Advice from Chloe Dao

March 20, 2007

Now, their career options are exploding. Chloe Dao, the Houston designer who won the “Project Runway Season II” reality television show last March, has signed five brand-extension deals, including one to design iPod cases to be sold by Target Corp. and Circuit City Stores Inc. Los Angeles designer Monique Lhullier, known for her lace wedding gowns, will create a bridal suite at a new resort owned by Sir Richard Branson in Somerset County, N.J.

Tomorrow, New York designer Alice Roi, who makes punk rock-inspired knit dresses, will host a party paid for by Dow Chemical Co. to introduce denim made with a next-generation stretch fiber. The tablecloths at the party will be made of the “XLA” denim.

These varied deals were all brokered by New York’s Designers Management Agency, or DMA, which has positioned itself as the Creative Artists Agency of the luxury fashion industry.

The emergence of DMA comes at a time when fashion designers, both new and established, are eager to find ways to raise the profiles of their own brands and generate additional revenue amid stagnant apparel sales. “The only way to be in the market is to become a celebrity yourself,” Ms. Dao says.”

Are other creative occupations due for representation? High end sales people and business managers? How about video game designers and biotech researchers? Quite a contrast to the negotiating entity (the union) of the industrial age.

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