Rachel Ford reaps what she sews at her newly expanded fashion design studio.
Later this year, Rachel Ford will move her Made Institute design studio to a permanent home in the Spring Arts District, complete with state-of-the-art machinery and a new co-working space.
When Opera Philadelphia and Free People alum Rachel Ford started Made in 2012, the designer’s goal was to provide continuing education to Philly’s growing fashion community. This year, the studio relaunched as the Made Institute at a new Old City address but plans are already underway to move to an even larger Spring Arts space by fall.
How does the Made Institute differ from a traditional fashion program? “We’re not a school; we offer a full-circle ecosystem that provides a high-level fashion education, business community, and resources to emerging designers.”
How has the fashion designer of today evolved? “Instead of pursuing a four-year degree and working for a corporate fashion company, designers are coming from other fields, looking to make a mark of their own.”
Talk about the business education side. “We focus on the entrepreneurial experience, offering classes that get designers ready to launch. In addition to technical knowledge, they’ll have websites, social media platforms, business cards, tech packs, product samples, business licenses, and business plans all before our annual runway show.”
What niche do you think Made fills in the Philly fashion scene? “The only thing lacking in the Philly fashion scene was just that—the scene! So many designers are working independently in their small studios, feeling disconnected from any sense of community and guidance. I want Made to connect the dots.” 305 Cherry St., 855-623-3745