Wednesday was a great day for New York design: For the inauguration of New York City mayor Bill de Blasio, his wife, Chirlane McCray, and their daughter, Chiara de Blasio, both wore New York-based designer Nanette Lepore.
Lepore was the first to approach the de Blasio family over a year ago, when she invited them to her studio. There, they discussed the importance of preserving the Garment District — a message that apparently stuck, as they reached out to Lepore a few weeks before the inauguration for clothing options. Lepore, obviously, is thrilled.
“The de Blasio family embodies the unique individualism of New York that compelled me to be part of the action when I moved here in the ’80s,” Lepore tells Fashionista. “They will usher in a new age that truly understands the specialness of our incredible city.”
The choice was a major coup not just for Lepore, but for the Garment District and the designers fighting to save it. McCray ripped a page straight from the Michelle Obama book of style by wearing the designer, who has long been vocal about the importance of locally made design and who has spearheaded many of the efforts to preserve the Garment District. It sends the message that this administration is taking those efforts seriously.
“Chiara and I are proud to wear this beautiful clothing today, that was made right here in New York City,” said McCray in a statement. “This city needs more creative entrepreneurs like Nanette Lepore who are committed to keeping our city’s garment industry thriving.”
As an important part of the New York fashion industry, the Garment District currently employs some 7,100 New Yorkers and brings about $2 billion annually to the local economy. It’s been threatened in recent decades by rising costs and outsourcing trends, but thanks to new initiatives by the CFDA — and hopefully, the support of the new administration — there’s renewed hope for the New York institution.
And this isn’t the first time McCray has shown support for a local designer. She has a longtime relationship with Anni Kuan, who also runs a small operation out of the Garment District and dressed McCray for the majority of her husband’s campaign.