The New York City Economic Development Corp. presented its first Made in NY Fashion Award to Andrew Rosen, who is both chief executive officer of Theory Inc. and an investor in and mentor to designers including Rag & Bone, Alice and Olivia and Proenza Schouler.
The award, presented at a breakfast before the start of the WWD CEO Summit at the Pierre Hotel in Manhattan, recognizes Rosen’s role in helping grow the New York fashion industry, including its manufacturing infrastructure. “Andrew Rosen’s fingerprints are all over New York fashion,” said Maria Torres-Springer, president of the EDC.
Torres-Springer introduced Marcus Wainwright and David Neville of Rag & Bone, who presented the award to Rosen. “Andrew Rosen is the guy every young designer in America wants to have as an investor in their business,” Wainwright said. “But he’s not just an investor, he is a great mentor and very dear friend.
“We have been working our asses off for the last 10 years to make him proud.”
Neville said the designers were only too happy to present the award to Rosen when he asked them to do so. “But then we found out it was at seven o’clock in the morning and we almost backed out, but it was too late,” he said.
He went on to emphasize the importance of New York manufacturing, especially to their company’s success. “Rag & Bone would not be here if it weren’t for the Garment District,” Neville said, adding its “skilled workforce helped us get to where we are today. We see some incredible companies making fantastic clothes in the Garment District.”
In accepting the award, Rosen played a video that traced his family’s three generations of involvement in the New York fashion industry, beginning with his grandfather Arthur Rosen founding Puritan Fashions Corp. in 1910 and following with his father Carl taking it over and propelling its growth by becoming the first to license a designer name for a jeans line: Calvin Klein. The video included touching commentary by Rosen’s children Ashley and Austin, who recalled going with their father to Bloomingdale’s to see the first rack of Theory clothes in the store, or seeing the brand get all the windows in the Bloomingdale’s flagship on 59th Street.
He stressed the importance of fashion manufacturing throughout New York City, and not just in the Garment District. “I believe very much that the future of our industry and designers in America depends on the manufacturing eco-system existing in New York,” he said.
As for what that future holds for Rosen, himself, he admitted in the video that he didn’t know. “I can’t predict — we’ll just have to wait and see,” he said. “But I’ll be sitting at my desk.”