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FASHIONING THEFUTURE: NYC’sGARMENT DISTRICTOCTOBER 2011               MAS 2011 Garment District Report 1
TABLE OF CONTENTSPreface: Why the Garment District?Executive Summary1. The Making of a Fashion CapitalII. Where We Are Tod...
FASHIONING THE FUTURE: NYC’s GARMENT DISTRICTPREFACE: WHY THEGARMENT DISTRICT?                         MAS 2011 Garment Di...
PREFACEThe Printing District and the Meat Market are now fashionable neighborhoodswith little but their names to remind us...
FASHIONING THE FUTURE: NYC’s GARMENT DISTRICTEXECUTIVE SUMMARY                         MAS 2011 Garment District Report 5
EXECUTIVE SUMMARYThe fashion industry is an essential part of the economic and cultural vitality ofNew York City. In 2010 ...
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY• By changing the zoning, tremendous       and creating a non-profit to manage the       There are also f...
FASHIONING THE FUTURE: NYC’s GARMENT DISTRICTI. THE MAKING OF AFASHION CAPITAL                         MAS 2011 Garment Di...
THE MAKING OF A FASHION CAPITALThe history of New York City’s Garment District is about much more than clothing.This area ...
THE MAKING OF A FASHION CAPITAL                                                                                           ...
THE MAKING OF A FASHION CAPITAL                                                                                           ...
THE MAKING OF A FASHION CAPITAL                                                             increasing proximity, Fifth Av...
THE MAKING OF A FASHION CAPITAL                                                                                           ...
THE MAKING OF A FASHION CAPITALthese two former garment manufactur-        dustry’s tremendous growth prompteders turned r...
THE MAKING OF A FASHION CAPITALclose proximity to the manufacturers,creating a network of supporting busi-                ...
THE MAKING OF A FASHION CAPITALtheir own clothing. This major socialchange combined with increased me-dia attention and Ma...
THE MAKING OF A FASHION CAPITALEuropean fashion capitals establishing       Late 20th century                             ...
THE MAKING OF A FASHION CAPITALbetween the Amalgamated Clothing         reducing the amount of square footage          vit...
FASHIONING THE FUTURE: NYC’s GARMENT DISTRICTII. WHERE WEARE TODAY                         MAS 2011 Garment District Repor...
WHERE WE ARE TODAYOver the years, the fashion industry has played a major role in shaping the social,cultural, and politic...
WHERE WE ARE TODAY                                                                                                        ...
WHERE WE ARE TODAYand region. Just as the city’s financialsector helps support a larger regionaleconomy with benefits that...
WHERE WE ARE TODAYOwner Operator, are excellent exam-ples of a creative breed of young designtalent creating new fashion t...
Distribution of fashion wholesale / design establishments in NYC, 2009Distribution of apparel manufacturing establishments...
Distribution of fashion wholesale / design average annual employment in NYC, 2009Distribution of apparel manufacturing ave...
FCBID general fashion industry services map, 2010FCBID buyers map, 2010                                                   ...
FCBID production services map, 2010FCBID suppliers map, 2010                                      MAS 2011 Garment Distric...
WHERE WE ARE TODAYAvenue. This clustering attractsdesigners who need to be in closeproximity to production businesses,and ...
WHERE WE ARE TODAYManufacturers in the Garment Districtare highly entrepreneurial. They oftenengage in more than one ventu...
WHERE WE ARE TODAYProposed garment district sub-zones mapof manufacturing, offices, institutionaluses, and other forms of ...
WHERE WE ARE TODAYsquare feet, or 18% of the surveyedarea—1,324,176 square feet, or 15% ofthe total area surveyed, was det...
WHERE WE ARE TODAYwith in-house manufacturing (71.4%).Combining these two types of manu-facturing space, these blocks ac-c...
