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February Economic Snapshot: Fashion in New York City


fashion runway

By Kristina Pecorelli, Senior Project Manager, Economic Research and Analysis 

Fashion is a key legacy industry in NYC.

According to the Global Language Monitor, a technology firm that tracks the worldwide frequency of words and phrases used in the media and on the Internet, New York City ranks as the “Top Global Fashion Capital,” ahead of Paris, London, Los Angeles, and Barcelona.

Indeed, New York City is home to some 900 fashion company headquarters, more than double that of Paris, the next closest competitor.

In the February 2015 Economic Snapshot, we explore this key NYC legacy industry in greater detail. The fashion sector employs approximately 183,210 workers, or 5.5% of total private sector workers in NYC. Fashion workers here earned more than $11 billion in wages in 2013, and contributed close to $1.35 billion to the City’s tax base.

As seen below, NYC fashion employment grew nearly 2% between 2003 and 2013, driven primarily by growth in the fashion retail (+33%) and design (+67%) subsectors.

fashion figure 1

The Garment District in Manhattan, which extends from 35th Street to 41st Street between Seventh and Ninth Avenues, once accommodated 105,000 apparel manufacturers, making it the most highly-concentrated fashion production site in the world. Today, fashion manufacturing workers total around 23,000 citywide, an estimated 7,100 of which work in the approximately 1.1 million square feet of manufacturing space housed within the Garment District.

Though the number of fashion manufacturers in NYC continues to decline—down by more than 50% over the decade—apparel manufacturing remains 2.25 times more concentrated in NYC than in the nation as a whole.

As seen in the interactive map below, the Garment District, for its part, remains the most fashion-oriented subsection of the world’s leading fashion capital, with fashion establishments comprising 32%, 31%, and 16% of total establishments within each of its three composite ZIP Codes (10018, 10036, and 10001, respectively)—the highest concentrations found throughout the city (see Figure II).

Click here for a close-up view of the number of fashion establishments in each zip code. This interactive map was created by Kristina Pecorelli with CartoDB

Other NYC fashion stats:

  • Fashion manufacturing accounts for one in three manufacturing jobs in NYC;
  • Consumers in the New York metropolitan area spent 3.7% of annual expenditures in 2012-2013 on apparel and services, versus 3.3% nationwide. In monetary terms, New York consumers spend an average of $2,250 on apparel and services each year.

Read more about the distribution of fashion establishments in New York City in our February Economic Snapshot.

For previous Economic Snapshots, visit our economic data archive on the Economic and Research Analysis page.



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