The Launch Pad AC x CFDA x LESGC

Building upon the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) and Accessories Council partnered initiative Elaine Gold Launch Pad (2017- 2020), which provided $700,000 in micro-grants and mentorship to 16 early emerging brands anchored by sustainability, innovation, and technology, The Launch Pad Program is designed to inspire commitment to sustainable innovation, youth culture, community building, and positive change.

The Launch Pad Program will provide $105,000 in micro-grants underwritten by Elaine Gold Foundation and mentorship to three (3) early-phase brand BIPOC female founders.

With the support of industry professionals, participants will learn how to navigate fashion’s complex supply chain and will be challenged to make responsible design and business decisions that integrate youth culture and community building through meaningful intergenerational learning and collaboration with the Lower Eastside Girl’s Club (LESGC).

Grant Size: $30,000 business grant
Resource Grant: up to $5000 (please see the program brief for approved areas of use)
Focused mentorship

Three (3) early-phase brand BIPOC female founders will participate in a 4–7-week virtual residency kicking off with a Welcome + Orientation in December 2022 and through February 2023 and will receive mentorship from industry professionals towards development of a micro-award, pitch-based presentation framing actionable goals.

In February 2023, resource grants of $5,000 will be provided to each brand. Funds can be only used towards sustainability investments, consultant wages, membership fees {Textile Exchange, HIGG index, etc.} etc.

In February 2023, participating brands will engage in a 7-week fashion / design program hosted at LESGC with a cohort of 10-15 girls. This will include after school programming for six (6) weeks and a design intensive over the course of Spring Break with a culminating showcase (E.g., a fashion show). Program dates: February 27 – April 14, 2023.

At the end of the program, business grants of $30,000 will be provided to each brand. Funds can be used towards any areas of need.


The Following qualifications must be met to apply for The Launch Pad program:

  • Fashion brands 0-3 years in businesses
  • Fashion Brands that specialize in any design/ product specialization including: Apparel, Accessories, Jewelry, and Footwear
  • Female {She/ Her/Hers} identifying BIPOC designers/ founders
  • Brands that have a strong interest in learning and growing within the areas of: Community Building, Supply Chain, Sustainability, and Youth Culture
  • American designers/founders
  • NY-based designers/founders or those able to participate in the 7-week program engagement in the Lower East Side from Feb-April 2022
  • Not a former Elaine Gold Launch Pad grantee

All program components require mandatory participation from the brand owner. Some meetings and presentations will be held digitally and others in-person. Participants will be given ample notice on all program dates. Please note that this program requires a time commitment of meeting 1 x weekly for 7 weeks at Lower Eastside Girl’s Club from February 27 to April 14, 2023.

Before applying, please review the information in the link below to ensure you meet all program qualifications, structure, selection processes, required information, timeline and more.

Application Guide: click here

Applications will be accepted from November 1st until Tuesday, November 15th 2022 until 7:00pm EST.
Late applications will not be accepted.


Please email both Kevin at and Emilyn at (please include the subject title “THE LAUNCH PAD PROGRAM + ” and we will answer as soon as possible.

Bond Hardware, Graham Tyler, Rui Zhou, Shanel, Tribe + Glory

Past Participants: Where are they now? Click HERE