Fashioning the Future: NYC's Garment District
Fashioning the Future: NYC's Garment District
Fashioning the Future: NYC's Garment District
Fashioning the Future: NYC's Garment District
Fashioning the Future: NYC's Garment District
Fashioning the Future: NYC's Garment District
Fashioning the Future: NYC's Garment District
Fashioning the Future: NYC's Garment District
Fashioning the Future: NYC's Garment District
Fashioning the Future: NYC's Garment District
Fashioning the Future: NYC's Garment District
Fashioning the Future: NYC's Garment District
Fashioning the Future: NYC's Garment District
Fashioning the Future: NYC's Garment District
Fashioning the Future: NYC's Garment District
Fashioning the Future: NYC's Garment District
Fashioning the Future: NYC's Garment District
Fashioning the Future: NYC's Garment District
Fashioning the Future: NYC's Garment District
Fashioning the Future: NYC's Garment District
Fashioning the Future: NYC's Garment District
Fashioning the Future: NYC's Garment District
Fashioning the Future: NYC's Garment District
Fashioning the Future: NYC's Garment District
Fashioning the Future: NYC's Garment District
Fashioning the Future: NYC's Garment District
Fashioning the Future: NYC's Garment District
Fashioning the Future: NYC's Garment District
Fashioning the Future: NYC's Garment District
Fashioning the Future: NYC's Garment District
Fashioning the Future: NYC's Garment District
Fashioning the Future: NYC's Garment District
Fashioning the Future: NYC's Garment District
Fashioning the Future: NYC's Garment District
Fashioning the Future: NYC's Garment District
Fashioning the Future: NYC's Garment District
Fashioning the Future: NYC's Garment District
Fashioning the Future: NYC's Garment District
Fashioning the Future: NYC's Garment District
Fashioning the Future: NYC's Garment District
Fashioning the Future: NYC's Garment District
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Transcript of "Fashioning the Future: NYC's Garment District "

  1. 1. FASHIONING THEFUTURE: NYC’sGARMENT DISTRICTOCTOBER 2011 MAS 2011 Garment District Report 1
  2. 2. TABLE OF CONTENTSPreface: Why the Garment District?Executive Summary1. The Making of a Fashion CapitalII. Where We Are TodayIII. Lessons from Other Fashion CapitalsIV. Areas of OpportunityV. RecommendationsReferencesAcknowledgements MAS 2011 Garment District Report 2
  3. 3. FASHIONING THE FUTURE: NYC’s GARMENT DISTRICTPREFACE: WHY THEGARMENT DISTRICT? MAS 2011 Garment District Report 3
  4. 4. PREFACEThe Printing District and the Meat Market are now fashionable neighborhoodswith little but their names to remind us of their original purpose. Yet the GarmentDistrict persists into the 21st century where people continue to create, innovate andsell. The Garment District is New York’s history and future, a place where factoriesand fashion have been linked for almost a century. ers to cut, sew and assemble a finished garment to be shown and sold in these same blocks. This clustering facilitates discovery and creativity as well as effi- ciency, particularly important now that the costs of outsourcing are rising. To continue to lead in an industry as competitive, demanding, and creative as fashion, New York must support fashion entrepreneurs. As it has done for many industries, we must explore mechanisms to protect and promote an industry that contributes so much to the economic and creative vitality of NYC and the US. This report outlines some approaches to build on the very real strengths ofA livable city must offer diverse op- generate $9 billion in total wages with the industry. We recognize the futilityportunities to its citizens—housing, tax revenues of $1.7 billion for New of dependence on government alone.education, transportation, jobs. MAS’ York City. Every year the leading design Collaboration is crucial among thecore mission is to foster a more livable, schools - FIT, Parsons and Pratt - turn design community, manufacturers,more equitable, and more sustainable out thousands of educated designers educational institutions, non-profits,city. Over the last 20 years, MAS has looking for employment. New York fashion media, consumers and proper-viewed the Garment District through a City is also the nerve center of fashion ty owners; they all play a critical role invariety of lenses: design, manufactur- marketing and journalism, with Vogue ensuring the success of the district anding, architecture. We see a district that and Women’s Wear Daily as well as new the broader fashion industry whichhas evolved from a heavy manufactur- media outlets such as The Business of depends upon it.ing hub to a laboratory of research and Fashion, Refinery29, The Sartorialist,development, its nimble entrepreneurs and StyleCaster based here. The Garment District has already prov-adapting themselves to the vicissitudes en that it responds to change, providesof fortune and fashion. At the figurative and literal center of all an economic ladder for many recent of this activity is the Garment District. immigrants, and contributes to theToday, according to the New York The district has become an innovative city’s iconic status as a fashion capital.City Economic Development Corp., urban campus where designers en- Against the odds, the district continuesthe fashion industry employs approxi- gage directly in the iterative process of to create, innovate, and produce.mately 165,000 people, accounting for creating a product. Within the space5.5% of NYC’s workforce. Over 900 of a few blocks a designer can purchasefashion companies headquartered here raw material, work with manufactur- MAS 2011 Garment District Report 4
