Mayor Bloomberg and Council of Fashion Designers of America President Diane von Furstenberg today announced that Fashion Week, the iconic semi-annual event which kicked off last week, will generate a total economic impact this year of $865 million for the City. Mayor Bloomberg also discussed a suite of initiatives developed over the past year to ensure that New York City remains the global capital of the fashion industry, including a new mini-MBA program, now accepting applications until March 31st, in which selected designers will attend courses at the Fashion Institute of Technology on marketing, operations, and financial management.
The announcement was held at the CFDA Fashion Incubator, which was launched in partnership with the New York City Economic Development Corporation and Newmark Knight Frank in April 2010 and provides educational programming and mentorship as well as low-rent studio space in the Garment District for emerging designers. The inaugural class of designers will conclude their two-year tenancy period at the incubator this spring, when a new class of designers will join the incubator program. Mayor Bloomberg was also joined by New York City Economic Development Corporation President Seth W. Pinsky, Congress Member Carolyn B. Maloney and Executive Dean of Parsons Joel Towers.
"The strength of New York City’s fashion industry, which today employs 173,000 people and generates nearly $10 billion in wages, has always been its spirit of entrepreneurship," said Mayor Bloomberg. "Working with the private sector and our partners in higher education, we’re doing everything we can to support the City’s entrepreneurs and make sure they can grow their businesses here, create jobs and strengthen our economy."
Held twice a year at Lincoln Center, Milk Studios, and other venues throughout the City, Fashion Week includes more than 500 fashion shows and attracts approximately 232,000 total attendees each year. The fashion industry is a critical driver of New York City’s economy, employing 173,000 people in New York City, accounting for 5.7 percent of the City’s workforce, and generating nearly $2 billion in tax revenue annually. The City serves as headquarters to over 900 fashion companies, and boasts the country’s best fashion schools, such as the Fashion Institute of Technology, LIM College, Parsons The New School for Design and Pratt Institute. In addition, the City is home to one of the world’s largest wholesale fashion markets, which attracts more than 578,000 visitors a year to its trade shows and showrooms. New York City’s fashion retail market –the largest in the country – is also growing at a considerable rate and it is projected that employment by clothing and accessories stores in New York City will increase by 17 percent by 2025.
"New York’s fashion industry is a magnet for talent from around the world and an engine for job creation in all five boroughs," Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert K. Steel said."Supporting the fashion industry has been an area of significant focus for Mayor Bloomberg’s economic diversification strategy."
"With its impact of nearly 900 million dollars this year alone, Fashion Week is further proof of this industry's critical importance to New York City’s economy," said New York Coty Economic Development Corporation President Seth W. Pinsky. "That is why we in the Bloomberg Administration continue to work with industry leaders to implement innovative programs that will ensure the industry’s long-term health and maintain New York City’s reputation as the fashion capital of the world."
"The Fashion Incubator is a natural extension of what our organization already does to support emerging design talent in New York City," said CFDA Deputy Director of Programs and Operations, Lisa Smilor. "We are most appreciative for the support of our esteemed industry colleagues who have been actively involved with the program since its inception, as well as the New York City Economic Development Corporation, Newmark Knight Frank and our lead underwriter, Target."
"Parsons is deeply committed to educating the next generation of leaders in the design industry as both creative visionaries and business leaders," said Parsons Executive Dean Joel Towers. "Parsons -- and everyone at The New School -- is equally committed to New York City and to creating a broad context and a creative climate for fashion design. Our ability to partner with Mayor Bloomberg and the NYC EDC is vital to our core mission. Through the Fashion Campus NYC and Fashion Draft NYC initiatives, Parsons has hosted some of the most promising design and business students from across the country and, in close collaboration with industry and city partners, assisted them as they seek professional opportunities here in the world's fashion capital."
"New York’s fashion students are enormously creative – but even the most imaginative designers need to tether their ideas to sound business practices in order to make it in the fashion industry," said Rep. Maloney. "I applaud Mayor Bloomberg for creating the ‘Fashion MBA’ program, which will give New York’s fashion students the tools they need to become tomorrow’s entrepreneurs."
In fall 2010 the City announced six initiatives, as part of the Fashion.NYC.2020 study, aimed at supporting the long-term growth of the City’s fashion industry which generates nearly $10 billion in wages annually. The initiatives include: Fashion Campus NYC; Fashion Draft NYC; Design Entrepreneurs NYC; Project Pop-up; NYC Fashion Fellows; and the Fashion Production Fund. NYCEDC has also invested $200,000 to support the launch of the Fashion Incubator.
Design Entrepreneurs NYC is an intensive mini-MBA course for up to 35 emerging designers. Created in partnership with FIT, the program is accepting applications until March 31st and will kick-off this summer. The selected designers will learn the skills needed to successfully run a fashion label, including marketing, operations, and financial management.
Fashion Draft NYC will kick-off this week bringing 25 business-minded college seniors from across the country to New York City to participate in a weekend of interviews for management-track positions at top fashion companies, including Alice + Olivia, Macy’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Theory among others. The program, a partnership between NYCEDC and Parsons The New School for Design, received over 350 applications for the 25 spots for a highly competitive admissions rate of 7%.
Fashion Campus NYC, also a partnership between NYCEDC and Parsons, took place in July 2011. The weekend-long program introduced nearly 200 interns, representing over 90 universities and 150 companies, to the breadth of careers available on the business side of the fashion industry. Parsons and NYCEDC are now in the process of planning the second installment of Fashion Campus NYC for this coming summer 2012.
Project Pop-up, a competition to promote innovative retail concepts, will launch later this year. The program will help accelerate the growth of select early-stage retail businesses by providing winner(s) with prizes such as a temporary pop-up store, PR/marketing support, and business mentoring, among other things.
NYC Fashion Fellows, also slated to launch later this year, will identify up to 20 rising stars in fashion management who will receive mentoring services and networking opportunities with industry professionals and their peers.
The Fashion Production Fund will help emerging designers by providing access to capital for production financing. The fund will also require the designers to use local factories to make their products. The Fashion Production Fund is expected to launch before the end of the year.