The Fashion Minority Report (FMR), in partnership with Asos, has launched an innovative incubator programme called scaleUP.

The initiative aims to bridge the gap between the fashion industry and ethnic minority-owned brands, which often encounter barriers when accessing the fashion market and scaling up their business operations.

Vanessa Spence, senior creative director at ASOS, said: “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.”

The programme, developed through a collaborative effort, will offer insights and guidance from industry experts to two selected candidates. These entrepreneurs will also benefit from wholesale opportunities, including the exclusive launch of a collection on Asos. In addition, they will receive one year of mentorship from experienced business leaders. To further support their growth, the two successful businesses will have the opportunity to pitch for up to £20,000 ($24,762) of funding each.

Global Data analyst Louise Deglise-Favre tells Just Style exclusively:

“The programme is a great way for Asos to boost its ESG credentials while giving a hand to two deserving ethnic minority-owned brand. While the scope of the program is only limited to a few brands, it will bring them visibility while highlighting the difficulties faced by ethnic minority-owned businesses within the fashion industry. However, Asos should remain cautious with how it markets this initiative to consumers as it could be seen as performative if over-used in its marketing.”

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By GlobalData

According to a report by the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, black and Asian entrepreneurs struggle to access funding and experience lower success rates compared to their white counterparts. ScaleUP seeks to address these barriers by removing obstacles and providing support and funding opportunities.

Daniel Peters, founder of the (Fashion) Minority Report, added: “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.”

ScaleUP will onboard up to five emerging brands, offering them access to workshops, talks, and the opportunity to showcase their brand as part of the scaleUP press and buyers’ showroom in February 2024.

FMR and Asos are inviting ethnic minority founders of UK-based fashion brands, specialising in Ready to Wear (RTW) womenswear, RTW menswear, or accessories, who have been operating their business for less than five years, to apply.

A panel of judges, including Daniel Peters, founder of the FMR, Vanessa Spence, senior creative director at Asos, Jordan Mitchell, co-founder of Good Culture Inc, Navi Ahluwalia, editor at Hypebae, Antonia Omisesan, co-founder and chief operating officer at Gbemi, Nick King, director of fashion jewellery, home & lifestyle at Rainbowwave, and Jo Hunt, head of partner brands at Asos, will review and shortlist the applications.

Asos recently unveiled its inaugural rental edit in partnership with Hirestreet, a rental marketplace in the UK, featuring over 180 “wedding guest” outfits.