NEW YORK — To try to attract more stores to what it now refers to as the fashion district, the Fashion Center Business Improvement District talked up the neighborhood at a cocktail party Monday night for 55 retail real estate brokers.
Eager to upgrade the neighborhood’s image, FCBID executive director Barbara Randall was quick to note that more than 50 percent of the current tenants are nonfashion companies. That shift has seen an influx of general office tenants, creative service firms, hotels, restaurants and retailers, Randall said. In total, the neighborhood has 6,289 companies with 77,416 employees.
With more than 2 million square feet of retail space and retail sales of $800 million-plus, there is retail potential of $2.4 billion, according to a new FCBID report.
While Randall noted that many of the available retail spaces on the side streets are narrow and deep, those types of configurations suit smaller and artisanal-type businesses. The fashion district now houses 550 stores, 60 restaurants and 150 coffee bars and casual specialty food stores, including newcomers Kee’s Chocolate and Beer Authority. Evening and weekend foot traffic has improved partially due to the area’s 24 hotels. Five more are set to open this year and five others are in development. There will be 5,363 hotel visitors in the neighborhood at any given time once the total build-out is complete, according to the FCBID. The neighborhood also has 7,710 residents with a median age of 32.4 and an average median income of $80,974.
Two brokers who attended the event, Andy Udis and Jay Caseley, executive managing directors at ABS Partners Real Estate, have a dilemma that seems to exemplify the neighborhood’s changing makeup. They have been trying to find fashion manufacturing or production companies for vacancies in the Bricken Arcade Building, which has entrances at 230 West 38th Street and 225 West 37th Street. One has been vacant for a few months and two floors have been empty for two years.
“A lot of buildings have been converted into office space. It’s become tougher to find this kind of space,” Caseley said. “We are looking to accommodate those who have been outpaced by the buildings on the avenues, and who want to have a showroom, a design studio, sample-making or production.”
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast