GenArt, the incubator that nurtures up-and-coming new designers (and helped launch the careers of Zac Posen and Phillip Lim, among others), is in expansion mode. After a two year hiatus in which the organization lost its funding, then subsequently found new owners and a much-needed cash infusion, GenArt is looking for talent outside the US.
The organization's new global division, which aims to focus on cultural exchange in emerging markets, just took its first trip of many to Nairobi, Kenya. Africa is getting a lot of attention from the fashion industry lately. From L'Uomo Vogue's recent Africa-themed issue to e-commerce sites that feature African-made and -inspired products, it's clearly a market to watch.
"GenArt Global aims to be the ultimate connector between cultures, visionaries, artists, philanthropists and entrepreneurs," GenArt Global Director Martine Bury said. The initiative plans to focus on charity and conservation in the markets it scouts, as well as looking for talent. To that end, the trip to Nairobi included a clothes donation (courtesy of Alternative Apparel) to an orphanage and a fashion show featuring seven emerging African designers: Adele Dejak,Lalesso, Bella MATATA, Katungulu Mwendwa, Nike Kondakis, Modahnik and Aryam Designs. Two of these designers will travel to NYC to show at New York Fashion Week for the GenArt Fresh Faces fashion show. Former Entourage star Emmanuelle Chriqui and Israeli actress Noa Tishby went on the trip as well, as part of a mission to connect emerging markets with "entrepreneurs, influencers, and media." Chriqui said she was particularly taken with Katungulu Mwendwa's designs which she found to be "New York cool and very wearable."
The organization is planning future trips to China, Brazil, Australia and other regions of Africa. Click through to see more pictures from the show and visit.