The CFDA's recent decision to relocate their offices from the garment district to downtown Manhattan left some garment district residents and fashion industry members feeling abandoned and disappointed. However, the CFDA's work to build up the fashion industry only seems to have increased this year. From negotiating with the international fashion industry leaders to finally solve the scheduling conflict to issuing fashion week health guidelines, to supporting the Model Alliance, 2012 looks to be a pretty pivotal year for New York's fashion industry. Today's story in WWD laying out the city's new fashion initiatives pretty much confirms that.
Mayor Bloomberg and New York fashion industry leaders have been in cahoots for a while now, coming up with ways to capitalize on and build the amount of revenue and employment the fashion and retail industries bring to New York City, which has the potential to be much more significant. It sounds like Fashion's Night Out didn't quite do it. What a surprise. Here are the five new initiatives Bloomberg and Diane Von Furstenberg laid out at the CFDA Fashion Incubator yesterday:
• Introducing a free mini M.B.A.-type program for 35 participants through a partnership with the Fashion Institute of Technology.
• Lead a search for New York City’s most innovative retailer that will result in free temporary retail space, marketing and public relations.
• Create a fund to provide loans to emerging designers provided they use local manufacturers to produce their collections.
• Establish a fellowship program for fashion management, and reach out to more interns and college students through a coordinated effort with Parsons The New School for Design.
• Set up a job placement program for college graduates.
They're calling it the Fashion NYC 2020 program. We like that it aims to foster growth from the ground up by supporting students and emerging designers.
They also laid out a few statistics about the current state of the garment industry in NYC. Here are the more interesting ones, by the numbers:
• 865 million: Amount of dollars expected to be generated by the two NY fashion weeks this year • 232,000: Number of out of town visitors the fashion weeks attract • 17: percent the retail industry is expected to grow by 2025 • 5.7: percent of city's workforce employed by the fashion industry
Another issue is, and has been for quite some time, the expense of manufacturing garments in New York City compared with overseas manufacturing, which Bloomberg hopes to improve with tax reform--citing corporate taxes as a reason why it's so expensive. Another possibility: a Made in NY label for designer goods. It sounds like designers are, understandably, hoping toreceive some kind of benefit for keeping their manufacturing here. Prabal Gurung told the trade, "It gives me hope that perhaps there will be some benefits for the Made in New York label to get down the line — such as a tax cut or something that will help us be more competitive pricewise with goods made in Europe and Asia."
Another goal of Bloomberg's: immigration reform to make it easier for overseas designers to set up shop here. With these intiatives, and other forthcoming changes like model guidelines, the development of the Hudson Yards, and new digital initiatives, the fashion industry could change more this year than it has in a while.