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Mayor Bloomberg Announces Six Initiatives to Grow NYC's Fashion Industry

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert K. Steel and New York City Economic Development President Seth W. Pinsky today announced six new initiatives to support the long-term growth of the City’s $55 billion fashion industry. The initiatives grew out of FashionNYC2020, a year-long examination of the challenges facing the fashion industry designed to help the City build on its competitive advantages to maintain its status as a global fashion capital. The initiatives will address the industry’s challenges in two ways: by further positioning the City as a hub of innovation for emerging designers as well as specialty and multi-channel retail, and by attracting the next generation of design, management and merchant talent. Deputy Mayor Steel outlined the new initiatives today at the 14th Annual Women’s Wear Daily CEO Summit held at the Plaza Hotel.

“New York City is the fashion capital of the world, and the factors that drive that success – the creativity and expertise of our talented workforce – present us with competitive advantages we want to capitalize on,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Industry leaders like Diane von Furstenberg, Macy’s CEO Terry Lundgren and others helped us develop these seven initiatives to nurture the next generation of fashion talent in New York City and to help make it easier for fashion entrepreneurs to make turn their ideas into reality.”

“No matter how good the idea is, starting a business can be a challenging and risky proposition, and one of our jobs is to make it easier,” said Deputy Mayor Steel. “We’ve identified New York City’s fashion industry as a potential area of growth over the next decade, and we’ve created seven initiatives to provide entrepreneurs with some of the necessary tools that can be the hardest to come by, such as early-stage financing, networking with leaders within the industry and back-office and marketing support.”

“Attracting the next generation of talent is key to maintaining New York City’s position as a global fashion capital,” said New York City Economic Development Corporation President Pinsky. “These initiatives will help ensure that the City draws entrepreneurs who have business acumen as well as fashion skills. Those types of talented business leaders will create the innovation and improvements that will drive the next wave of growth in the industry.”

New York City’s fashion industry employs 165,000 people, accounting for 5.5 percent of the City’s workforce, and generates nearly $2 billion in tax revenue annually. In addition, the City is home to one of the world’s largest wholesale fashion markets, attracting more than 500,000 visitors a year to its trade shows, showrooms and retail stores. In order to better understand current sector trends and their implications for New York City – including the growth of online business models and emergence of new international markets – New York City Economic Development Corporation conducted surveys and interviews with more than 500 industry professionals including CEOs from leading fashion companies, wholesalers, retailers, and designers. The research was completed in conjunction with Bain & Company, who provided their services pro bono. The industry Chairs for FashionNYC2020 are Richard Darling, CEO of LF USA; Diane von Furstenberg, Chairman and Founder, Diane von Furstenberg Studio L.P., and President, Council of Fashion Designers of America; Terry Lundgren, Chairman, President and CEO of Macy’s, Inc.; Andrew Rosen, CEO of Theory; and Kevin Ryan, CEO of Gilt Groupe.

“The direct economic impact and cultural significance fashion brings to New York City is something Mayor Bloomberg and his administration greatly appreciate and work to nurture,” said Diane von Furstenberg, Chairman and Founder Diane von Furstenberg Studio L.P. and President, Council of Fashion Designers of America. “As President of the Council of Fashion Designers of America and as a working designer who is headquartered here, I have been working with the Mayor on FashionNYC2020. We thank him for his vision and efforts to plan industry initiatives for the future of fashion in New York.”

“Macy's is proud to be a major supporter of the FashionNYC2020 initiative,” said Macy's Inc. Chairman, President and CEO Terry Lundgren. “We believe that it is critically important to preserve New York City as the fashion capital of the world. The retail and fashion industry is one of the largest employers in New York City, and our success will positively impact job growth, attract creative talent, and stimulate tourism, technology and sustainability. I am proud to partner with such distinguished leaders as Mayor Bloomberg, Anna Wintour, Diane von Furstenberg, and other retail and fashion industry leaders who have dedicated their time and talents to this worthy endeavor."

