NEW YORK — UNITE HERE affiliate New York Metropolitan Area Joint Board, the local union that represents thousands of Garment Center workers in New York, has proposed the creation of a nonprofit or public entity, such as a New York Fashion Space, to manage and safeguard the remaining square footage that would be designated for the apparel industry.
Edgar Romney, executive vice president of UNITE HERE and manager of the New York Metropolitan Area Joint Board, issued a statement this week in response to a WWD article Wednesday that said union leaders were on board with a proposal to preserve more than 300,000 square feet in the Garment Center for apparel manufacturing.
“The union supports keeping good middle-class jobs in both apparel manufacturing and hotels,” said Romney. “It’s a positive development that transparency and public accountability of hotels has been assured with special permits, but we must also have a mechanism to safeguard our city’s manufacturing space.”
Romney said that, without this space, the Garment Center’s future cannot be guaranteed.
A spokeswoman for UNITE explained there have been a lot of illegal conversions in the Garment Center already, and the union would like to see that stopped. The union has proposed one or two buildings that would be a fashion space run by a nonprofit entity.
Steven Kolb, executive director of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, said Thursday, “I imagine having some agreement with the union is one of many agreements they need to have. There’s no agreement with the city, which has a long way to go in terms of rezoning it. If they have some deal with the union, they’re out of the gate, but far from the finish line.”
Kolb said there are many ideas being thrown around, and there’s some validity to the idea of a New York Fashion Space. “They’re looking at a building or two dedicated to young talent, but who pays for that? There’s no plan for funding. This is just an idea.”
There is an estimated 1 million square feet in the Garment Center being occupied by apparel manufacturers, a tiny part of the area’s total 10 million square feet, according to Identity Map Co., which surveys businesses in the district. There have been many discussions that a certain amount of space is needed to preserve a thriving Garment Center, as is the necessity of having a significant number of factories, suppliers and showrooms in one area to maintain its place as a world-class fashion center. As the number of jobs in the Garment Center continues to decline, real estate developers and landlords have been lobbying to try to free up some of the 10 million square feet for higher-paying tenants or even residential buyers.
In the past few months, designers and the CFDA, apparel industry workers and other interested parties have said that saving 250,000 to 500,000 square feet for the use of apparel firms would be an acceptable compromise. Still, there are many details to be worked out among New York City officials, union leaders, Garment Center landlords and apparel industry leaders.
@tradesy is turning the concept of a showroom upside down with its new space in Santa Monica. Here, the company plans to hold events, art exhibits and a showcase rare fashion pieces like this Louis Vuitton boxing set. Get all the details on Tradesy’s first showroom on WWD.com. #wwdnews
Spotted last night at the @erdem x @hm launch event: Kate Bosworth, Rashida Jones, Kirsten Dunst and Selma Blair. The party, which took place in LA, also marked the opening of their pop-up shop. “I was interested in creating a collection that wasn’t in any way disposable. It was about pieces you’d create and keep forever, things that have a permanence to it,” designer Erdem Moralioglu said. #wwdeye (📷: Katie Jones)
Renee Zellweger in yellow in 2001 and again in 2017. Chosen as one of the 12 @pantone Leading Spring Colors (and dubbed “Meadowlark”), it only makes sense that the bright hue stands the test of time and is making a resurgence this season, seen already on stars like @blakelively and @gigihadid. (📷: Donato Sardello & @rexfeatures) #wwdfashion #tbt
Dior’s 70th anniversary celebration continues with a new exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. “Christian Dior,” which is scheduled to run through March 18, takes a look at the founders tenure from 1947 to 1057 and feature 40 designs. Pictured here is an evening gown from the Ailée, fall 1948-49 haute couture collection. #wwdfashion (📷: Brian Boyle)
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews