New York’s plan to invest more than $51 million in a program that includes relocating Garment Industry firms to Brooklyn found a vocal — albeit hardly surprising — opponent Friday: Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer.
Brewer issued a statement that told New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and his administration to “start over.”
Brewer said she’s been talking to the Garment District manufacturers who are still operating in the area and they are “there because they need to be. The administration seems to have trouble understanding that.
“The entire fashion industry — from merchandising to media to public relations to marketing — needs the designers. The designers need the manufacturers and suppliers. Without the manufacturers and suppliers as a foundation, the industry has no reason to be here.”
She added that the Garment District is “an ecosystem of collaborative businesses with highly skilled, hard-to-replace workers. A designer could visit a factory or workshop once, twice or even 10 times a day to make sure production is going correctly. Garments often pass through multiple workshops with different specialties before they are finished.
“So a plan that eliminates the Garment District’s zoning protections for manufacturing and moves some manufacturers to a remote neighborhood, adding hours or days to the production process and disrupting the ecosystem, sounds like a plan to push the industry out of New York entirely.”
On Friday morning, the New York City Economic Development Corporation, known as NYCEDC, in collaboration with the Council of Fashion Designers of America and the Garment District Alliance, said it will invest a package worth $51.3 million to “help stabilize and strengthen the garment manufacturing industry in New York.”
The investment covers technology, business technical assistance and workforce development that will be made available to factories in the five boroughs. Part of the program includes relocation and expansion support for companies interested in moving out of the Garment District to a new hub in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.