Twelve New York-based factories are getting a financial jolt through grants as part of the latest round of the Fashion Manufacturing Initiative.
In partnership with the New York City Economic Development Corp., the Council of Fashion Designers of America announced what is the program’s largest investment to date — nearly $730,000 — and the most recipients since the 2013 launch. Last year, seven grant winners received more than $480,000 all told. Nearly $3.5 million has been doled out to 33 New York City-based manufacturers since FMI was unrolled.
Designed to rev up local fashion manufacturing, the public-private grant program started with help from Ralph Lauren, the Coach Foundation and Andrew Rosen. Still committed to bolstering the local sector and its workforce, the grants are designed to help recipients polish up their facilities and capabilities. Eight of this year’s 12 recipients are first-time winners. All of them were selected to receive the financial boost for equipment and software, infrastructure upgrades, capital improvements, relocation costs and workforce training. The aim is that more accelerated services will help to secure manufacturing jobs in New York City’s fashion industry.
Atelier Amelia, Button Down Factory, Create-a-Marker, Timberlake Studios, New York Embroidery Studio, SN Productions and Geri Gerard are a few of this year’s winners that are based in the garment district. Hertling and Tailored Industry run their businesses from Brooklyn and Rainbow Leather and Not Just Lace are in Queens. Contrary to its name, Park Avenue Trimming is rooted in Chelsea. Hertling, Geri Gerard, Button Down Factory and Timberlake Studios are among this year’s newcomers.
The FMI also has a comprehensive online production directory to help designers find reliable, high-quality local manufacturers. Naturally, all of the FMI grant recipient are part of that roster. On another front, FMI has networking events, collaborative partnerships and business development opportunities.
Rosen recently told WWD, “I think the domestic manufacturing, the CFDA and I have done a lot of good work there, but there’s a lot of work still to do. I think as the marketplace and the supply chains need to get quicker, domestic manufacturing will continue to be important and is necessary. For new designers and new companies to start, the best way to start is with domestic manufacturing. I think for the future of our industry, we need to have domestic manufacturing,” he said. “It’s much easier for a new company that has small quantities and is just getting its feet on the ground to have a closer relationship with their suppliers and they can do that domestically. I think so many companies in the past have started that way, and so many in the future will start that way.”