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PR- 058-09
February 3, 2009


Agreement to Host Biannual Events at Larger Space in Damrosch Park Area Starting Fall 2010 Will Allow Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week to Continue to Grow in New York City

New York's Fashion Week Generates $773 Million in Economic Activity, Supporting the City's Fashion Industry and its 175,000 Jobs

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today announced an agreement to move New York City's biannual Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week events to Damrosch Park at Lincoln Center. The agreement between IMG Fashion and Lincoln Center, Inc. will allow the shows to relocate from Bryant Park to Damrosch Park beginning in September 2010. Until then, the event will take place at Bryant Park, including the Fall 2009 collections which begin February 13. The City, through the Office of First Deputy Mayor Patricia E. Harris, worked with IMG Fashion and the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) to identify a new location as it became clear the shows would soon outgrow the facilities at Bryant Park. The Mayor made the announcement at a conference about the future of New York City hosted by Crain's New York Business and the Partnership for New York City, and he was joined by Council of Fashion Designers of America President Diane von Furstenberg, IMG Fashion Senior Vice President Fern Mallis, Lincoln Center President Reynold Levy, Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe, New York City Economic Development Corporation President Seth W. Pinsky and Cultural Affairs Commissioner Kate D. Levin.

"The fashion industry is a vital part of our City's economy, providing more than 175,000 jobs and generating billions of dollars in wages for New Yorkers annually," said Mayor Bloomberg. "Ensuring the industry's long-term success and promoting Fashion Week - the industry's greatest showcase - is more important than ever as we work to retain and create jobs during these difficult times and diversify the City's economy. We were determined to work with the Council of Fashion Designers of America and IMG Fashion to identify a location for Fashion Week that would allow it to grow and thrive in New York City, and we could not have arrived at more ideal location than Damrosch Park at Lincoln Center."

The new venue at Damrosch Park, which is managed by Lincoln Center, will provide about 87,000 square feet of space for the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week shows, compared to the roughly 70,000 square feet available at Bryant Park - a 25 percent increase. The agreement between IMG Fashion and Lincoln Center is for five years. In addition to providing more space in Damrosch Park, Lincoln Center provides ample opportunity for its iconic indoor locations to be used for special events during the shows.

The collections, which began being shown in New York City's Bryant Park in 1993 with about 35 shows, have grown dramatically to about 70 shows per season, showcasing the leading American and international designers. Last year, the two annual events drew 232,000 attendees, generated $466 million in direct visitor spending, and resulted in an overall economic impact on New York City of $773 million. New York City's fashion industry provides 175,000 jobs, $1.6 billion in annual tax revenue and $10 billion in total wages. More than 800 fashion companies are headquartered in New York City, more than double the number headquartered in Paris, its next closest competitor.

"The CFDA is so pleased that the fashion show tents are moving to Lincoln Center. The shows are the main showcase for American fashion and to be part of this cultural center is exciting," said CFDA President Diane von Furstenberg. "The proximity and visibility of Lincoln Center ensures the industry remains at the forefront of worldwide fashion. Without the centralized location and additional venues provided by Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at Lincoln Center it would be impossible to accommodate the almost 250 designers who show in New York City."

"As our society is embracing the concept of change, the time has come for us too to change," said IMG Fashion Senior Vice President Fern Mallis. "With our new home at Lincoln Center, we can re-invent, invigorate and reinforce fashion's rightful place alongside the many creative disciplines, from music and dance, to opera and film, which also call world renowned Lincoln Center home."

"We are extremely grateful to the Mayor, not only for his leadership in facilitating Fashion Week's move to Lincoln Center, but also for his strong commitment to Lincoln Center and the arts," said Lincoln Center President Reynold Levy. "Fashion Week will be an outstanding addition to our newly transformed campus making Lincoln Center more welcoming, more accessible and transparent. All of us are delighted that the fashion industry will be a part of Lincoln Center's annual calendar. We warmly welcome its leadership, and we pledge to deliver the highest standard of customer service to all its members."

The move will coincide with enhancements to Damrosch Park in conjunction with the reconstruction underway at Lincoln Center which is being transformed with revitalized performance, educational and public spaces designed by world class architects. The dramatic entrance at Josie Robertson Plaza will provide easy access to events at the performing arts organizations of Lincoln Center. It will have one of the largest underground parking garages in New York City and feature convenient drop off locations. With more green spaces, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week's almost 10,000 daily guests will be able to linger and enjoy any number of dining facilities at various price points. The move will also mean that Bryant Park, one of the few green spaces in midtown, can better meet the increasing demand for public programming.

"We're excited to host Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at its new home in Damrosch Park at Lincoln Center," said Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe. "Fashion Week at Damrosch Park is sure to continue New York City's status as the epicenter of the fashion world. Not only is Damrosch Park a larger site, the park's hard-surface plaza is better suited for tented events, thus freeing up the lawn at Bryant Park for more passive recreational use."

"This agreement is wonderful news for the City, the fashion industry and Lincoln Center," said NYCEDC President Seth W. Pinsky. "It clearly underscores this Administration's commitment to this vital component of our economy and reinforces New York City's place as the Fashion Capital of the World. I am pleased that EDC had a role in negotiating this important agreement, which will provide the shows with a new and glamorous home in the City for the foreseeable future."


Stu Loeser / Andrew Brent   (212) 788-2958

Jama Adams (Parks & Recreation)   (212) 360-1311

David Lombino / Janel Patterson (EDC)   (212) 312-3523

Karen Peterson (CFDA)   (212) 768-5708

Zach Eichman / Allison Levy (IMG Fashion)   (646) 871-2453

Betsy Vorce (Lincoln Center)   (212) 875-5100

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