  5. 5. FASHIONING THE FUTURE: NYC’s GARMENT DISTRICTEXECUTIVE SUMMARY MAS 2011 Garment District Report 5
  6. 6. EXECUTIVE SUMMARYThe fashion industry is an essential part of the economic and cultural vitality ofNew York City. In 2010 the industry accounted for 4.6% of the country’s total fash-ion employment. This is almost equal to financial services, where NYC accountsfor 5.6% of the nation’s finance jobs; or media and entertainment, where 5.1% of theAmerican jobs in that sector are located in NYC. But numbers are only one part ofthe story. As many researchers have documented the Garment District is one of thefew remaining manufacturing and design clusters where young entrepreneurs canlaunch a company at the same time that a recent immigrant can put their skills touse and begin to climb the economic ladder.Over the last year MAS has conducted Made in NYC and programming the physical spacescase studies, gathered new data, inter- In the US, a growing number of con- within the district will help maintainviewed dozens of experts, researched sumers want to know where the prod- the critical mass of fashion businessesthe history and explored a variety of ucts they buy are made. A recent survey needed to keep this neighborhood thepolicy recommendations. The recom- conducted by American Express and the city’s fashion center and enliven themendations outlined in this report flow Harrison Group, a marketing research neighborhood with the creativity andfrom a careful recording of the history firm, found that sixty-five percent of af- energy that is hidden behind buildingof the fashion industry, an examination fluent Americans try to buy local goods walls.of our competitors, and a thorough whenever possible.analysis of the competitive advantages Consolidation of Manufacturingof the Garment District. New York City is well positioned to Today, manufacturing tenants face an take advantage of this trend given its uncertain future. A lack of affordableThese recommendations offer an strength in high end manufacturing. space is one critical issue. In an effortagenda for a conversation that needs to New York City’s reputation also lends to secure affordable space manufactur-continue to develop between the stake- itself well to a place-based marketing ing tenants should be consolidated intoholders. Ultimately lasting solutions campaign as companies like DKNY and several buildings. The total buildingfor supporting the fashion industry Brooklyn Industries already dem- capacity of the nine buildings withand the Garment District will emerge onstrate. With more retailers than the most amount of occupied manu-from the creativity and energy of those anywhere else in the country, with some facturing space would be sufficient tothat help make NYC the fashion capital of the best design and marketing minds, host the total amount of manufactur-of the world. It’s important that the and with billions of dollars in visitor ing space within the garment centerdiscussion include strategies to grow spending, we should be able to develop zoning district, approximately 1.34the fashion economy and not focus ex- a successful a Made in NYC campaign. million square feet. These buildingsclusively on the particulars of outdated should be managed by a non-profitzoning regulations or the specific Market the District organization(s) chartered to maintainamount of space to set aside for manu- The streets, particularly the side streets, the buildings, offer space at belowfacturing. The costs of doing nothing give little indication of the sophisti- market rates, and serve as an advocacyare lost jobs, missed opportunities for cated fashion industry that calls this organization for the manufacturingstrengthening a vital industry, and the area home. This atmosphere has been tenants. In addition to a number oferosion of a sector of the economy that touted as a reason some fashion firms incentives we have identified the fol-inspires entrepreneurship and helps have moved out of the district, opting lowing funding streams to help secureshape NYC’s identity for trendier locations such as Chelsea this space: or the Meatpacking District. Improving MAS 2011 Garment District Report 6
  7. 7. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY• By changing the zoning, tremendous and creating a non-profit to manage the There are also foreign trade sub-zonesvalue for the property owners is un- space we think there is a tremendous for companies with manufacturing fa-locked. Property tax revenues increase opportunity to provide a long term and cilities outside the foreign-trade zonebecause the value of the property affordable home for manufacturing in area. Companies seeking sub-zoneincreases. A significant portion of the the Garment District. status must apply to the federal gov-increased tax revenue generated from ernment through the NYC Economica re-zoning should help finance a bond Update the Zoning Development Corporation (NYC EDC).to purchase space for manufacturing The zoning needs to clearly express thepotentially through a non-profit entity economic development priorities for According to NYC EDC, New York Cityrepresenting manufacturers. this area and should only be amended is home to two subzones: a Pfizer’s in concert with a broader plan and com- pharmaceutical manufacturing