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Special Project

Special Project
From the 15th Annual Shorty Awards

MADE x PayPal

Entered in Event & Experiential


The U.S. fashion industry employs more than 1.8M people, but despite calls for increased diversity, Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) continue facing barriers to enter the industry from the very start of their careers. A 2021 study from McKinsey & Company found “a substantive underrepresentation of diverse talent begins in fashion schools and internships and continues throughout all levels into the highest echelons of influence and leadership.”

MADE debuted in 2009 as a platform for emerging designers and cultural creators in response to the 2008 economic crisis. Some of the most innovative fashion talent and creators known today began their careers during a MADE fashion week, event or cultural program, including Telfar Clemens, Eckhaus Latta, Jonathan Simkhai, Hood By Air and the late Vurgil Abloh.

In 2022, PayPal helped relaunch this iconic platform as an extension of our commitment to advance racial equity. MADE x PayPal set out to help shape a more inclusive digital economy by empowering the next generation of diverse designers, entrepreneurs and creators and providing them with the platforms and tools to grow. Produced by IMG FOCUS., the two-day cultural event included fashion shows, performances, live talks and PayPal’s Zettle-powered marketplace featuring 25 diverse NY-based small businesses and brands.

MADE x PayPal builds on our work to advance financial inclusion globally, including PayPal’s $535M racial equity commitment, annual Maggie Lena Walker award, humanitarian aid for refugees, $108M pledge to empower women (in partnership with the United Nations’ Generation Equality Forum) and more.

Strategy and Execution

For two nights in June, New York City was home to the most exciting, diverse and creative up-and-coming talent in fashion, culture, music and dance. MADE x PayPal centered around runway shows showcasing the most compelling new voices in fashion. While major fashion shows have traditionally been exclusive affairs, MADE x PayPal was open to all and intentionally created to highlight diverse designers, models and talent that break the mold. In line with our goal to make the groundbreaking event inclusive, PayPal invited members of the Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO)—the membership organization helping entrepreneurs build economic growth— and Start Small Think Big—our official philanthropy supporting small business owners from marginalized communities—among other equitable partners, to attend.

The first show, presented by Public School, celebrated the duo’s 10-year MADE debut anniversary and showcased designers Des Pierrot, Maya Wang, Long Xu, Michael Graham and Colin LoCascio. Items from the collection were sold on the Public School NYC website and in the MADE x PayPal Marketplace, where all proceeds benefited the charity Young New Yorkers. Runway shows the following day featured collections from the MADE x PayPal Class of 2022, including K.NGSLEY, WHENSMOKECLEARS and Bed on Water. The clothing paid tribute to everything from New York’s queer club scene, international calling cards, Afrofuturism and more.

Beyond the runway, the two-day event was filled with community and culture, led by an all-BIPOC roster of artists, performers and entrepreneurs who embodied the ethos of the event by uplifting emerging talent who otherwise may not have the resources and support to take center stage. The Marching Cobras, a Harlem-based drumline and dance group, opened the runway show with explosive percussion and rhythms. Legendary rapper Nas closed out by performing from a barge on the East River.

Featuring 25 local brands and small businesses, the MADE x PayPal Marketplace attracted shoppers coveting exclusive drops. Every merchant was set up with PayPal Zettle payment technology, allowing for a smooth and seamless shopping experience. Amaurys Grullon, founder of Bronx Native and a MADE Marketplace participant, shared, “The MADE x PayPal event is extremely important for Black and Brown small-business owners because it gives us an incredible platform for us to flourish.”

In addition to the media coverage and social content published surrounding the event (see more details in “Results”), we also launched influencer campaigns spanning Instagram, YouTube and Facebook to further share MADE x PayPal with the world. We partnered with three influencers from all parts of the fashion assembly line—@cocoandbreezy, @thebronxnative and @corporategotem—to share how they made it in the industry and the importance of representation. All three “episodes” were published on each influencer’s channels and were stitched together into a longer-form hero video published on PayPal’s YouTube. In the first week of the campaign, the content earned more than 1.1M impressions, 330.7K video views, 19.9K clicks to the hero video on YouTube and 4K engagements. On PayPal’s Instagram alone, the content has more than 123.6K impressions and 3.2K engagements to date.


MADE x PayPal enabled diverse and emerging designers to showcase their work and collaborate with established mentors, while giving back to local small businesses. More than 3,000 people and 600 VIPs attended, including press, fashion insiders and influencers such as Amy Schumer, Julia Fox, Parris Goebel, Heron Preston, Nas, Alek Wek and Quannah Chasinghorse.

MADE x PayPal drove press placements in 30 diverse media outlets, garnering more than 3.9B press impressions across top tier and regional publications including Barron’s, Complex, Daily Mail, Elle, Essence, Forbes, HYPEBEAST, Paper and more.

Altogether, there were 900+ social media posts from the event with more than 13M organic social impressions and 25M paid social impressions. Highlights included tagged Instagram stories from Julia Fox, Parris Goebel, Elsa Majimbo and Complex Style, an Instagram in-feed post and stories from Amy Schumer and an Instagram reel on HYPEBAE.

MADE x PayPal also helped catapult featured creators into wider success. Following the event, WHENSMOKECLEARS was featured in V Magazine, Forbes and Women’s Wear Daily. Designer K.NGSLEY was subsequently spotlighted as one of Fast Company's Most Creative People in Business, and his pieces have been featured in WhoWhatWear, Cosmopolitan and V Magazine. In September, Bed on Water was profiled in The Zoe Report, in which she referenced her debut at MADE x PayPal. She recently worked on a collaboration with Timberland and Jimmy Choo and has been tapped as one of nine designers to participate in the Jean-Michel Basquiat and Black Fashion Fair exhibit.


Video for MADE x PayPal

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