IT WASN’T THAT LONG AGO that New York’s Garment District was the bedrock of American fashion. It was a busy hub of happily employed artisans, designers and manufacturing concerns. With the globalization of commerce, much of this activity was transferred offshore, where production costs were a fraction of domestic…labor especially.
NOW THERE’S A RESURGENCE not only of manufacturing in New York, but of fashion industry paired with government efforts to re-establish NYC as the foremost FASHION CENTER OF THE WORLD. Here are some of the current happenings:
A major promotion is titled FASHION NYC 2020, and it’s a coming-together of local industry leaders and select members of Mayor Bloomberg’s staff. Brainstorming sessions are already underway to come up with innovative ideas and promotional planning to advance all phases of fashion and accessories merchandising within the 5 boroughs of New York City across the coming decade. The focus is on job creation and successful business operations for wholesale and retail firms, from very small to very substantial fashion enterprises.
[WHAT’S HAPPENING IN NEW YORK CITY HAS REAL SIGNIFICANCE FOR CITIES AND COMMUNITIES ACROSS THE COUNTRY. THERE ARE SOME TERRIFIC IDEAS HERE FOR YOUR TOWN, TOO!]
The New York project also factors in new beginnings: the mayor’s office is looking to foster young talent to provide long-term impetus to secure the City’s top-level status both in the mechanics of the fashion and accessories industry as well as the entire spectrum of retail. Panel discussions feature leaders in everything from design to sourcing and manufacturing and retail, all already actively operating in New York.
— At a dinner held at Macy’s Herald Square recently, fashion executives freely expressed their opinions and what they viewed as basic needs at this juncture. City officials at each table were seen taking notes.
WOMEN EXECUTIVES WORKING IN THE FASHION WORLD AND LOOKING TO PRESENT A CHIC, PROFESSIONAL APPEARANCE MIGHT CONSIDER ACCESSORIES FOR JUST THE RIGHT FINISHED LOOK. SOME EXAMPLES:
- Bow crystal pin adds a handsome accent to a business suit or tailored dress.
- Tailored fashion earrings with crossing pattern in silver or gold plate.
Ways and Means Committees
Ideas range from promos like Fashion’s Night Out, scheduled for September 10th, with possibly no sales tax, and special events to draw retail customers. They’re looking for new ways to stimulate tourism linked to local shopping, again with hot-button angles, such as discount coupons or subsidized travel-to-NYC tickets. Also under discussion are ways to shorten lead time for sources, so that stores can display fashions and accessories not for a coming season, but for right now.
THINGS ARE LOOKING UP—ALREADY!
Statistics bode well for the City: today there are over 800 fashion businesses in NYC, more than in any other fashion capital worldwide. (Paris, the second largest, has half that number.) These produce $10 billion of business that bolsters the economic health of NYC. In recent years, a good number of designers have looked to domestic sources manufacture their wares. It’s a matter of balance: yes, it is cheaper to have manufacturing done in, say, China. But long-distance supervision of the manufacturing process doesn’t work for many, and for younger designers especially, manufacturing questions or complications are best dealt with in person.
—Also, you eliminate high shipping costs… and now the dollar exchange is weak against a number of other currencies, another factor that increases costs.
A key stumbling block is that offshore manufacturers want to contract with firms that order the highest volume, bypassing smaller orders or, as one designer put it, “putting me at the end of the line.” Language also can pose communications problems or misunderstandings. Here, designers have face-to-face control.
Mayor Bloomberg has worked with agencies and the private sector to provide “perks” such as offered by the NYC Fashion Incubator, providing help to promising fashion designers—not only services, but, importantly, studio space at a discounted rental to regular NYC real estate rates. Once established, it is hoped that these designers, with local roots and connections, will base their operations in New York.
COSTS CAN ALSO BE CONTROLLED BY FINDING THE RIGHT RESOURCE FOR PRODUCTS AVAILABLE HERE IN THE UNITED STATES. SOME EXAMPLES OF WHAT WE MEAN:
- Wholesale evening bag in high fashion colors.
- Chunky yellow fashion necklace set. Classy!
WHAT’S IN A NAME?
Another goal is to heighten the prestige of the “MADE IN NEW YORK” label. With a concerted effort, that shouldn’t be hard: there’s just so much excitement and glamour that has always been linked to the City, including its history as American fashion mecca. The label should be prized for all it represents: REBIRTH OF NY’S FABLED GARMENT CENTER—JOBS AND ALL!