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Press Release

Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City, CFDA & NYCEDC Announce New Partnership to Provide Firsthand Experience to Next Generation of Fashion Industry

Mar 14 2016

NYC Fashion Forward initiative will create 100 paid internships for young people in fashion companies citywide for summer 2016

22 companies have so far committed to support NYC Fashion Forward this year, including Coach, Inc.

NYC Fashion Forward is one of NYC’s “Made in NY” fashion initiatives investing in local fashion economy

NEW YORK, NY—The Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) and the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) today announced the launch of the NYC Fashion Forward initiative, a public-private partnership to create unique early work exposure and experiences for young people throughout the fashion industry through specialized paid internships. Part of the city’s ‘Made in NY’ suite of fashion initiatives, NYC Fashion Forward will connect 100 New York City high school and undergraduate college students to internships with fashion companies across the City – from designers and manufacturers to public relations specialists and small business owners – providing critical experience and exposure to the next generation of this industry during the summer of 2016. So far, 22 fashion companies have signed on to support NYC Fashion Forward.

This announcement was made today at Coach, Inc. Offices by Gabrielle Fialkoff, senior advisor to the Mayor and director of the Mayor’s Office of Strategic Partnerships; Maria Torres-Springer, president of NYCEDC; Steven Kolb, president and chief executive officer of the CFDA; and Chief Executive Officer of Coach, Inc. (NYSE: COH, SEHK: 6388) Victor Luis.

“Connecting our young people to valuable internship opportunities is not just about creating a career launching pad. NYC Fashion Forward is also shaping a homegrown talent pool that will satisfy the fashion industry’s growing demand for diverse and loyal employees,” said Gabrielle Fialkoff, senior advisor to the Mayor and director of the Mayor’s Office of Strategic Partnerships. “Together, we can ensure that our young people, our businesses and our city are better prepared to compete in the 21st century economy.”

"In order to further cultivate our City's robust fashion industry, we must create a pipeline of talent that can build on our already thriving ecosystem," said NYCEDC President Maria Torres-Springer. "NYC Fashion Forward helps nurture the next generation of designers, manufacturers, and fashion professionals, helping to ensure that New York City remains the fashion capital of the world."

“Most fashion careers start with the internship, which offers valuable insights into the industry,” said Steven Kolb, President and CEO of the CFDA. “By partnering with the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City and the New York City Economic Development Corporation, the CFDA can provide high school students and college undergraduates with the opportunity to become tomorrow’s fashion leaders.”

"Coach was founded on the principles of design innovation and know-how that come from the diligent pursuit of craft,” said Victor Luis, Chief Executive Officer of Coach, Inc. “So naturally, we believe in a program that honors the passion and dedication of those who want to pursue careers in the industry from a young age. Creating this kind of professional exposure and opportunity will help them create a bright future in the industry."

“New York City is one of the fashion capitals of the world, and many of today’s top talents got their start here. NYC Fashion Forward will give young people in our Ladders for Leaders program first-hand, real world job experience with the most influential companies in the fashion industry,” said Department of Youth & Community Development Commissioner Bill Chong. “DYCD is proud to work with the Mayor’s Fund to ensure that our young people have access to unique job opportunities that will help them grow into the next generation of influencers and trendsetters.”

“Our young people require first-hand job experience in order to envision and progress toward a successful career – and our city’s fashion industry is able to deliver that critical exposure,” said Darren Bloch, executive director of the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City. “NYC Fashion Forward shows what our city can accomplish through public-private partnership, combining the reach of government with the talent and resources of one of New York’s most important economic sectors and accomplishing a joint goal: to create career-making opportunities today for the workforce of tomorrow.”

“NYC Fashion Forward is a key part of the NYC Center for Youth Employment’s work to ensure that our city’s youth employment services deliver value to both our young people and the private sector,” said David Fischer, executive director of the NYC Center for Youth Employment. “By coordinating with our employer partners through initiatives like NYC Fashion Forward, we can create quality work opportunities that help launch careers and replenish the talent pool in vital local industries.”

