Custom Collaborative

We are a New York City-based entrepreneurship and workforce development program that trains and supports women from low-income and immigrant communities to launch fashion careers and businesses. By learning the standard techniques and ethical business practices of the fashion industry, our participants professionalize their sewing and design skills, overcome barriers to employment, and ultimately, change the economics of the industry.


Our mission is to serve women from low-income and immigrant communities with training and ongoing supports that equip them to achieve viable livelihoods in the women’s fashion industry as designers, fashion entrepreneurs, pattern makers, and seamstresses who create and sell high-quality clothing and accessories.

We aim to achieve our mission of changing the apparel industry economics for low-income and immigrant women by:

Serving the under-invested

  • 85% of our students are mothers.

  • 80% of the participants live below the federal poverty level.

  • 50% live in unstable housing.

  • Our participants come 15 nations, including the US.

  • We provide the participants with opportunities to increase their economic standing while supporting the needs of local independent designers.


  • At least 90% of our creations are made from repurposed and upcycled textiles.

  • Awareness of environmental impact is at the core of our design instruction and product development.