Fashion Alumna Amanda Stearns Named 2015 Macy’s Fashion Incubator Designer

New Macy’s Philadelphia Fashion Incubator designer-in-residence Amanda Stearns (left) shows a sweater from her knitwear collection.

Philadelphia University fashion design alumna Amanda Stearns ’14 has joined the Macy’s Philadelphia Fashion Incubator class of 2015 as a designer-in-residence.

“I am overjoyed and honored to be accepted into the Macy’s Incubator program,” Stearns said. “This opportunity will expand my financial knowledge and business acumen.”

Over the next year, Stearns will develop her self-named line of men’s knit sweaters, Stearns. She said her nature-inspired pieces add a touch of elegance and luxury that elevate comfortable clothing to a new level of sophistication.

“The Stearns line will appeal to consumers looking for environmentally friendly clothing,” she said. “The natural fibers used in the construction of the garments are eco-friendly, and Stearns will be adding a line of vegan knitwear in the near future.”

“Amanda’s beautiful hand-knit sweaters were a tremendous standout at last year’s Fashion Show,” said Sheila Connelly, PhilaU’s fashion design program director. “She is uniquely talented and focused on starting her own company. As a designer-in-residence she will learn critical skill sets that will help move her that much closer to launching her own brand.”

Stearns joins the fourth class of designers in the Macy’s Fashion Incubator, a one-year program that supports the growth of Philadelphia fashion businesses with workspace, a curriculum, mentoring and other resources. Graduates from PhilaU’s fashion design program have participated in each class of designers.

Ed Goldberg ’65, senior vice president of external affairs for Macy’s, welcomed the new designers-in-residence at a Feb. 26 event at Macy’s Center City. The Incubator program is sponsored by Macy’s in collaboration with fashion design programs at Philadelphia University, Drexel University and Moore College of Art and Design.

“The Fashion Incubator has turned out to be much greater than we even thought,” Goldberg said. “I know some of our graduates will be in the spotlight in the future.”

Jovan O'Connor (middle) graduates from the  Macy's Philadelphia Fashion Incubator program.

Jovan O’Connor (middle) graduates from the Macy’s Philadelphia Fashion Incubator program.

At the Macy’s event, the outgoing class of Incubator fashion designers, including PhilaU alumna Jovan O’Connor ’06, was also recognized.

O’Connor said her year in the Fashion Incubator was an amazing experience. “I’ve learned so much while I’ve been here about running a business,” she said. “I went from being a designer who made one dress for one person at a time to a fully sustainable fashion brand and company with wholesale accounts.”

During her residency, O’Connor further developed her self-named firm, Jovan O’Connor, which she describes as a chic clothing line for young, professional women with busy lifestyles. Recently, she garnered attention for designing an elegant red gown that “Real Housewives of Atlanta” star Cynthia Bailey wore on the Go Red runway at New York Fashion Week. Read more.

O’Connor said she currently is working to produce her fall 2015 line. Her apparel is sold at several local boutiques including Joan Shepp in Center City.

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