‘MADE IN N.Y.’ GUIDE TAKES A BOW
Byline: Rosemary Feitelberg
NEW YORK — UNITE’s “Made in New York” awareness campaign got a boost from a wide range of supporters Monday, including Cyndi Lauper, Deborah Norville, Miss USA Kandace Krueger and child actress Hallie Kate Eisenberg, along with Nicole Miller, Elie Tahari and garment workers wearing red velvet Santa caps.
For less than $10,000, UNITE has printed up 250,000 shopping guides highlighting brands that manufacture in New York and stores that carry them. Manufacturers in turn have covered the cost of hang tags imprinted with “UNITE! Proudly Made in New York.” Aimed at wayward shoppers who have steered clear of stores after Sept. 11th, the guides are being distributed through stores, hotels, schools, doormen, restaurants and visitors’ centers.
UNITE president Bruce Raynor said garment workers will be volunteering their time to pass out the brochures at subway stations and other heavily trafficked areas in the city in the coming weeks.
“This effort is made of people in the industry, people in entertainment, janitors — the people of New York. They’re pulling together to save New York’s garment industry,” he said. “Together no one can defeat us, especially when Americans walk into stores. Not only will they feel better, but they will look better, too.”
Raynor noted how retail sales and apparel production have been impacted by Sept. 11. Thousands of the city’s 60,000 garment workers have been laid off due to factory closings and many others have had their work weeks reduced to 20 to 25 hours.
Calvin Klein, Bill Blass and Eddie Bauer were singled out for their plans to produce a substantial amount of garments in the city. Afterward, Ron Feltzer, chief executive officer of Bill Blass, said the company is in talks to try to get some of its accessories produced here. The designer’s couture collection is already made in the city, he said.
Eddie Bauer is close to finalizing a deal to make men’s neckties in New York and is examining opportunities to also make accessories here, a company spokeswoman said. Last week, Brooks Bros. sold 37,000 ties — 7,000 more than it produces each week in its Long Island City factory, according to president and chief executive officer Joseph Gromeck. Founded in 1818 on the Lower East Side, the company has been committed to the city for decades and lost its Liberty Plaza store during the terrorist attacks. Gromeck estimated that 7 to 8 percent of its merchandise — $60 million worth of goods — is made in New York.
When a female model appeared in the brand’s tuxedo pants and jacket, Lauper, who co-hosted the event wearing black leather pants and a zebra shirt joked, “Ah, from Brooks Bros., you know I shop there.”
Her sidekick, Norville, wearing the red, white and blue UNITE hang tag on her navy pantsuit, wrangled an interview with Miller for tonight’s edition of “Inside Edition.”
Miller said she expects the program to have a national scope. Having recently been across the country for various 9/11 fund-raisers, she said out-of-towners are eager to help the city.
The city’s factories are “just as good as anywhere else,” and have skilled workers that produce quality goods, Miller said. Should more manufacturers choose to use local factories that would help make production costs more competitive, she said.
Another attendee, actress Blythe Danner, said she has long been looking at labels to see where clothes are made because she is concerned about child labor issues and the shrinking domestic labor market.
She said she often won’t buy a garment if it is made overseas, but is “not as consistent as she would like to be.”