facil-• Currently, properties within the mitment to grow the fashion indus- ity in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and aFashion Center BID pay an assessment try and provide security for garment Bulova watch manufacturing facilityto support the activities of the Fashion manufacturers. If a mechanism can be in Jackson Heights, Queens. Poten-Center BID which includes market- created to protect the amount of manu- tially, those buildings in the Garmenting, programming, sanitation, security facturing space that exists today in the District where manufacturing has beenand other services. An idea that has Garment District then a relaxing of the consolidated could be designated aalready been discussed by the Fashion zoning to introduce other uses should sub-zone which would allow for theCenter BID, among others, is to charge be carefully examined. importing of raw materials duty freean additional BID assessment dedicat- and significantly reduce the cost ofed to helping secure a long term home Explore Tariff Reduction manufacturing many items of clothingfor manufacturers. A US Foreign Trade Zone is a govern- which have high import tariffs. ment-designated, restricted-access• Shared responsibility is critical in site used as an import/export financial This report outlines approaches toorder to find a workable solution. A management tool. This regulatory build on the very real strengths of thecommitment from existing manufac- mechanism allows foreign and domestic industry. Against the odds, the districtturing/design tenants to provide fund- merchandise to be admitted for storage, continues to create, innovate, and pro-ing and/or a long term lease commit- assembly, processing and manufacture, duce and hopefully, with the right poli-ment to secure the space should also while reducing or eliminating duties on cies and partnerships, it will continuepart of any funding package. imports and exports. to inspire for many years to come.By combining these funding sources MAS 2011 Garment District Report 7
  8. 8. FASHIONING THE FUTURE: NYC’s GARMENT DISTRICTI. THE MAKING OF AFASHION CAPITAL MAS 2011 Garment District Report 8
  9. 9. THE MAKING OF A FASHION CAPITALThe history of New York City’s Garment District is about much more than clothing.This area and the fashion industry has played a vital role in New York City’s eco-nomic history and the district has served as a stage for many of the demographic,regulatory, cultural and economic changes of the last 100 years. The garment in-dustry has been instrumental in the development of a variety of industries includ-ing finance, marketing, merchandising, advertising, and publishing. It has providedrelatively steady and skilled jobs for generations of recent immigrants and workingclass New Yorkers, while at the same time, sustaining a ladder to the middle class.The flexibility required to thrive in the business - riding the waves of slack seasons,quickly changing styles, variable pricing on materials - has allowed those with en-trepreneurial temperament to thrive, adjust and even expand their businesses, andbring their business talents, honed in the garment district, into other fields. The area that comprises today’s Gar- ment District – roughly bounded by West 35th Street, Fifth Avenue, West 41st Street, and Ninth Avenue - serves as a reminder of how vital entrepre- neurs, industrious workers and chang- ing retail patterns turned Manhattan into a place that once manufactured 78% of America’s clothing. The history of the Garment District is an essential part of New York City’s history. 19th century Throughout the history of New York City’s fashion industry, proximity to labor, supplies and supporting trades has been a critical element in its suc- cess. New York’s fashion industry began in the mid-19th century and was largely built on ready-to-wear clothing that was mass-marketed and mass- produced. The industry thrived on the large influx of a cheap, skilled labor force—mostly Italians and Eastern European Jews— many of whom came from a tradition of tailoring. Equally important was New York City’s statusFig. 1 Boat unloading immigrants at Ellis Island in New York City harbor. as a major seaport, which allowed the MAS 2011 Garment District Report 9
  10. 10. THE MAKING OF A FASHION CAPITAL and regulations. This was due in large part to the increasing number of im- migrants that opposed the long hours and sweatshop conditions and began to strike, demanding improvements. These strikes led to the New York State Factory Act of 1892, which required a minimum of 250 cubic feet of air for each worker and to a succession of other industry rules and regula- tions. (Soyer, 2005) The success of these strikes led to organized unions that were powerful enough to change industry standards and influence poli- tics and policy at the local, state and national level. Early 20th century The city’s garment industry continuedFig. 