By  on April 4, 1994

NEW YORK -- As New York designers get ready for the fall collections starting Wednesday, SA is being charged with a double dose of adrenalin.

The creation of 7th on Sixth, grouping many major shows in one central area, and the formation of the Fashion Center Business Improvement District, which went into operation last month, have brought a new sense of vitality to the fashion industry here.

The second edition of 7th on Sixth, created by the Council of Fashion Designers of America, is benefiting from a groundswell of interest from last November's inaugural production. In addition to the two tents within Bryant Park, 7th on Sixth has added under its umbrella the show venues at the adjoining New York Public Library.

In all, 59 shows will be staged under the tents and in the library during the eight days of Fashion Week, running through April 13, compared with a total of 40 last season.

In addition, there are another 31 firms having runway shows or informal modeling sessions during the week, apart from the 7th on Sixth organization. It's the busiest show season on record, according to Ruth Finley, who, as publisher of the Fashion Calendar, coordinates the show schedule each season.

Meanwhile, the new Business Improvement District -- funded by a 0.25 percent addition on real estate taxes -- has already begun its work, cleaning up and patrolling the garment district and making plans to promote the industry.

"The new mood in the market," said Bill Blass, summing up the feelings of many, "is a welcome change in an industry that's been depressingly stagnant.

"The BID is a major factor in creating an optimistic attitude that I haven't felt in years," Blass said. "Also, the coming together of all the designers in Bryant Park is a step in the right direction in creating the solidarity that's been sorely lacking in our industry. But never underestimate the fact that business has returned to the stores."

Blass said queries from various European designers about possibly showing in New York illustrates the city's growing stature on the international scene.

Blass, who last season showed in his showroom, is one of many additional designers joining the 7th on Sixth contingent this time around. The others are Prada -- the Italian house staging its first-ever New York show, Carolina Herrera, Arnold Scaasi, Randy Kemper, Ellen Tracy, Escada, Hang Feng, Yeohlee, Emo Pandelli, Jeanette Kastenberg, Lauren Sara, Rodney Telford, Cathy Hardwick, Bradley Bayou, Isabel Toledo, Label by Laura Whitcomb and Troa Cho.

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