11/12/13 7:00am

BF+DA provides an interdisciplinary work space that encourages designers to invent, collaborate, and innovate new enterprises. Rendering: Vicky Chan/Avoid Obvious

BF+DA provides an interdisciplinary work space that encourages designers to invent, collaborate, and innovate new enterprises. Rendering: Vicky Chan/Avoid Obvious

When 3rd Ward abruptly shuttered last month, Brooklyn’s design community found itself in sudden need of a new creative hub–and the Brooklyn Fashion and Design Accelerator looks to be its most likely successor.

The Accelerator isn’t just interested in fashion designers–product designers, filmmakers, photographers and media artists are also encouraged to apply–but it is looking for highly ambitious and talented people.

 BF+DA is set to launch in early 2014 and is currently accepting applications from environmentally and socially responsible startups. The Accelerator, which will occupy 15,000 square feet in the old Pfizer Building on Flushing Avenue on the South Williamsburg-Bed-Stuy border, was spearheaded by Pratt Institute, with additional funding from the city and state. It’s intended to help designers turn great ideas into viable business ventures by giving them access to workspace (both co-working and private studios); digital-manufacturing capabilities like a 3D rapid prototyping center, laser cutting machines, digital printing for textiles and multiple-gauge knitting machines; a resource library of sustainable materials; and a production facility where they can have one to 50 units of their products manufactured at a time. BF+DA will also have a plaza space, which can accommodate everything from lectures and conferences to runway shows, as well as on-site business development and legal services, industry mentors and classes in entrepreneurship.

The hope is that by combining digital and traditional production practices, startups will become successful and socially responsible at the same time. Designers will be asked to develop sustainable business practices like local sourcing, zero-waste production and upcycling materials.
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