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Mayor de Blasio Announces $15 Million Initiative to Support City's Fashion Industry

February 11, 2015

New and expanded 'Made in NY' programs support manufacturers, students, emerging talent, and growing companies within one of New York City's key industries

Fashion industry accounts for 5.5 percent of city workforce, pays $11 billion in wages, generates nearly $2 billion in tax revenue annually

NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio today marked the beginning of Fashion Week by announcing new and expanded programs to support the city's fashion industry, tripling the current investment from $5 million to $15 million. These "Made in NY" programs will directly support and shine a spotlight on manufacturers, emerging designers, aspiring designers, and design students in New York City. The new public-private programs, to be rolled out throughout 2015, include scholarships and internships to help immerse emerging talent in the fashion industry, and build upon existing programs to further reinforce the city's manufacturing and design sectors. Fashion companies may now apply to participate in Made in NY programs at, which also provides valuable information and other resources for the city's fashion industry.

"Fashion is incredibly important to New York City, not just because it helps make us the most creative and exciting city in the world, but because of the hundreds of thousands of jobs and links to economic opportunity it creates," said Mayor Bill de Blasio. "We are determined to ensure that New York City's working designers and manufacturers—and those aspiring to join that community—have the support they need to make it in New York City, and continue to grow NYC as the fashion capital of the world."

"Fashion is vital to New York City, and we're not just increasing support for the industry, but expanding the City's toolkit to support the fashion industry, from launching a new marketing program and digital hub that highlights New York City companies, to funding internships that help students get their foot in the door at leading fashion businesses, to working to make the city home to the most advanced manufacturing technology," said Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen. "In collaboration with our industry partners, we will powerfully strengthen an industry that is key to both the City's identity and its economy."

Mayor de Blasio made the announcement at MADE, an upstart organization that provides approximately 40 designers with space, production and other resources to show their collections at no cost during each NYC Fashion Week. He was joined by several members of his administration, including Deputy Mayor Glen, who leads the City's efforts to support the fashion industry.

The $15 million suite of initiatives will be largely comprised of public-private partnerships, spearheaded and financed by the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), with additional funding from a diverse set of industry partners. The program includes a two-year, $5 million creative marketing campaign, launching in 2015, that will leverage traditional and digital advertising media to highlight the city's fashion companies. Additionally, the City has launched, a digital hub dedicated to promoting local designers and manufacturers, showcasing New York City-made products, and providing the fashion industry with valuable resources and information.

For the first time, the City will offer a $1 million program to connect aspiring design students to the fashion industry via scholarships to study fashion-related disciplines at a New York City-based educational institution, and fully funded internships at fashion companies for current students who wish to gain exposure to the industry.

An additional $5 million suite of programs for manufacturers includes:

  • Capital and workforce grants that build upon the existing Fashion Manufacturing Initiative to empower local production facilities to implement the latest cutting-edge manufacturing technology and training programs for workers. To date, the City's Fashion Manufacturing Initiative has granted over $1.1 million for equipment upgrades and workforce development to enable new efficiencies and increased competitiveness for 13 New York City manufacturing companies.
  • New seed funding will help establish companies that explore the use of advanced technologies or offer services not readily available in the fashion manufacturing sector (e.g., knitwear), to ensure that the City is the first to adopt the latest techniques and is positioned to offer the full range of manufacturing options to local designers.
  • A "Production Summit" for fashion manufacturing in order to highlight best practices and identify innovative solutions for industry challenges; develop an electronic platform to allow local designers to more easily connect with local production facilities; and expand worker training sessions to ensure local garment workers stay up-to-date in their production skill set.

A $4 million package of new and expanded design initiatives includes:

  • Funding for designers to secure space at critical events, such as trade shows;
  • New retail activations, including pop-ups and store partnerships;
  • An awards program to recognize Made in NY designers who have demonstrated exceptional promise and ability;
  • Continuation of the City's existing Fashion Production Fund, which has now awarded a total of nearly $1 million to 11 designers to help fulfill purchase orders that move their products into the marketplace.

