Press Releases

NYCEDC and CFDA Announce Fashion Manufacturing Initiative to Provide Local Manufacturers With Grants to Improve Their Businesses

Initiative Will Reward Innovative Ideas With Resources to Help Transform New York City’s Fashion Manufacturing Sector

Program Also Provides Mentorship and Educational Sessions

New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) today announced the Fashion Manufacturing Initiative, a program through which fashion industry facilities can obtain funding in the form of matching grants for infrastructure and equipment upgrades, as well as workforce training. The initiative is designed to generate business growth within the industry, as well as elevate the level of available fashion production resources in New York City. The City of New York has pledged $1 million toward the fund, while Theory and its parent company, Fast Retailing, have together pledged $500,000. The Initiative is chaired by Andrew Rosen, CEO of Theory and one of the Fashion.NYC.2020 chairs.

“The Fashion Manufacturing Initiative will help businesses in fashion and manufacturing, two sectors in which New York City has traditionally been a leader, innovate in order to succeed in the 21st Century,” said NYCEDC President Kyle Kimball. “The programming and improvements offered through this program will help to cement New York City’s status as a global capital of the fashion industry.”

The Fashion Manufacturing Initiative seeks to address challenges within the manufacturing industry in New York City, such as outdated facilities and technology due to a lack of investment in infrastructure, limited opportunities to train new workers, and difficulty finding locations in which to produce. The program will solicit innovative ideas from manufacturers offering ways in which to improve their businesses, and will award top ideas with matching grants to help the manufacturers execute the plans. Possible business improvements include the purchase of new equipment or machinery, as well as organizing training sessions for employees on the latest fabrication technologies and equipment. The Fashion Manufacturing Initiative also provides programming, including mentoring and educational sessions, to help generate growth of the winning manufacturers, and resources to help connect designers at all levels to local manufacturers. To view application materials, please visit

“Theory, like many other American fashion houses, was built with the support of local manufacturing,” said Andrew Rosen, CEO, Theory. “This program is critically important to the future of our industry, by investing in a NYC manufacturing base where designers and factories can collaborate and innovate together.”

“FMI is the latest effort in CFDA’s commitment to advancing American Fashion design,” said Steven Kolb, CEO, CFDA. “This infusion of financial support will help strengthen New York City as a vital hub for creative production and foster an environment where design sits next to production.”

Beginning September 16th, applications for the first year of the program will be available. Funds will be dispensed in early 2014, with programming running through 2014. The application process will begin again in late 2014 for programming to commence in 2015 and run through early 2016.

In addition to the Fashion Manufacturing Initiative, NYCEDC provides a number of additional services to support the over 20,000 people employed in New York City’s manufacturing sector and the fashion sector in general. The CFDA Fashion Incubator, for which NYCEDC provided seed funding, offers low-cost design studio space, business mentoring, educational seminars and networking opportunities, helping participating emerging designers grow their businesses and become an integral part of the City’s fashion community.

The fashion industry employs 180,000 people in New York City, accounting for 4.8 percent of the City’s workforce and generating $2 billion in tax revenue annually. In addition, the City is home to one of the world’s largest wholesale fashion markets, which generates more than $72 billion in wholesale sales annually. Mayor Bloomberg announced six initiatives in his Fashion.NYC.2020 plan, which is designed to sustain and grow the fashion industry in New York and help the City build upon its competitive advantages to enhance its status as a global fashion capital. The Fashion.NYC.2020 initiatives 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. The industry chairs for Fashion.NYC.2020 are Richard Darling, Vice Chairman of LF USA & LF Europe; 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, Founder and Chairman of Gilt. 


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.

About CFDA

The Council of Fashion Designers of America, Inc, (CFDA) is a not-for-profit trade association founded in 1962 that leads industry-wide initiatives and whose membership consists of more than 400 of America’s foremost womenswear, menswear, jewelry, and accessory designers. In addition to hosting the annual CFDA Fashion Awards, which recognize the top creative talent in the industry, the organization offers programs which support professional development and scholarships, including the CFDA {Fashion Incubator}, the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund, the Geoffrey Beene Design Scholar Award, the Liz Claiborne Scholarship Award and the CFDA/Teen Vogue Scholarship. Member support is provided through the Business Services Network, a high-profile group of companies offering designers strategic opportunities. The CFDA Foundation, Inc. is a separate, not-for-profit organized to mobilize the membership to raise funds for charitable causes. Through the Foundation, the CFDA created and manages the worldwide Fashion Targets Breast Cancer initiative; raises funds for HIV/AIDS organizations with events such as Fashion’s Night Out and 7th on Sale and addresses the issue of model health with The CFDA Health Initiative.

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Patrick Muncie/Ian Fried 

(212) 312-3523