“Our city has always been a trendsetter and I’m so pleased that NYC Fashion Forward is making headlines by providing our youth with paid internships at well-known fashion companies. Our city is home to so many incredible designers and talented young people, and pairing these two groups with one another will benefit our entire economy,” said Council Member Mathieu Eugene, Chairman of the Youth Services Committee. “Our young people are ready for incredible things—they just need opportunities, and I’d like to thank the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, the Council of Fashion Designers of America, and the New York City Economic Development Corporation for making this program possible.”

“Summer jobs save lives and have the potential to transform our communities,” said Council Member Jumaane D. Williams. “We know students who participate in youth employment have stronger test scores, are more involved in school, are less likely to be incarcerated and are more likely to stay alive. I applaud Mayor de Blasio’s new initiative to provide paid internships in the fashion industry each year to 100 kids and look forward to working with him to continue expanding summer and all-year round youth employment.”

For the summer of 2016, as part of NYC Fashion Forward, NYCEDC will commit to financially back 60 summer jobs, created in collaboration with the Mayor’s Fund, the CFDA and the NYC Department of Youth and Community Development, that pair participating students with employers that will be able to best offer real world training and mentorship. In addition, the Mayor’s Fund and CFDA will work with prominent, large-scale fashion firms across the city to create the remaining 40 employer-funded summer internships.

The following employers have committed to host young people this year through NYC Fashion Forward:

  • 3.1 Phillip Lim
  • Alice + Olivia
  • CFDA
  • Coach
  • David Wolfson & Associates, Inc.
  • Design Incubator Inc.
  • Designers & Agents
  • Diane von Furstenberg
  • J. Crew
  • Haskell Jewels LLC
  • Kate Spade & Company
  • Krupp Group
  • Lulu Frost
  • Maison De Mode
  • Melissa Joy Manning
  • New York Embroidery Studio
  • Nicholas K
  • Opening Ceremony
  • Rachel Comey
  • Timo Weiland
  • Tommy Hilfiger

The students who will participate in NYC Fashion Forward will be selected from the NYC Ladders for Leaders program. A nationally recognized employment program of the NYC Department for Youth and Community Development, Ladders offers city students the opportunity to participate in paid, professional summer internships within leading large and small businesses, nonprofits and government agencies citywide. NYC Fashion Forward will further specialize the opportunities available through Ladders for Leaders.

Each Ladders for Leaders candidate is placed following a rigorous application and selection process, and all selected participants receive 30 hours of pre-employment training. This year’s program will begin in July 2016 and will last for six weeks, with students working for approximately 25 hours per week.

NYC Fashion Forward is part of the NYC Center for Youth Employment’s ongoing efforts to create pipelines of young talent into our city’s industries, in order to build employment services that meet the needs of both the youngest New Yorkers and city business. Launched in May 2015 by the Mayor’s Fund, the NYC Center for Youth Employment has a specific goal of supporting 100,000 unique work-related experiences each year, including high-quality summer jobs, career exposure, skills-building, and supportive mentorships, by 2020. In collaboration with city agencies, employers and other stakeholders, the Center is also focused on evaluating the city’s youth workforce system as a whole, with an eye toward expanding effective programs and filling in gaps.

Announced by Mayor Bill de Blasio in February 2015 at MADE Fashion Week, the ambitious suite of ‘Made in NY’ fashion initiatives tripled the City’s investment in the local fashion economy from $5 million to $15 million. Part of the City’s expansion of its signature ‘Made in NY’ program, the new fashion initiatives set out to cultivate a robust pipeline of fashion industry talent within New York City, catalyze growth of emerging creative businesses, and support fashion manufacturing facilities across all five boroughs. To date, the initiatives have showcased over 150 local fashion brands to an estimated 650 million people; connected emerging businesses with over 75 industry-leading mentors; generated $500,000 in sales for New York City-based designers; and awarded over $4.5 million in financing and prizes to emerging and small businesses.

New York City Economic Development Corporation creates shared prosperity across New York City’s five boroughs by strengthening neighborhoods and creating good jobs. NYCEDC works with and for communities to provide them with the resources they need to thrive, and we invest in projects that increase sustainability, support job growth, develop talent, and spark innovation to strengthen the City’s competitive advantage. To learn more about our work and initiatives, please visit us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.