New York-based designer Nanette Lepore, who is very involved in keeping fashion manufacturing in New York, especially through her involvement with Save the Garment Center, says her main concern is keeping the area alive and viable, so losing local factories to high rents is top of mind.
“I hope that we’ll stop with this attitude that it’s all about change and we want to throw out these great parts about New York,” she tells Fashionista. She and Save the Garment Center are worried about losing local factories and businesses to skyrocketing rents, in exchange for high-rise office buildings and luxury condos. She stresses “preservation” of the local industry.
Another concern is the proliferation of tech companies in the Midtown-area. “I’m worried a little bit they’ll open too much to the tech industry’s need for space and we’ll get crowded out,” says Lepore.
Lepore has already made up her mind on whose name she’ll mark on her ballot come Nov. 5. “De Blasio is on that page,” Lepore says. “He appreciates New York and all its quirks and creativity and all the industries that grew organically.”
De Blasio also has one up on Lhota when it comes to the New York local manufacturing community–he’s actually stopped by for a visit. The current Public Advocate, along with Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, toured the Save the Garment Center this past spring.
“He met with us on an informational basis,” Erica Wolf, executive director of Save the Garment Center, tells Fashionista. “He had heard about the issues and wanted to learn more. He visited the Nanette Lepore design studio, showroom and offices to gain the background of fashion because the product, fashion and flair is global. But until recently not many people talked about how those products came to life [in New York City]. He tried to understand the history behind the factories, the price for real estate, leases, for business. The important thing for the politicians to know—there are things still things made in New York City.”
“De Blasio has inquired about the issues and we haven’t heard from Joe Lhota,” Wolf continues. “But in fairness, we haven’t reached out [to Lhota either]. We would love for him to come and learn about the issues, always.”
It’s your move, Lhota. Only five days to go.