Deirdre Quinn, the chief executive officer and cofounder of Lafayette 148 New York, was on the sprawling 14th floor of Building 77 in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, where the fashion brand relocates its headquarters next May."This is the spot where my design team will be. I want to give them the best view. They have to be inspired," said Quinn, as she stood by the window to show the panoramic overlook of lower Manhattan.The six designers, Quinn assured, will be right next to the rest of the Lafayette 148 New York team — the sewers, cutters, call center personnel, and the sales, marketing, merchandising, fabrics, production and IT groups, 200 people in all, working closely together. The majority of the operations of Lafayette 148 New York, a modern fashion brand known for fit and craftsmanship and priced a rung under designer prices, will be contained on the 14th floor, a big change from the current headquarters in SoHo on Lafayette Street, spread over seven floors.Moving to the Navy Yard cuts the rent by two-thirds to about $30 a foot. "Employees are your biggest expense. The second biggest is my rent," Quinn said. But there's more to it than cost savings. It's about innovation, Quinn said, and having a more efficient plant. Quinn said the move will change how her employees work together and communicate, and that the new environment provides room to grow the business and the team and will motivate everyone."I don't want silos. It's all about teamwork. Efficiency is essential to success," Quinn said. "There will be some offices, but otherwise this will be a much more open-work environment. One department sits next to another.""We are having a great year. We are expanding in our shoes," whether it's the jewelry division, retailing in China and the U.S., or the call center, Quinn said. "I see the opportunities for the company."On Nov. 9, Mayor Bill de Blasio, local politicians, officials from the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Quinn and executives from other businesses officiated over the grand opening of the 1 million-square-foot Building 77. Once an abandoned windowless concrete bunker, it's been redeveloped at a cost of $185 million to the New York City Economic Development Corp. and is the centerpiece of the Brooklyn Navy Yard, symbolizing hope for bringing back some manufacturing to the city and employment opportunity for middle- and working-class residents. Along with Lafayette 148 New York, Building 77 will house other manufacturers as well as tech companies, start-ups, robotics, food companies and restaurants, some of which have already opened. According to the officials, Building 77 is 82 percent leased."Russ and Daughters coming to Brooklyn is a big moment," the Mayor told the crowd on the main floor of Building 77, lauding the famous 102-year restaurant with the hamish attitude. "Some restaurants represent the fullest truth of New York culture.""Building 77 is 1 million square feet of new opportunity for everyday New Yorkers bringing 3,000 new jobs to the Navy Yard in the next 18 months," said David Ehrenberg, president and ceo of the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corp. "It's going against decades of history" involving the city's shrinking manufacturing base. More than 10,000 jobs will be ultimately added to the Brooklyn Navy Yard as more buildings in the complex get redeveloped. Brooklyn Navy Yard is located on the edge of the East River by Wallabout Basin, just south of Williamsburg. At its peak, the Navy Yard produced warships for the U.S. Navy. Now the city is pushing to reestablish it as a commercial center for thousands of workers, with different end uses."I'm keeping the industrial feel of the Navy Yard," Quinn said, noting the polished concrete floors and exposed ceilings on her floor in Building 77. "But everything else will be new — new sewing machines, offices, kitchens, the showroom and we will have two roof decks. The best part is that there is room to grow here. We've got to keep evolving," Quinn said, indicating that in addition to the 67,511-square-foot level 14, her firm is taking 27,752 square feet on level eight of Building 77, and could take space in another Navy Yard building. "We're also looking to upgrade our warehouse facility to be state-of-the-art. It's critical as we do more direct shipping, and if possible I would like to move it into the Navy Yard. We just have to find the right space." The company has an 