Also in 2015, the City will launch the NYC Capsule Collection, operated in partnership with the Council of Fashion Designers of America. The Capsule Collection allows city-based designers to create a small collection of items and facilitates their production in city-based factories to sell through city-based retailers. Participating designers will be announced in the coming months and collections are anticipated to be in stores this fall.

"Fashion Week is not just an economic boon, generating nearly $900 million for the city, but also a time to celebrate the 180,000 New Yorkers that work as designers and manufacturers in the industry," said NYCEDC President Kyle Kimball. "The Made in NY initiatives are designed to further strengthen the fashion industry holistically, from design to production to sales, ensuring that New York City remains the fashion capital of the world."

"New York has a long history of embracing artists and creatives, which is part of what makes this city so unique," said Mazdack Rassi, Founder of Milk Studios. "The funding and resources provided by Made in NY continue this important tradition by supporting designers and even the industry as a whole."

"The CFDA's mission is to strengthen the influence and success of American Fashion Designers in the global economy," said Steven Kolb, Chief Executive Officer of the CFDA. "To accomplish this mission, the CFDA helps with every facet of a designer's business. CFDA Members are passionate and dependent on NYC manufacturing, and work closely with their production facilities to bring their innovative visions to life. The CFDA is proud to support programs like Made in NY, which nurture, elevate and preserve NYC fashion production."

"New York represents the pinnacle of innovation, creativity, and excellence within the fashion industry," said Andrew Rosen, Chief Executive Officer, Theory. "Although I am a third-generation fashion businessmen, New York is the place where I built my company and serves as an endless source of new inspiration. I am proud to support this program that highlights the spirit of the City and its impact on emerging designers."

"We both grew up in New York, attended local public schools, and share a deep connection with this city," said Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne, founders of Public School. "Our brand, Public School, is an ode to our childhood here and a reflection of what New York demands of you—having to stand out, to be authentic, to make a name for yourself. We could not be more pleased to support a program that highlights the spirit of this city and endows its designers and manufacturers with the resources to grow and thrive here."

"For creative entrepreneurs around the globe, New York City is an iconic fashion capital at the intersection of innovative design, artisanal craftsmanship, and wearable technology," said Bob Bland, CEO and founder of Manufacture New York. "Extending Made in NY programs to emerging labels and local manufacturers is a great step towards resiliency in one of fashion's most diverse supply chains. As a dedicated NYC fashion designer, I am excited to witness this recognition of our city's manufacturing heritage and look forward to future growth for participating businesses."

"When I started my business with my husband, Bob Savage, we sold my designs out of our boutique in the East Village," said Nanette Lepore, Founder of Nanette Lepore. "Today, I continue to produce a majority of my collection in NYC. New York's local factories gave me the opportunity to handcraft my product and grow my business organically. I am proud to support Made in NY, and I encourage all emerging designers to invest in New York's incredibly talented local artisans."

"New York City is synonymous with fashion and design because of its creative energy," said Council Member Dan Garodnick, Chair of the City Council's Economic Development Committee. "This is where great ideas are formed, and trends are set. Congratulations to the City for the expansion of its Made in New York initiative."

To be eligible for Made in NY initiatives, including having products featured in Made in NY branded retail events and marketing programs, designers must initially meet the following criteria:

  • Headquartered or incorporated in New York City
  • Possess registered business license
  • Manufacture one or more fashion products (e.g., clothing, jewelry or accessories)
  • One or more existing retail partner(s) or minimum of 1,000 products sold annually
  • One or more full-time employees
  • One or more products designed, cut, sewn, assembled, and finished in New York City

The city's fashion industry employs over 180,000 New Yorkers, accounting for 5.5 percent of the city's workforce, pays $11 billion in wages, and generates nearly $2 billion in tax revenue annually. New York City's wholesale fashion market is one of the world's largest, attracting more than 500,000 visitors per year to its trade shows, showrooms and fashion shows. Overall, the industry garners more than $18 billion in retail sales, $72 billion in wholesale sales, and $8 billion in manufacturing sales annually. The city's semi-annual Fashion Weeks draw approximately 232,000 attendees to more than 500 shows, creating a total economic impact of $887 million.

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