The new initiatives are:

  • NYC Fashion Fund: The NYC Fashion Fund will provide a unique venue to support emerging designers in New York City by assisting them to access capital for production financing, and providing them with a list of ‘vetted’ manufacturers interested in serving emerging designers, and other support services to help them through their first production cycle. While emerging designers face many challenges to growing businesses in New York City, access to production financing, creating network of high quality manufacturers, marketing and other support services, such as instruction on business plan writing and cash flow projections can be the most significant hurdle. The Fund would be established with an initial investment by the City.
  • Project Pop-up: To maintain New York City’s position as a retail leader, and raise its status as a location where retailers want to start and grow businesses, the City is launching “Project Pop-up,” an annual competition to promote new and innovative retail concepts. Participants will be asked to submit ideas for create store concepts or online retail businesses, and a panel of industry executives will choose the most promising. The winning concepts will be given mentoring and marketing support, networking opportunities, and – if the idea is for a physical store – help creating a temporary “pop-up” store to test the concept.
  • New York City Fashion Draft: The annual New York City Fashion Draft will convene nominated students from domestic and international universities in the City for a structured week of interviews with New York City-based fashion businesses. Many fashion businesses currently have internal recruitment programs, but they do not coordinate when bringing prospective candidates to the City for interviews. Through the New York City Fashion Draft, students interested in the business side of the industry - buying, advertising and marketing, merchandising, production, retail, sales, and technology - will have the chance to earn a full-time, management-track position within one of the participating companies. In addition to exposing the students to a broader array of potential employers, the Draft will serve as an efficient way of introducing a large pool of talent to the City’s fashion companies in a short amount of time. Ensuring that business-minded students look to fashion as a viable career path is critical to the City’s efforts to attract and retain top-tier talent.
  • Fashion Campus NYC: To provide up-and-coming fashion and retail management professionals with additional opportunities in the industry, the City will launch Fashion Campus NYC. Students’ first exposure to the fashion industry often comes through summer internships that primarily operate at the company level. The program will be comprised of business seminars led by industry executives, networking opportunities, and an online resource with information on living and working in New York City.
  • New York City Fashion Fellows: The New York City Fashion Fellows will recognize 30 “rising stars” in fashion management who will receive mentoring services and networking opportunities with industry professionals and their peers. The fashion industry has several programs that recognize and reward creative talent, but those programs overlook rising stars working in business-related functions including marketing and advertising, merchandising, production, publishing, retail, sales and technology. These positions are critical to continued growth of the more than 900 fashion businesses located in New York City.
  • Designer as Entrepreneur: To equip emerging creative talents with the tools necessary to launch and manage a fashion business, the City is launching Designer as Entrepreneur. New York City is home to a significant number of emerging fashion designers, many of whom have a strong creative vision, but lack the requisite business skills necessary to translate their ideas into scalable business models. The program, an entrepreneurial “boot camp,” will consist of a series of workshops led by industry experts focusing on topics such as developing business plans, financial management, and e-commerce.

For each of the initiatives, New York City Economic Development Corporation will release a Request for Proposals in 2011 to solicit program managers. 

These initiatives complement a series of projects already launched that were designed to support the sector, including facilitating the expansion of New York’s Fashion Week through its move to Lincoln Center; opening the CFDA Fashion Incubator to help emerging fashion designers grow and sustain their businesses in New York City; and launching, a comprehensive online resource for designers, retailers, and visitors that provides one-stop access to trade show venues and dates, a comprehensive listing of showrooms, and wholesale sources for the fashion industry.


New York City Economic Development Corporation is the City's primary vehicle for promoting economic growth in each of the five boroughs. NYCEDC's mission is to stimulate growth through expansion and redevelopment programs that encourage investment, generate prosperity and strengthen the City's competitive position. NYCEDC serves as an advocate to the business community by building relationships with companies that allow them to take advantage of New York City's many opportunities. Find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, or visit our blog to learn more about NYCEDC projects and initiatives.


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