80,000-square-foot warehouse facility in the Brooklyn Army Terminal. "We've been there for 15 years."After its move, the fashion brand in SoHo will maintain 10,000 square feet on the eighth floor for some offices and a store, that if necessary will be a pop up showroom, twice a year, for major market weeks. "Not everyone is going to come out to Brooklyn," Quinn acknowledged, though the Brooklyn Navy Yard is more accessible than many people realize. “The Navy Yard is an eight-minute Uber ride from 148 Lafayette.” It's also about a 20-minute ride from Midtown, with no traffic, though it's not particularly accessible by subway."Brooklyn is like this cool, creative community with this thriving vibe going on," Quinn said. "I think there is a bright future in Brooklyn and I'm not just saying that because I am moving there," as well as the company. "I moved to Navy Green, a new town house."The city hopes Brooklyn can become another garment city, making up for some of the decline of the sector on Seventh Avenue. Among most fashion firms, there's still a reluctance to leave Manhattan, though the move by Lafayette 148 New York could inspire others. "I believe as an entrepreneur it's absolutely possible," Quinn said.[caption id="attachment_11053873" align="alignnone" width="300"] Site of the future Lafayette 148 New York headquarters in the Brooklyn Navy Yard.[/caption]
In honor the @CFDA’s announcement of @iamnaomicampbell receiving the Fashion Icon Award at the 2018 #CFDAAwards, which will take place on June 4, here’s a #tbt of the supermodel on @michaelkors’ runway in 1991. #wwdfashion #wwdarchive (📷: George Chinsee)
“I was making the guacamole when my scout saw me,” says model @stuckinteenage on being discovered just six months ago while working at @chipotlemexicangrill. Since then Williams has signed with @dnamodels, walked in her first show at @calvinklein and landed on the cover of @vogueitalia – a high point of any model’s career. To read @lisajlockwood’s full interview with the model on her experiences thus far, head to WWD.com – link in bio. (📷: George Chinsee)
“I love the idea of dialogue, period. It’s where I’ve always gotten my inspiration from: hearing other women speak, their journeys and their paths,” said @hereisgina, who delivered the keynote speech during @sxsw for @createcultivate in partnership with @fossil. For her two panels, Rodriguez chose female empowering, female-led and female entrepreneurs to focus on. Head to WWD.com to read more about her thoughts on Time’s Up, growing up in a family of women and why we “need a girls’ club.” #wwdeye #sxsw (📷: @jgreenery)
Leading luxury brand are shaking things up to keep up with streetwear. Case in point: the arrival of @mrkimjones as artistic director of @diorhomme. Jones, who succeeds @Kris_Van_Assche, is seen as one of the handful of designers who can actually straddle the luxury and streetwear worlds — which could lead to even more changes at established brands. What could this mean for the rest of the menswear landscape? Head to WWD.com to find out what experts predict #wwdfashion (📷: @franckmura)
“It’s like buying groceries. You’re going to buy the best mango, the best mozzarella, the best things. You have to, or others are going to take it all,” said @gabrielahearst on why she uses only the finest fabrics. Last week, Hearst received her first @cfda nomination for Womenswear Designer of the Year, and earlier this month she opened a permanent showroom in Paris. To read @jessiredale’s interview with the designer and find out why this is shaping up to be a big year for her, head to WWD.com. #wwdfashion (📷: @francoisgoize)
“It’s an interesting thing, playing a younger version of your mother. It’s an interesting concept. I adore my mom and love her in every capacity, but it was just something that had never crossed my mind,” says @anniemstarke on playing a young Joan Castleman in “The Wife.” The same role will be played by her mother Glenn Close. Read more about her growing up in the film industry as the daughter of producer John H. Starke and Close and what she has planned for the future #wwdeye (📷: @nataliamantini)
@asics is launching a new streetwear sneaker inspired by its latest ambassador, @steveaoki. The Hyper-Kenzen x Aoki, which will launch at @footlocker stores exclusively tomorrow, is a slip-on style that incorporates the brand’s proprietary Gel technology through beads integrated into the midsole for comfort and endurance. Read the full story on WWD.com.