2 A.T. Stewart’s store on Broadway, one of the nation’s first department stores. to grow rapidly, expanding from 562easy import of supplies, such as mate- Streets creating what became known as manufacturing firms in 1880 to overrial from European and New England “Fashion Row” and “the Ladies’ Mile.” 1,800 firms in 1900, effectively estab-mills and provided manufacturers ac- (Robbins, 2009) These enormous stores lishing New York City as the hub ofcess to major markets. appealed to the middle class shopper the nation’s ready-to-wear industry. and helped create a market for ready-to- (Rantisi, 2004) This growth reflectedNew York’s shopping culture was wear women’s clothing. societal changes—notably transfor-cultivated by the first department mations in retailing and an expandedstores, which arrived in the mid-19th Towards the end of the 19th century, market in middle and working classcentury, and began merchandising the city’s garment industry was growing consumers.products in store windows in order to rapidly. As Manhattan’s Lower East Sideincrease consumer interest. To gain drew the majority of early immigrants,greater access to their customers, these the neighborhood subsequently became Garment workers unionsstores followed Manhattan’s residen- an early center of garment produc- The 1901 Tenement House Act fur-tial development north. In the 1880s, tion. Much of New York’s clothing was ther pushed garment production outlarge department stores were built in a created by workers sewing pieces of of the cramped working conditionsconcentration up along Sixth Avenue garments together at home - in often of the tenements into more regulatedand Broadway between 14th and 23rd crowded tenement apartments - or in commercial loft buildings. Once the small rooms that became known as factory system was established, gar- “sweatshops” getting paid by the num- ment industry unions followed quickly ber of pieces. Small contractors often and forcefully. These groups organized hired new immigrants because they by the thousands to demand improved were easy to manipulate and willing to working conditions. One of the largest work long hours at low wages in often unions was established in 1900 when unsanitary and dangerous conditions Jewish immigrants - soon joined by Italian immigrants - came together to As the Lower East Side became more form the International Ladies’ Gar- crowded and as production demands ment Workers’ Union (ILGWU). One rose, concern over working condi- of the ILGWU’s early accomplish-Fig. 3 Family finishing garments in their tenement apart- tions grew, prompting new reforms ments came from initiating a seriesment located at 7 Elizabeth Street, 1908. MAS 2011 Garment District Report 10
  11. 11. THE MAKING OF A FASHION CAPITAL Triangle Shirtwaist Fire The greatest push for social reform occurred after the Triangle Shirtwaist factory tragedy of 1911, which is still considered one of the worst industrial disas- ters in American history. The tragedy occurred on the top floors of a building located on the corner of Greene Street and Washington Place in Manhattan which was home to one of the city’s leading produc- ers of the shirtwaist, a blouse that came in to fashion around 1890 and became one of the most popular products of the city’s early ready-to-wear industry. Two Russian-born Jewish immigrants, Max Blanck and Isaac Harris, who were known as the “Shirtwaist Kings”, owned the Triangle factory. They were alsoFig. 4 Group of striking New York City shirtwaist workers, 1909.] known as two of the industry’s worst employers, rou-of influential strikes that led to estab- New York City’s tinely ignoring safety laws and locking their workerslished guidelines for hygiene and a garment industry in without breaks until the end of their shifts. Theyvariety of worker protections—result- reached its peak charged their employees for errors and required thating in the founding of Women’s Wear during the 1920’s they supply their own needles and thread.Daily in 1910, whose initial mission and women beganwas to cover these strikes. By 1912 the to outnumber men The fire broke out on March 25, 1911, on the build-ILGWU claimed 84,000 members and as union mem- ing’s eighth floor just before closing time. Most oftheir strikes helped establish the “Pro- bers. Despite the the workers on the eighth floor escaped; howevertocol of Peace” which created several industry’s success, the fire quickly spread to the floors above, claim-joint commissions that would help power struggles ing the lives of 146 garment workers, most of whomsettle disputes between labor and man- and instability were young immigrant women. The magnitude of theagement. Another influential union, within the ILGWU tragedy prompted a series of new city and state lawsthe Amalgamated Clothing Workers of in the early part of to protect the public from fires and to ensure theAmerica (ACWA) was founded in 1914 the 20th century health and safety of workers. These new laws wereafter the men’s tailors’ strike of 1913. almost destroyed the most advanced and comprehensive in the coun-The ACWA pioneered provisions to it, causing mem- try and reformed garment industry practices as wellempower working people by founding bership to decline as the buildings that housed these businesses. (NYCthe Amalgamated Bank and building from 129,000 at the LPC, 2003))middle class housing. (Soyer, 2005) end of World War I to 23,800 in 1931. The ILGWU regained its strength un- with nearly half of its members in New der the leadership of David Dubinsky, York City and assets of approximately becoming a major political force and $570 million. (Soyer, 2005) was instrumental in forming New York City’s American Labor Party and the Move uptown Liberal Party, with which the ILGWU At the beginning of the 20th century, was closely allied for twenty-five years. most garment manufacturers were lo- Pro-union provisions of the New Deal cated in loft buildings in the blocks just and the National Labor Relations Act of north of Houston Street. The industry 1935 inspired a surge in membership in however was growing at an explosiveFig. 5 Crowd celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Inter- the ILGWU, and by 1966 the union had rate—the number of women’s wearnational Ladies Garment Workers Union at the New York grown to more than 450,000 members industry workers grew from 39,000World’s Fair, 1940. MAS 2011 Garment District Report 11
