By  on January 4, 1994

NEW YORK -- Mayor Rudolph Giuliani's early and prominent mention of the fashion industry in his inaugural speech Sunday was as welcome on SA as a huge reorder.

"That shows that he's reaching out, and that's very positive," said Bruce Herman, president of the Garment Industry Development Corp., a 10-year-old labor-management organization that promotes the apparel industry here.

In his speech, Giuliani urged the city to "look anew at our cultural, artistic and fashion institutions."

"They are not only part of the heart and soul of our city, but also they are important industries that will and must grow to create more jobs. Look anew at Broadway, the opera, the ballet, the museums and the fashion industry as powerful magnets drawing people and commerce to our city. We must expand them all, and as they grow more, New Yorkers will go back to work," he said.

During his campaign, Giuliani courted the industry with a series of fund-raisers at showrooms throughout the garment district. He called for a reinstatement of the industry's liaison desk at City Hall, which had been policy up through the administration of Edward Koch. Giuliani has not yet made such an appointment.

Herman of the GIDC further commented that Giuliani's endorsement of nonprofit organizations to work on city problems -- as opposed to government agencies alone -- bode well for his operation.

"We've always considered ourselves a fruitful example of a public-private partnership," Herman said. In the current fiscal year, which ends June 30, the GIDC is budgeted for $400,000 from New York City, with an overall budget of $1.5 million, mostly for job development and retraining programs.

Herman also said a liaison office would be good, but only if the position is "empowered with the ability to access the mayor directly."

Bud Konheim, president of Nicole Miller Ltd., who was on Giuliani's economic advisory committee during the campaign and helped raise more than $250,000, and who also served on the transition advisory committee, said he has been lobbying Peter Powers, Giuliani's campaign manager and now deputy mayor for operations, and other administration figures for an integrated plan to promote and expand the garment industry.

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