The Garment District Alliance has revealed plans for new programming to sustain the neighborhood’s historic roots in fashion. It has selected 10 potential programs to provide various services designed to sustain and enhance the apparel industry’s local presence and impact, and improve the economic vitality of the district.
As part of a process that began last January, the organizations’ proposals were presented to the Garment District Alliance’s board of directors and selections for potential programs were made during GDA’s Dec. 18 board meeting.
GDA will allocate up to $2.5 million for comprehensive programming which will address initiatives such as workforce development, small business development, modernization, industry marketing, international trade and place-making in the district.
Also selected was a potential program to develop a new design for the Fashion Walk of Fame program. GDA will also fund the fabrication of a new iconic button and needle sculpture that will acknowledge the Garment District as the center of New York City’s fashion industry.
“Even as the Garment District diversifies its character in exciting, new ways with new business sectors, the community retains its commitment to its legacy as a world-renowned fashion district,” said Barbara A. Blair, GDA president. “While we are vigorously seizing upon the many new opportunities made possible through the rezoning, we are also nurturing and maintaining the powerful inks that connect he Garment District to its proud heritage in this neighborhood and we look forward to introducing new productive programming to the area.”
The selected service providers will move on to the next steps in program creation, which includes GDA negotiations, program development and contracting approval. They include the following:
• Council of Fashion Designers of America — workforce development programs such as workforce training, career placement support and technical upskilling, as well as a program to develop the potential redesign of the Fashion Walk of Fame.
• Pratt Center for Community Development — business development programs services to companies that are part of the Garment District ecosystem, including manufacturers and designers who are committed to local manufacturing and seeking opportunities and resources to strengthen their marketing capacity.
• Industrial and Technology Assistance Corp. — one-on-one business development services consulting with District businesses to improve manufacturing competitiveness and business creativity in the district. Attracting new customers and sales opportunities for district fashion manufacturers with new, modern practices.
Other potential service providers include Nest, Course of Trade, Custom Collaborative, Kent State University and the U.S. Department of Commerce.
City Council Speaker Corey Johnson and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer were among the committee’s members who worked closely with GDA and its officers to review dozens of proposals and make programming recommendations.
“The fashion industry is an iconic and integral piece of New York City’s story and I am proud to work with the Garment District Alliance to support new initiatives that will help fortify apparel manufacturing in the Garment District. I congratulate the organizations who have been selected to receive this initial round of funding, including New York. City institutions like CFDA and Pratt Center, with whom my office has worked with extensively over the last few years. I thank the Garment District Alliance for all. They do to support this neighborhood’s enduring legacy and strengthen its economic base moving forward,” said Johnson.
“The Garment District’s history is long and storied,” said Brewer. “I’m pleased that these innovative programs will be working to retain garment manufacturers in the heart of Manhattan — a priority that we sought to ensure during the 2018 zoning change. I’m looking forward to seeing the results of this work and the GDA’s ongoing commitment to the industry.”
Last December, the GDA’s rezoning initiative, undertaken in cooperation with the Real Estate Board of New York and the New York City Economic Development Corp., lifted zoning restrictions affecting some 11 million square feet of space along the district’s side streets. Under the prior rules, most of this space remained limited to manufacturing uses. The rezoning freed this space for a wide range of business sectors better aligned with the urban dynamics of a modern central business district.
Today, about 86 percent of the Garment District’s diverse tenancy represents such varied business sectors such as media, finance, advertising, technology nonprofits, health care and entertainment.
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