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Mayor de Blasio Marks Beginning of Fashion Week, Announces Winners of Fashion Manufacturing Initiative Grant Program to Promote Growth and Support Local Manufacturers

February 6, 2014

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$3 Million Public-Private Program Provides Resources to Help Transform New York City’s Fashion Manufacturing Sector

NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio today marked the beginning of Fashion Week by announcing the inaugural round of winners of the Fashion Manufacturing Initiative (FMI), a $3 million public-private program designed to support and promote growth of small businesses in the city’s fashion and manufacturing sectors. At the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) Fashion Incubator in Manhattan’s Garment District, the mayor highlighted the city’s commitment to preserving and creating more jobs, as well as helping support local fashion manufacturers by making them more competitive in global markets.

"Fashion is an important and iconic industry in New York City, which is why we are partnering with CFDA to strengthen and grow small businesses in the fashion manufacturing sector," said Mayor Bill de Blasio. "This initiative will help increase business capacity and will generate economic growth—while creating and preserving jobs within the fashion manufacturing industry, in turn supporting local designers who rely on manufacturers."

Through the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), the City of New York has pledged $1 million toward the Fashion Manufacturing Initiative, while the CFDA, program chair and President and Founder of Theory Andrew Rosen, and other partners have raised $1.3 million to date—including $500,000 from Theory and its parent company Fast Retailing, and $500,000 from Ralph Lauren. Other contributors include Rue La La, rag & bone, Precision Custom Coatings, Alvanon, CIT, Lectra, Save the Garment District, and Project Gravitas. The total amount of funds raised from the private sector is expected to exceed $2 million in the program’s first year. All winning businesses will match their FMI awards dollar for dollar, raising the total pool of invested funds to $6 million. The Initiative is jointly administered by NYCEDC and CFDA.

"We are focused on ways to expand and strengthen the city's iconic fashion industry, an essential part of the economy that employs tens of thousands of New Yorkers in high-quality design, management, retail and production jobs," said New York City Economic Development Corporation President Kyle Kimball. "This program will boost our city's fashion manufacturing capacity while supporting the small businesses that drive the industry—both of which are vital to maintaining the city’s status as a global fashion capital."

"The FMI is about investing in production facilities in New York City. Production facilities will be built and will be technically more advanced, exciting spaces where designers and manufacturers can collaborate and innovate. Jobs will be created and manufacturing in New York and made in America fashion will be brought to the forefront of the industry," said President and Founder of Theory, Andrew Rosen.

"The FMI is an important investment program that strengthens the relationship between designers and manufacturers," said CFDA president, Diane von Furstenberg.

The FMI seeks to address challenges New York City fashion companies face in manufacturing, such as outdated facilities and technology, limited opportunities to train new workers, and difficulty finding locations in which to produce. In addition to providing financial support, the FMI provides mentoring and educational sessions to help generate growth for the winning businesses, as well as resources to connect designers at all levels to local manufacturers. 

Seven local manufacturing businesses are the inaugural winners of the FMI. They will receive grants ranging from $46,000 to $150,000 for infrastructure and equipment upgrades and for workforce training, increasing business capacity, generating economic growth, and creating and preserving jobs within the industry. Each award will be matched by the winning business with an investment of the same amount.

The seven winning manufacturers, which collectively employ nearly 300 people, were selected from a pool of nearly 40 applicants through a rigorous process of evaluation conducted by a panel of industry experts. They are:

  • New York Embroidery Studio is a full service embellishment factory. The FMI grant will help support embroidery machines with laser capability, a digital fabric printer, and workforce training.
  • Martin Greenfield Clothiers is a Brooklyn-based manufacturer of hand-tailored men’s clothing. The FMI grant will help fund new Lectra work stations and other capital improvements.
  • Werkstatt is a pattern service and sample room specializing in well-constructed garment development. The FMI grant will help support computers and CAD software, new Alvanon dress forms, and worker training.
  • In Style USA is a full-service production facility, with services including fabric sourcing, cutting, and sewing. The FMI grant will help support state-of-the-art machinery, focusing on fusing and cutting.
  • Create-A-Marker is a leading computerized grading and marking company. The FMI grant will help support new plotters, computers, and employee education.
  • High Production is a sample-making and sewing factory that caters to contemporary brands and that specializes in denim products. The FMI grant will help support new sewing equipment for waist bands, pant hems, button holes, and belt loops.
  • Vogue Too specializes in all types of trimming. The FMI grant will help support new embroidery machines with laser capability, as well as design and product development training.

Fashion is a $98 billion industry that employs more than 180,000 people in New York City, accounting for nearly 6 percent of the city’s workforce, paying $10.9 billion in wages, and generating 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 $865 million. The FMI is one of a suite of city initiatives to sustain and grow the fashion industry, which also includes seed funding for the CFDA incubator, professional mentorship in design and fashion management, and networking and educational programs.

The Mayor was joined at Thursday’s announcement by Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Alicia Glen, New York City Economic Development Corporation President Kyle Kimball, CFDA President Diane von Furstenberg and CEO Steven Kolb, and President and Founder of fashion brand Theory Andrew Rosen.