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Saks names ‘The New Wave’ emerging designers

By Danielle Wightman-Stone

May 25, 2022


Image: Saks
Saks has launched the second year of its emerging designer accelerator programme, ‘The New Wave,’ featuring eight new brands including Claude Kameni, Keeyahri, Ludovic de Saint Sernin, Nalebe, Sunni Sunni, Undra Celeste, Who Decides War, and Zeynap Arcay.

The accelerator programme was launched last year to develop and support high-potential independent brands in accelerating their growth at the designer retailer, as well as across the fashion industry, with an emphasis on BIPOC talent.

For the 2022 ‘The New Wave’ intake, Saks has selected six designers that are Black, Indigenous, or people of colour, as part of its diversity, equality and inclusion roadmap to increase total sales of Black-owned, -designed, or -led brands by nearly 100 million US dollars by 2023.

The participating designers were sourced from all categories, including men’s and “genderful” (gender-inclusive) brands, which are new to this year’s programme. They were all identified by the Saks leadership as brands that have “significant growth potential but require additional support to scale their businesses,” explained the retailer.

Saks to introduce 8 new emerging brands through its accelerator programme

Each designer taking part in the accelerator will be eligible to receive a 10,000 US dollars grant to support their business operations and growth, alongside dedicated marketing support from Saks. The retailer also added that the programme will also offer an onboarding bootcamp, cross-functional advisory sessions with leaders from across the Saks business, roundtable sessions with industry experts and designers and access to workshops to support brands with small business know-how.

For the second year in a row, Mastercard will serve as the presenting sponsor of ‘The New Wave,’ providing the designers with Digital Doors Toolkits, including exclusive tools and resources to help small businesses digitally transform and one-on-one mentorship.

In addition, United Airlines has signed up as the ‘New Wave’ programme’s travel partner, and the participating brands will have the opportunity to design the new Saks-branded day blanket that will appear on board the United flights in Polaris and business class flights. Leadership from Saks and United will serve as judges and select the winning brand.

Other partners of the initiative that will provide mentorship opportunities and entrepreneurial workshops throughout the year include the CFDA, Harlem’s Fashion Row, Launch Collective, NuOrder and Skypad.

Emerging Designers
Saks Fifth Avenue
The New Wave