Theory CEO Andrew Rosen began working in New York City's Garment Center before you were probably born. Both his father and grandfather were in the garment business, so he's witnessed its fairly steady decline over the past 50 years. Today at WWD's CEO Summit, the serial investor—he helps back Proenza Schouler, Rag & Bone, Alice + Olivia, amongst others—announced a new program to help reverse that trend.
Much like the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund and CFDA Fashion Incubator have helped support young designers through grants, mentoring and lower studio rents, Rosen is teaming up with the City of New York and the CDFA to provide grants and interest-free loans to manufacturers who want to update their equipment and infrastructure. The hope is that with better, high-tech equipment that rivals what's available overseas, more designers will want to produce their clothes right here in New York.
"There's a big opportunity to bring work back here," said Rosen. "We have the ability to manufacture clothes in NYC—the problem is we haven’t invested in the infrastructure. I think it's time the industry started to invest in itself."
We asked Theory and the CFDA for more details on the project—they have no further comment at this time, but we'll keep you updated.
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