashion Gate” is for entrepreneurs who are serious about creating their new or scaling their existing businesses.
The Designer-in-residence programm
- Participation in the educational 12 months business development program with weekly coursework in order to create the work model of any existing or new designer business (Atelier couture, retail, commercial wholesale company, shop, etc.).
- Coaching (Mentoring) for each Designer-in-Residence separately from the Responsible Officer who undertakes the development.
- Participation in exhibitions through “The Fashion Gate” and promotion of their collections to buyers.
- Participation in Fashion weeks and other Fashion events local and abroad.
- Participation in contests
- Display of the Collection of each designer and promotion to buyers.
- Promotion for sale of each Designer’s Collection through the New Designers e-shop, the online store of “The Fashion Gate»
About our work
Athens Fashion Business Incubator “The Fashion Gate” uses innovative solutions to mentor and promote fashion entrepreneurs by bridging the gap between design education and business enterprise. It provides design and business development training to Athens’ and generally Greece’s fashion entrepreneurs through mentorship, workshops and seminars. Its Designer-In-Residence program mentors up to ten business start-ups at a time for 1 year providing each with work and office space equipped with the technology and production equipment to design, make, and market their products to the trade and the end consumer. The mentorship and support comes from design experts who provide creative direction for developing full seasonal product collections, technicians that teach modern methods for making and grading patterns, producing samples, and managing production, textile engineers for the best choice of fabrics and sustainable materials, and business professionals for legal, financial, and marketing acumen that give the emerging entrepreneurs the know-how and confidence to critically-think through the challenges of launching a business.
The target group
The main professional groups served by AFBI “The Fashion Gate” are fashion designers, aspiring entrepreneurs interested in the starting business in the fashion industry, and students or graduates of design schools. In addition to its residency and mentoring program, AFBI “The Fashion Gate” hosts public workshops and seminars on topics aimed to educating fashion designers and entrepreneurs on industry and business best practices. It collaborates with design schools on service projects. Additionally, AFBI “The Fashion Gate” holds informational meetings and tours with schools, colleges, universities and private organizations interested in learning about the opportunities to launch a fashion business.
Why participating in the incubation programme?
Thinking of starting your own fashion business? Here are a number of good reasons to apply for the first and only Fashion Incubator in Greece, “The Fashion Gate”. Athens Fashion Business Incubator “The Fashion Gate” provides a creative professional environment to foster promising fashion talent, and help selected designers grow and sustain their business. By offering low-cost design studio space, business mentoring, educational seminars, and networking opportunities, the program provides a way for participants to reach their full potential and become an integral part of the Athens fashion community.
AFBI “The Fashion Gate” members have access to a showroom to exhibit their work, to labs to develop their collections and to educational programs to grow their business. The greatest need of our fashion design community is business-related education. It is common for college-level fashion programs to not include any type of business education. Designers graduate with the means to only work for others. They know how to design, but they don’t know how to become entrepreneurs. Most of the local fashion designers we interact with wish to have their own lines, but don’t know the first thing about sourcing, pricing, branding, etc. Our incubator, which hosts up to 10 designers at a time, for a one year period, will overcome those limitations, giving the designers the know-how to successfully launch a brand.
By way of our four-level programme offering, “The Fashion Gate” provides expert guidance in the fields of finance, legal, manufacturing, and marketing. From strategic advice on progressive business solutions to be spoke mentoring from industry leaders and key influencers. “The Fashion Gate” provides the tools to boost brand confidence – for designers, manufacturers and buyers, to ultimately reach economic sustainability.
STYL-KABO, Brno, Czech Republic
International Fashion/ Footwear / Leatherware Fair Fair
The emerging designers, all graduates of AthensFashionClub Fashion School startuppers of ‘The Fashion Gate’ , launched for the first time their fashion brands and exhibited their collections to the buyers of central Europe.
STYL Fashion Fair is the business and commercial peak of the fashion industry. It is where exhibitors from all over Europe offer and present new brands, novelties and fashion trends in clothing from each field to professionals. Alongside classic fashion there are also collections from established Czech and European fashion designers as well as the up and coming generation of fashion designers.
Gallery STYL-KABO 2017
Gallery STYL-KABO 2018