  12. 12. THE MAKING OF A FASHION CAPITAL increasing proximity, Fifth Avenue industrial uses from encroaching on business owners and residents created residential districts. The Committee the Fifth Avenue Association (FAA), a opposed industrial uses above retail civic association devoted to prevent- ground floors and supported height ing factories and factory workers from limits in the belief that shorter build- crowding the streets during their breaks ings would be economically unfeasible in front of their carriage trade establish- for manufacturing. The zoning resolu- ments. In 1916 the FAA created the Save tion placed Fifth Avenue in the lowest New York Committee, which started height district in Midtown. a campaign that effectively convinced many, including city officials and manu- Early – Mid 20th century facturers, that manufacturing had a Initially the Committee’s efforts were detrimental effect on the city’s elegant successful; however the industry residential and commercial neighbor- was quickly outgrowing the older hoods. The campaign suggested that production areas. Members of the it was in everyone’s best interest for Save New York Committee consulted manufacturers to either stay in the with manufacturers and came to the sections of the city already designated conclusion that the area from Sixth toFig. 6 Corner of Seventh Avenue and West 28th St, showing for manufacturing or move from the Ninth Avenue from 23rd to the blockgarment workers leaving factories during their lunch hour, commercial areas around Fifth Avenue below Pennsylvania Station would be1936.] to those sections. (Robbins, 2009) designated for manufacturing. Locat- The FAA’s actions played a major role ing near Pennsylvania Station and thein 1889 to 165,000 in 1919—requiring in the creation of what became New variety of transit lines in Midtownmore factory space. Factories contin- York City’s 1916 Zoning Resolution, gave manufacturers greater access toued to follow the lead of residential which regulated the height and bulk both employees, who began moving toand retail development north to what of new buildings and set aside specific new residential developments in thehad become a major shopping area zones for manufacturing, preventing outer boroughs, and to out-of-townfrom Fifth and Sixth Avenues between14th and 23rd Streets- known as LadiesMile. The high ceilings and largewindows of the area’s loft buildingsprovided more light and air for gar-ment workers and also had electricity,making it possible to increase outputby using electric sewing machines andother equipment. (Robbins, 2009) By1912 the side streets off Broadway andSixth Avenue above 23rd Street werebeginning to fill in with manufacturinglofts and by 1917 they began expandingnorth of 34th Street, encroaching onFifth Avenue.In an attempt to distance themselvesfrom the manufacturing businesses,many elite department stores beganrelocating from Ladies Mile to FifthAvenue north of 34th Street. In 1907,partly in response to manufacturers’ Fig.8 Garment District Streetscape, 1944. MAS 2011 Garment District Report 12
  13. 13. THE MAKING OF A FASHION CAPITAL buyers. (Robbins, 2009) At this time ARCHITECTURE: manufacturers were responsible for The 1916 zoning resolution set parameters that both influenced where industry, every aspect of the garment industry, such as garment manufacturers, could locate in the city and also determined including selling the finished product. to a great extent the form of the new buildings. As much of today’s Garment Their central location allowed them to District developed between 1916 and 1935, its buildings reflect the physical cater to out-of-town buyers by setting mandates of the 1916 zoning resolution more coherently than anywhere else in up showrooms in the area to display the city. their merchandise and by establishing resident buying offices, which helped Before it was used for garment manufacturing, the area was an early tenement out-of-town buyers navigate the city’s and theater district as well as a publishing and printing district. The 1920’s loft apparel market. Manufacturers’ buildings built almost exclusively for the garment industry characterize the proximity to the city’s retail centers majority of area’s existing building stock today. Although individually these loft also proved to be a vital asset to the buildings are not remarkable, together with their similar heights and setbacks industry. Visiting buyers were able to along the district’s long, narrow blocks they give the streets a unique visual view products in manufacturers’ show- character. (Robbins, 2009) rooms and visit the nearby department stores and shops to see first-hand the A stone base generally characterizes merchandising of the same garment. a typical mid-block loft building with (Rantisi, 2004) [ some ornamentation along the base and upper stories of the building. Small lobbies lead to upper floors de- signed to be as open as possible to al- low light and air circulation. The large open floor plates complied with the specifications of insurance companies and