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ASOS and FMR team up to launch incubator for ethnic-minority owned fashion brands

Lauretta Roberts
01 June 2023

ASOS and the (Fashion) Minority Report have joined forces to launch their inaugural incubator programme, scaleUP, an initiative to help bridge the gap between the fashion industry and ethnic minority-owned brands.

The initiative follows the publication of a report from London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which found that Black and Asian people face hurdles in setting up and running businesses, including struggling to access funding. It also found that ethnic minority-owned businesses have lower success rates compared to their white counterparts.

ScaleUP has been designed to address these challenges by removing barriers and providing access to funding and support. 

The programme will provide two successful candidates with insight and guidance from leading industry experts, wholesale opportunities, including the launch of one collection available exclusively on ASOS, and one year of mentorship from business leaders. The two successful businesses will also have the opportunity to pitch for up to £20,000 of funding each to support their growth. 

In addition, the programme will also onboard up to five additional emerging brands who will benefit from workshops, talks, and the opportunity to showcase their brand as part of the February 2024 scaleUP press and buyers showroom. 

The (Fashion) Minority Report was established by menswear designer Daniel Peters in 2020 to increase diversity within the fashion industry, in particular to improve the rate of hires of BAME / POC and female professionals.

Speaking about the launch of scaleUP, Peters said: “As any brand founder knows, the path to success in the fashion industry can often feel challenging, but as someone who is an ethnic minority, the barriers are often greater to break through.

"Through our partnership with ASOS, we can’t wait to deliver a programme that provides opportunities, and the relevant building blocks for scalability to ethnic minority business owners.”

Peters will form part of the judging panel for scaleUP, which also includes: Vanessa Spence, Senior Creative Director, ASOS; Jordan Mitchell, Co-Founder of Good Culture Inc; Navi Ahluwalia, Editor, Hypebae; Antonia Omisesan, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer, Gbemi; Nick King, Director of Fashion Jewellery, Home & Lifestyle, Rainbowwave; and Jo Hunt, Head of Partner Brands, ASOS. More judges are set to be announced soon.

ASOS' Vanessa Spence said ASOS: “ASOS is passionate about enhancing diversity within the fashion industry by dismantling the obstacles encountered by ethnic minority-owned brands. We want to both empower established businesses with a promising vision and nurture emerging talent seeking that extra boost to get into the industry. Through ScaleUP, we’re searching for vibrant, captivating brands that resonate with our fashion-loving ASOS customers and are highly trend-led, relevant, and fashionable, at accessible prices." 

Applications for scaleUP are open until 9 July. FMR and ASOS are calling for ethnic minority founders of UK-based fashion brands (whether Ready to Wear (RTW) Womenswear, RTW Menswear, or Accessories), who have been running their business for less than 5 years, to apply. 

To apply for scaleUP click here.

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