With fashion week in full swing uptown and downtown, Diane von Furstenberg, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D., N.Y.) met in the heart of the Garment Center Monday morning to spell out the industry’s impact on New York City and new initiatives geared to fostering future generations of designers.
The mayor was quick to point out that New York’s biannual runway shows is expected to generate a record-breaking $865 million in economic development for the city this year. In addition, New York’s 500 fashion shows attract about 232,000 visitors each year. City officials are banking on employment in New York’s retail market, the largest in the U.S., to climb 17 percent by 2025.
Part pep rally, part state-of-the-industry address, Monday’s gathering zeroed in on five tactics to help build the industry through his administration’s Fashion NYC 2020 program:
• 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.
New York City’s Economic Development Corporation president Seth Pinsky, Theory’s Andrew Rosen, Parsons’ Joel Towers and the Fashion Center Business Improvement District’s Barbara Randall were also on hand.
Bloomberg noted how the fashion industry employs 173,000 people, accounting for 5.7 percent of the city’s workforce and generating nearly $2 billion in tax revenue annually. The fashion industry is a $350 billion business in the U.S., according to Maloney. She and Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D., N.Y.) co-founded the fashion caucus to provide copyright protection for fashion designs and to separately work with Bloomberg and city council officials to preserve New York’s Garment Center.
Held at the Council of Fashion Designers of America Fashion Incubator, Prabal Gurung, Maxwell Osborne, Bibhu Mohapatra, Yuvi Alpert and Alice Ritter were among the members of the inaugural group that attended Monday’s gathering. Noting how half of the participants were born elsewhere, Bloomberg repeated his call for immigration reform to make it easier for foreigners to start businesses here. He also repeatedly stressed the need to cultivate young design talent, especially since the rock-bottom pricing of overseas production has stung domestic manufacturing. “The bottom line is America can compete, but we need to work harder and look at how we design things to make them more effective and of better quality,” Bloomberg said. “If all that we do is to try to blast what everyone else is doing, it’s a spiraling down of our efforts.”
During a Q&A, the mayor said the city’s “intellectual capital” should be the emphasis, not domestic manufacturing, which can’t compete pricewise with overseas sourcing, especially “if you’re going to make a million white T-shirts.” And where that production went is once again moving to more affordable countries, Bloomberg said. Picking up on that thread, CFDA president von Furstenberg said the increasing cost of production in China has spurred some designers to bring some production back to New York. Noting how she has expanded her own sample room in Manhattan, she said, “Things are changing. It’s not all one way.”
Bloomberg added, “China is the marketplace of the future. That’s where America is going to sell its goods to.”
The way things stand now, one of every five jobs in New York City is in wholesale and one in every 10 is in manufacturing, according to Pinsky. Asked about the prospect of a Made in New York label for fashion goods, the mayor noted there is a “Made in NY” label for entertainment and TV. City officials are interested in the possibility of a Made in New York label but nothing concrete is on the table, according to Pinsky.
Afterwards, Gurung said, “For someone like me, who makes 95 percent of the collection in New York, it’s great to see this initiative and effort. 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.”
Making sure that people want to work in the city is imperative, said Bloomberg, adding that corporate taxes are “much too high” for domestic manufacturers to compete with international counterparts. He said the same argument cannot be made for income taxes and repeated his stand to eliminate all of the Bush-era tax cuts as the only way to close the budget deficit.
As for City Council Speaker Christine Quinn’s recent proposal to establish a design week, modeled after fashion week, to market the nearly 40,000-person-strong design industry that encompasses interior decorating, architecture and other sectors, Pinsky said that, too, is “something that could certainly be good for the city.”
When asked about the CFDA’s decision to leave the garment center to relocate downtown, von Furstenberg had a rapid-fire response. “We looked very hard to find what we needed. We at the CFDA, we represent downtown. We represent midtown. We are New York. We are fashion. We promote staying here. We promote manufacturing here. Clearly, we are doing our job,” she said. “I should be a politician.”
