Activation Grant to Redding Fashion Alliance

 In Blog, Community Vitality

Redding Fashion Alliance Receives Grant from The McConnell Foundation to Activate Underutilized Space Downtown

Redding, California (Wednesday, December 20, 2017) — The McConnell Foundation has awarded the Redding Fashion Alliance a $115,000 grant for the purpose of programming to activate the otherwise-underutilized space in the downtown Redding area. “We are honored that The McConnell Foundation has provided this opportunity for Redding Fashion Alliance to become a part of a growing and thriving downtown. We’re excited to be able to add to the cultural and retail presence that currently exists with other shops including For Elyse, Enjoy the Store, Carousel and Dandelion” said Jan Kearns, Co-Director of Redding Fashion Alliance.

“This grant is such a game changer for the Redding Fashion Alliance, it means so much to have the support of The McConnell Foundation. To celebrate this amazing step we hare hosting a Holiday Open House on Friday, December 22 from 4pm-8pm. Come by and meet the directors, tour the Maker Space, sign up for classes, network, and enjoy some delightful refreshments,” said Robin Fator Co-Director of Redding Fashion Alliance.

This grant is for programming initiatives such as:
• Teaching sewing and business classes
• Offering a maker space for sewists and designers, complete with sewing machines, a pressing station, and photography studio equipment for day use
• Providing retail environment for local designers to sell their work
• Activating a smart classroom that will be available for meeting and teaching
• Hosting Pop-Up events and a fashion-focused gala event in the fall in the downtown core
• Celebrating Downtown Redding Fashion Week, in conjunction with the Redding Cultural District

The Redding Cultural District is a new, 5-year designation which has been newly- awarded to Redding by the California Arts Council. This activation space at 1698 Market Street (the empty storefront that is the former location of Pages Copy Center) is located within the Redding Cultural District. “Creative placemaking and fostering local makers are both critical strategies for downtown revitalization. Programming a maker space with visually-rich window displays in a high-traffic area will drive foot traffic to the downtown Promenade, just steps away from the Cascade Theatre in the heart of downtown,” said Rachel Hatch, Program Officer for Community Vitality at The McConnell Foundation.

The Redding Fashion Alliance exists to foster and strengthen the local fashion community through education, economic development and collaboration. Its purpose is to support creative people in the local fashion, textile and retail industries. There are 1.8 million fashion industry employees in the U.S., and the U.S. annually spends $370 billion on fashion. Redding has a fashion history with beloved brands like Lorelei’s and Van Eli shoes. Today, skilled sewers are employed in local businesses like Yates Gear, Redding Canvas and more.

A key goal of the Redding Fashion Alliance is to build a skilled workforce that manufacturing businesses can access for industrial sewing. The Alliance aims to fill the education gap in the local area for advanced sewing instruction and design for both children and adults. Currently a vendor for some charter schools, the organization will continue to provide fashion design and sewing instruction to children in Shasta County.

Last month, The Redding Fashion Alliance received a grant of $10,000 from The Women’s Fund: Making Opportunities for Success. This project, a partnership between Redding Fashion Alliance, The Women’s Business Center at JEDI, and One SAFE Place, will provide women affected by domestic violence with training in sewing, financial literacy and entrepreneurship leading to economic self‐sufficiency and living wage jobs.

About Redding Fashion Alliance: The Redding Fashion Alliance exists to foster and strengthen the local fashion community through education, economic development and collaboration. The Redding Fashion Alliance is a fiscal project of the Shasta County Arts Council. More at

About Co-Director Jan Kearns: As a retired educational administrator with more than 35 years of experience, Jan managed a direct annual budget of $14M and 70 employees. She has authored handbooks on developing and implementing educational programs and services for the California Department of Education and in 2010 was named Special Education Administrator of the Year for the Association of California School Administrators. Since retirement, she cofounded Gold Coast Goods, which makes neckwear that sells in 16 retail shops in 6 states as well as through it’s online website, Etsy, Scoutmob, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.

About Co-Director Robin Fator: In 2009, Robin Fator founded Dark Pony Designs, a handmade women’s wear company. Robin is a self‐taught fashion designer, having first mastered sewing, and then the business of fashion. She is an Etsy certified craft entrepreneurship instructor and teaches others how to be Etsy entrepreneurs at JEDI (Jefferson Economic Development Institute) and is the recipient of a Kiva micro‐loan of $10,000 from 86 funders including many individuals including Reed Hoffman of LinkedIn, but also organizational backers such as Capital One, Carnegie Mellon, Upstart (an online lending company started by ex‐Googlers), and Ernst & Young. More here:

Redding Fashion Alliance Facebook page:

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