Photo: Gregg Richards

Special Guest Fashion Academy Aluma Elin Wilder, Fashion Purveyor for the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Innovative Program for Fashion Designers is the Only One of Its Kind in the Nation With Lead Instructor Project Runway All-Star Benjamin Mach And BPL Business Librarians

The Library’s Fashion Academy presented a runway show on Friday from the Central Library Plaza, showcasing the collections designed by the class of 2022. The academy is the only library-based fashion program in the country.

Over 200 people attended the show which also featured the designs of Elin Wilder, a graduate of the class of 2020, who now works as a fashion purveyor for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.

The 12-week intensive educational program begins with a competitive application process. The  Library provides participants free classes, studio time, business resources and contact with industry professionals to help designers produce their collections, source materials and market their brands. The academy is led by business librarians with Project Runway All-Star Benjamin Mach serving as lead instructor.

This year’s class included people of all backgrounds and a variety of ages, with participants in their 20s and some in their 60s. One aspiring designer who works in park conservation is bringing the principles of sustainability into his designs, using only upcycled and recycled materials in his collection. Another broke into the industry after working as an administrative assistant—a job she says she was terrible at—and joined the academy to learn how market her wedding dress and evening wear designs.

This year’s theme was American Fashion en Vogue. Each designer was assigned a particular era and a conflict in that time period from which to draw inspiration.

BKLYN Fashion Academy was developed through BKLYN Incubator, the library’s program empowering staff to develop new public programs from the ground up with community partners. The Incubator is behind some of the Library’s most popular initiatives including the musical instrument lending library, BKLYN Robotics League, board game exchange, and the cookmobile.

“The Library’s Fashion Academy is a testament to hard work and the value of partnership. In just a few years, with nothing more than persistence and determination, our business and career staff introduced themselves to the fashion world, formed partnerships and developed one of the finest fashion education programs in the country. And the BKLYN Fashion Academy runway show is one of the best events in the borough all year long,” said a Library spokesperson.

Program partners include NYC EDC, Brooklyn Style Foundation (BK|SF), FABSCRAP, Fashion Week Brooklyn (fw|BK), FABSCRAP, Behind the Rack, Major Face LLC, and Mach School of Design with Project Runway’s Ben Mach.

About Brooklyn Public Library
Brooklyn Public Library is one of the nation’s largest library systems and among New York City’s most democratic institutions. As a leader in developing modern 21st century libraries, we provide resources to support personal advancement, foster civic literacy, and strengthen the fabric of community among the more than 2.6 million individuals who call Brooklyn home. We provide nearly 65,000 free programs a year with writers, thinkers, artists, and educators—from around the corner and around the world. And we give patrons millions of opportunities to enjoy one of life’s greatest satisfactions: the joy of a good book.