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Press Release

NYCEDC Announces $51M Support Package for NYC Garment Manufacturing Industry in Collaboration with the Council of Fashion Designers of America and Garment District Alliance

Mar 24 2017

Comprehensive 10-year support package is the largest investment in this iconic sector in New York City history

$51M support package will help garment manufacturers gain access to advanced technology, provide business assistance, and assist with workforce development

NEW YORK, NY—New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), in collaboration with the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) and the Garment District Alliance, today announced an unprecedented $51.3 million-dollar package to help stabilize and strengthen New York City’s garment manufacturing industry.

The package includes investments in technology, business technical assistance and workforce development, which will be available to factories across the five boroughs. Relocation and expansion support will be available for companies that are interested in moving from the Garment District. Specifically, the support package is comprised of four critical types of interventions to support the declining industry:

  • Modernization and Investment in Technology
  • The Fashion Manufacturing Initiative (FMI) will provide direct business grants for investment in new machinery and technology to improve business efficiency, foster innovative production and increase global competitiveness
  • Enhanced Workforce Development
  • Support training programs that supply the industry with apprenticeships and entry-level and skilled workers
  • Support workforce development programs and promote career pathways
  • Provide supervisory training
  • Industry Organization and Technical Assistance
  • Strengthen business-to-businesses (B2B) networking
  • Provide business development support to increase efficiency and competitiveness
  • Real Estate Stability and Clustering
  • Provide grants to cover relocation, expansion and other costs for businesses that want to move from the Garment Center to Sunset Park
  • Offer a suite of services to strengthen the growing Sunset Park cluster of garment manufacturers, including direct grants for employee transportation, courier services and space fit-out.

“Since taking office, we’ve invested in every piece of the fashion industry, from a new academic building at FIT, to marketing assistance, to renovating space in City-owned buildings for manufacturers. I’m committed not just to the stability of garment manufacturing, but to its growth. There’s a market and a demand for clothes that are Made in New York, and we’re taking bold steps to help firms move to the new space we’ve developed so they can grow and thrive. I’m thankful to the CFDA and Garment District Alliance for their support in contributing to the evolution and future of this incredible industry,” said Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen.

“The CFDA is supportive of the City’s investment in the garment manufacturing industry and will join efforts to strengthen the sector for the future,” said Steven Kolb, President and CEO of the CFDA. “We see this as an opportunity to make the eco-system of production more city-wide at a time when the fashion industry is in need of a capital investment.”

“The Garment District Alliance is pleased to partner with NYCEDC and the CFDA to bring this package of meaningful supports to garment manufacturers. The future of the apparel industry is dependent upon the sustainability of the fashion ecosystem, and we believe this initiative will help to stabilize the apparel manufacturing sector that has been in decline for many years,” said Barbara Blair, President of the Garment District Alliance. “This program addresses the many challenges facing manufacturers by offering investment in technology and human capital, as well as options for affordable and modern factory spaces. We congratulate the de Blasio Administration for initiating this process.”

This robust package was developed by the City following substantial outreach to garment manufacturers, designers, suppliers and industry leaders to better understand the challenges that are crippling the industry today. Developed through one-on-one interviews, focus groups and site visits to Sunset Park, the package is a holistic response to the industry’s wide-ranging needs and will stabilize and strengthen this critical and historic NYC sector through a decade’s worth of investments. The City is continuing its outreach efforts to further refine the package in consultation with industry stakeholders, including through online and in-person surveys. NYCEDC is actively encouraging stakeholders to complete an online survey, which can be found here.

The $51M support package for the garment manufacturing industry builds upon the City’s $15M investment to create the Made in NY: Fashion initiative, which provides funding for fashion education, production, financing and retail programming.

The CFDA and NYCEDC’s Fashion Manufacturing Initiative, which provides funding for new machinery and technology, will build on the success of its first four years and increase grant funding for factories throughout the five boroughs. NYCEDC will procure a third-party operator in the coming months to implement the package of services.

History and Future of Garment Manufacturing in NYC

New York City’s garment manufacturing industry has lost 95% of its workforce since the industry’s peak in 1950. In the Garment Center alone, garment manufacturing jobs have declined by 83% since 1987, when the City put in place special zoning regulations to attempt to preserve garment manufacturing in the District.

The fashion industry is a significant contributor to the city’s economy, employing over 5% of the city’s total workforce. Local garment manufacturing is integral to the success of the fashion industry and can be competitive with respect to quality, time and convenience, and local production is equally important to both emerging and established designers.

Today, there are approximately 1,500 garment manufacturing firms citywide, and about 30% of these businesses, or approximately 400 firms, are located in the Garment District. These companies face immense global competition and real estate pressures despite preservation attempts, including rising commercial rents and an outdated building stock that fails to meet modern industrial needs.

In the face of these challenges, garment manufacturers have begun to relocate to areas outside of the Garment District, such as Sunset Park, the second-largest garment manufacturing hub in the city, which is home to just over 100 firms. Sunset Park offers an abundance of modern industrial space and will provide garment manufacturers with longer-term leases at more affordable rates.

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.