A self-taught artist and designer, Bryn Mawr’s Elissa Bloom has helped fashion hopefuls around the globe. She’s worked in home-product development for Bloomingdales, and she successfully launched her Elissa Bloom New York accessories collection, which featured purses, clutches, totes and other bags sold at Nordstrom, Reebok and Victoria’s Secret. Bloom has since taken a hiatus from all of that to focus on mentoring designers in the greater Philadelphia area.
While teaching fashion entrepreneurship and marketing classes at Drexel University and Moore College of Art & Design, Bloom met so many talented local designers who “didn’t know how to price their items or position them in the market.” A judge for Philadelphia Fashion Week, she was hired as executive director of Philadelphia Fashion Incubator, where selected designers learn the ins and outs of the industry in a one-year program hosted by Macy’s in Center City. Designs include everything from women’s wear to smart-adaptive clothing for those with Alzheimer’s. “It’s a collaborative, creative effort between the corporate and academic communities in the region,” says Bloom.“The initiative is really about supporting and nurturing the next generation of fashion designers.”
Through her involvement with a U.S. State Department program, Bloom takes her mentoring beyond Philadelphia. She’s been invited to speak on the business of fashion and teach business boot camps in Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Israel and Russia. On the invitation of the Obama Administration, she also spoke at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Kenya.
Bloom has furthered her work by launching the first Women’s Entrepreneurship Day in Philadelphia and is active in the Alzheimer’s Association’s Wine, Women and Shoes fashion event. She’s also ready to re-launch her line, which returns this fall.