city and state regulations and allowed the spaces to be subdivided to accommodate multiple tenants and also allowed employers to better see and supervise large numbers of employees at a time. (Robbins, 2009) The larger buildings along Seventh Fig. 7 View looking southwest from 42nd Street, showing Avenue and Broadway were favored by the district’s stepped back architecture, 1935.] the non-manufacturing segments of the garment economy and included larger more extravagantly decorated lob- bies, meant to impress clients. (Dolkart, 2011) In 2008, the National Register of Historic Places recognized the cultural and Fig. 9 View of Midtown Manhattan, 1928 architectural significance of New York City’s Garment District by listing the Developing midtown Garment Center Historic District on the National Register. The designated area The impetus for the development of covers nearly 25 blocks of Midtown between Sixth and Ninth Avenues from what is today’s Garment District was West 34th to West 41st Streets. This area includes a wealth of building types and the 1919 cooperative venture between styles but is distinguished by the 1920s era garment industry loft buildings. The one of the area’s most prominent build- nationally recognized district contains a total of 251 buildings, 215 of which are ers, Mack Kanner, and Saul Singer the listed as contributing to the chief character of the area. former President of the Cloak, Suit and Skirt Manufacturers Protective Association The syndicate created by MAS 2011 Garment District Report 13
  14. 14. THE MAKING OF A FASHION CAPITALthese two former garment manufactur- dustry’s tremendous growth prompteders turned real estate developers built the development of numerous sup-one seventeen-story building and one porting businesses, creating an infra-twenty-four-story building on the west structure unlike any other in the world.side of Seventh Avenue between West Many of these businesses and institu-36th and 38th Streets. The buildings tions can still be found in the Garmentwere known as the Garment Center District and throughout the city today.Capitol buildings and were initiallymeant to house showrooms and manu- Innovations in industries, such as mer-facturing space for the garment indus- chandising and marketing increased de-try cloak and suit trade of New York, mand for products made in the Garmentwho were some of the most important District and encouraged the growth ofmanufacturers in the city. To promote the larger fashion industry. Departmentthis venture, Kanner explained that stores, mail order catalogues and fash-compared to the current going rental ion magazines like Harper’s Bazaar andrates of $2.50 per square foot, the Capi- Vogue began marketing simplified ver-tol would cost manufacturers closer sions of European fashions to Americanto $0.50 per square foot – a fifth of the consumers. One of the country’s mostcost, thereby making manufacturing in prominent early 20th century publish-Manhattan significantly more afford- ers, Cyrus H.K. Curtis, of the Ladies’able. (Robbins, 2009) Home Journal and the Saturday Evening Post, noted the critical relationshipThe Capitol buildings initiated a between production and the burgeoningbuilding boom in the area between fashion publishing industry when he35th and 40th Streets and 6th and 9th wrote:Avenues that created a new GarmentDistrict. The most prolific building “The editor of the Ladies’ Home Jour-occurred in the district from 1924 to nal thinks we publish it for the benefit1925, when 47 new lofts were built, of American women... The real reason,housing various aspects of the garment the publisher’s reason, is to give youindustry including offices, factories who manufacture things that Americanand showrooms. During the boom the women want and buy a chance to tell Fig. 10 Advertisement in the Ladies Home Journal for women’s blouses, 1910.demand for manufacturing space was them about your products.” (Martin, 237)tremendous. Kanner stated that “morethan 20,000 manufacturers in certain While increasing production for gar- immigrants and their children in vari-women’s wear industries, still located ment manufacturing, magazine adver- ous garment industry trades. A yearin the older sections outside of the gar- tising itself became a major industry, later the Tobe Report, a weekly fashionment zone, are fully awake to the need reaching total gross revenues of $196.3 consulting report for retailers wasof getting into the zone – the mart for million by 1929. (Rantisi, 2004) established followed by the Tobe-Co-buyers the country over. With 20,000 burn School in 1937, which specializedpotential tenants in this one class alone New York’s garment industry added a in retailing and merchandising andI see no saturation point in building new component with the emergence of emphasized the industry’s economicfor years to come – if ever.” (Robbins, fashion schools. The school now known importance. The Fashion Institute of2009) as Parsons began a costume design Technology (FIT) followed, opening program in 1904, and then launched the in 1944. In addition to the schools,New York’s growing industries nation’s first fashion design program in the industry also created support andAs New York’s garment industry grew, 1906. The High School of Needle Trades service institutions, such as textile andproximity to other industries played a was founded in 1926 in a Garment trim suppliers and lending institutions.major role in its development. The in- District loft on West 31st Street to train All of these establishments located in MAS 2011 Garment District Report 14