Many of the 800-plus New York-based fashion companies are scattered throughout the city. Rezoning the Garment Center remains an unsettled and controversial matter. Results from the second part of the CFDA-backed Design for Public Space’s Made in Midtown survey should be released soon, according to von Furstenberg. Where that will lead remains to be seen. On her way out of the Fashion Incubator, Maloney, wearing a red suit and a red Birkin bag, told a reporter, “Anyone who says they know what’s going on with the redistricting is lying.”
There'll be no rest for those headed to Europe for men's, as Paris just closed the gap with Milan. According to a provisional calendar released by the Chambre Syndicale, Paris Men's Week will now open a day earlier on January 16. See new highlights on the official lineup on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
BREAKING: Jonathan Saunders is leaving @DVF. The designer has resigned from his position as chief creative officer of Diane von Furstenberg, the company said in a statement on Friday. At the time of his hire, von Furstenberg said Saunders’ arrival symbolized and facilitated her stepping back from the day-to-day duties that occupy the work of a full-time creative director. The British designer joined DVF in May 2016 and was in charge of all product categories. #wwdnews
For @versace_official’s spring ad campaign, the brand emphasized the archival prints from the spring tribute collection dedicated to the late Gianni Versace. Closing out the show were five of Gianni’s favorite models: Cindy, Naomi, Carla, Helena, and Claudia. Bowing on December 18, the new campaign is yet another tribute to supermodel-dom as the images by Steven Meisel are fronted by @iamnaomicampbell, @cturlington, @gisele and more. #wwdfashion
Four-time Oscar-nominated actress Annette Bening has been waiting 20 years to play Gloria Graham in "Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool," which will be released on December 29. The movie about Graham – a Hollywood star known for her controversial relationship with a younger Englishman named Peter Turner – is based off a memoir Turned wrote. "She felt vulnerable to him, because she loved him, she really did love him. And anyone that we really truly are in love with, we re vulnerable to in a very deep way," said Bening. Read our full interview with the modern icon of an actress on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @ninebagatelles; Styled by @cristinaehrlich)
The crisp white button down: a staple that can be dressed up or down and accessorized throughout the decades. Here, on a Art Basel-goer in 2017 on the left and on the iconic Audrey Hepburn in “Roman Holiday” in 1953 on the right. #tbt #wwdfashion (📷: Andrew Morales)
Known for her work with @victoriassecret, 25-year-old model @georgiafowler is raising her profile in Hollywood. Fowler stars in @vincecamuto’s holiday campaign, which launched in partnership with “Pitch Perfect 3.” “Almost every shoot with Vince Camuto, I’ve had to face a fear…It was definitely a challenge. I’m so grateful for it, though. I’ve always wanted to be a pop star, so that was the perfect chance,” Fowler said. Head to WWD.com to read about Fowler’s experience modeling, including at the #VSFashionShow, and her relationship with Nick Jonas. #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
EXCLUSIVE: Huda Kattan just became the first beauty influencer to land a major beauty deal. Kattan's business, @hudabeauty, has received a minority investment from private equity firm TSG Consumer Partners. The brand, which industry sources say is on track to do $200 million in retail sales for 2017, will receive support on product, retail and geographic expansion through the deal. Get all the details on the deal and read @_a_collins' interview with Kattan on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdbeauty #wwdnews
Peruvian model @juanaburga_official – who is known for walking the runways of @rodarte, @viviennewestwood and @torybuch – is making the move to the big screen with drama “Los Últimos.” The film premiered in Argentina in November and arrives in the U.S. and Europe in 2018. On making the switch from modeling to acting, Burga told WWD: “It’s a completely different thing – a lot of people think it’s similar or try to connect things, especially like getting used to the camera or being looked at all the time or playing these different characrers, but film is a completely different story.” #wwdeye (📷: @jgreenery)
London’s newly opened @designmuseum will look back on the life and work of Azzedine Alaïa in a show that the designer helped to curate before he died of heart failure last month. The retrospective, which Alaïa had worked on with Mark Wilson, chief curator of the @groningermuseum, will look at the impact of his work worldwide. The show, “Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier,” will run from May 10 to October 7. Read more about the exhibit on WWD.com #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @zefashioninsider)