If I were Mayor, I would work with the City Council and Charleston’s Planning Commission to create Charleston’s own Fashion Incubator. The Charleston Fashion Incubator will provide a creative professional environment to nurture promising fashion talent in the Southeast. The goal is to help selected designers grow and sustain their businesses. By offering low-cost design studio space, business mentoring, educational seminars, and networking opportunities the incubator provides a way for participants to reach their full potential and become an integral part of the larger fashion community. The frustration for many independent designers in the apparel industry is how to navigate the complex global supply chain. Let us bring a portion of that supply chain to Charleston. The apparel industry is a multi-billion industry. Charleston has the potential to create its own mini garment district. Let us take a fresh look at the apparel supply chain and generate money that can be funneled into middle class jobs. There is the potential to integrate traditional, artisanal fabrication techniques with technology and possibly incorporate sustainability techniques. The center of operations would consist of work space rentals, product exhibits, contract sewn products manufacturing, equipment demonstrations, meeting space + communication center, and center administration services. Fee based revenue streams might come from product development, small run manufacturing, education + training, contract referral services and supply chain sourcing. Funding for the Charleston Fashion Incubator will be a public-private partnership with assistance of grants. The Charleston Fashion Incubator will develop long lasting relationships with existing suppliers and manufacturers as it is a commodity to maintain positive relationships with the heads of the industry. The Incubator will impact the larger community, not just those directly working in the apparel industry. The incubator will reach out to small machine repair men/women, technologists, lawyers, web designers, accountants, marketing agents and more. We have potential to create a program that strengthens the City of Charleston. Charleston is the perfect location for such a program because this city has a robust art scene, cherishes history and artisanal craftsmanship is a way of life. Fashion tells a story. What will Charleston’s story be?