New York Gov. Kathy Hochul is taking a major step to help independent designers with their fashion show costs in an effort to help them recover from the pandemic.
The governor said Wednesday that New York State has formed a partnership with IMG to implement a $500,000 grant program to assist small, independent fashion designers with grants of $50,000 each to offset certain costs of their New York Fashion Week productions for the spring 2023 season in September.
This season’s NYFW shows began Feb. 11 and wrap up Wednesday.
IMG will implement and manage an application process to select 10 grant recipients based on a set of criteria developed by IMG in partnership with Empire State Development.
“Fashion Week is a celebration of New York’s role as the fashion capital of the world, drawing and inspiring an unparalleled array of creative talent,” said Hochul. “As we make our comeback from the pandemic, it is essential that we prioritize the recovery of one of New York’s most exciting and dynamic industries. By partnering with New York’s best small and independent designers we are strengthening our economy and supporting vibrant development in this crucial industry.”
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, New York City’s fashion industry employed 4.6 percent of the city’s workforce, generating about $11 billion in total wages. The fashion, retail and creative industries together represent a key economic engine for New York State that has been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.
The grant program is expected to help support the return of the city’s fashion industry post-COVID-19, attract and retain fashion talent, and enable more small and independent New York-based designers to participate in recovery efforts. The opportunity to show new collections to buyers, media, industry and consumer audiences is expected to help fashion designers’ businesses recover.
Empire State Development Commissioner president and chief executive officer Hope Knight said, “New York City is the creative soul, and economic engine, of the fashion industry. Gov. Hochuls’s partnership with IMG to implement this grant program will give a group of small, independent designers access to the runway during Fashion Week, and in turn will support an entire network of creators and businesses, from tailors to support staff who are at the vital heart of New York’s signature style.”
Leslie Russo, president of IMG’s Fashion Events and Properties, said, “We are grateful to Gov. Hochul and New York State for their continued partnership in our initiatives to support the New York fashion community. Our state exemplifies leadership in the global recovery of the COVID-19 pandemic, and it is because of their guidance that we have been able to help the industry rebuild after the devastating impact of the last two years. Collaborating with Empire State Development will further diversify the voices of New York Fashion Week and ensure we continue to foster new generations of talent and represent American fashion on the global fashion stage for years to come.”
Last September, IMG formed the Fashion Alliance to help support the community as a whole in the wake of COVID-19. It provided support, funding and resources for 11 independent designer brands with their shows during NYFW through 2022. Those designer brands are Telfar, Rodarte, Proenza Schouler, Altuzarra, Brandon Maxwell, Prabal Gurung, Sergio Hudson, Monse, Jason Wu, LaQuan Smith and Markarian.
Hochul has been showing her support to the industry by attending fashion shows during NYFW. On Feb. 11 she attended Proenza Schouler’s show at the Brant Foundation and last season she was a front-row attendee at Prabal Gurung’s show.