  15. 15. THE MAKING OF A FASHION CAPITALclose proximity to the manufacturers,creating a network of supporting busi- HISTORY OF NEW YORK’S FASHION INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY - FITnesses. New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology was started in response to the apparel industry’s need for skilled labors. In the 1940s, New York’s apparelNew York City’s booming women’s workforce was dwindling. After an unsuccessful attempt to persuade areawear trade peaked in the 1920s when colleges to add fashion programs to their curricula, Mortimer C. Ritter,78% of the nation’s clothing was made an educator, and Max Meyer, a retired menswear manufacturer, alongin the city. Although the 1920s saw the with a group of designers, ILGWU officials, coat-and-suit manufacturersstrengthening of unions and a robust and other industry leaders raised $100,000 and founded the Educationalgarment industry, a shift began to occurthat would profoundly affect the gar- Foundation for the Fashion Industries. The Foundation obtained a charterment manufacturing industry for years from the New York State Board of Regents to establish a “fashion instituteto come. Before WWI, manufacturers of technology and design.” The institute opened in 1944 with 100 students,were performing every aspect of pro- and was located on the top two floors of the High School of Needle Tradesduction, from design to sewing to sales. on W. 24th St. (FIT, 2011)After the war New York saw the risethe “jobber,” a position created in part The school grew quickly, becoming a community college in 1951 and movingto get around working with the unions. to a 9-story building on Seventh Avenue in 1960. Initially the school hadJobbers effectively took the place of a close relationship with industry professionals. Night classes enabledthe manufacturer as the primary mover faculty to work in the industry during the day and many apparel manufac-in the industry, designing garments and turers and processors served on committees that reviewed and revisedsometimes cutting fabric, but contract- new courses. When the school needed money for new equipment, patronsing out the sewing to contractors or within the district often provided it.sub-manufacturers located in the cityor out of state. Because jobbers usedcontractors they avoided dealing with During the 1970s two-thirds of the courses at FIT were technical or profes-labor issues and unions thereby reduc- sional, the remaining third were liberal arts offerings. At this time representa-ing the cost of production. This newly tives and industry supporters lobbied to further expand the school’s cur-developed position reduced the size of riculum by offering bachelor’s and master’s degrees— something that wasmany manufacturing shops and was unheard of at the time for a community college. In 1975, an amendment to thethe first step in the separation of the Education Law of New York State permitted FIT to offer BS and BFA programsactual production of the clothing from and in 1979 its master’s programs were authorized. (Bard, 1974) the design and marketing, a rift that making something good, as in mak- would continue to grow. (Soyer, 2005) ing it cheap – and cheaper…” (Rantisi, 2004) New York did not gain prestige Mid-20th Century as a design center until World War II, Fashion capitol when the Nazis’ occupation of Paris Although New York’s early 20th century cut the city off from the rest of the fashion industry was thriving, it was not world. Around this time fashion maga- distinguished by its design capabilities. zines, such as Women’s Wear Daily The city’s industry succeeded by copy- (WWD) began highlighting American ing designs that came out of Paris and designers, who focused on what they simplifying them to make them easier knew best, ready-to-wear. The focus to replicate on a mass scale. For decades on ready-to-wear came at a time when New York’s industry was focused on increasing numbers of women were1 Fig. 11 New York City dress factory workers located in the production, as one 1940s stylist noted, entering the workforce and had lessGarment District. New York was, “… not so interested in time for custom-fittings or to make MAS 2011 Garment District Report 15
  16. 16. THE MAKING OF A FASHION CAPITALtheir own clothing. This major socialchange combined with increased me-dia attention and Manhattan’s status asa cultural center and hotspot for highsociety helped New York achieve sta-tus as an international fashion capitol. Fig. 13 Ralph Lauren, photograph by Edgar de Evia, 1978 Many of today’s most recognizable designer brands have roots in NewFig. 12 American fashion designer Norman Norell assisting York’s Garment District. Ralph Lauren started out in New York by creat-fashion design student, 1960. ing a line of handmade ties that he sold to Bloomingdales and specialtyIn the mid-20th century New York boutiques throughout the city. Calvin Klein, a Bronx native, spent someCity’s fashion industry continued to time at the Fashion Institute of Technology and briefly worked as a copydraw global attention with the help of boy at Women’s Wear Daily before going to work as an apprentice toinnovative designers, such as Norman a coat maker. In 1967, with $10,000 from his childhood friend turnedNorell and Bill Blass. In a 1999 inter- business partner, Klein started his business, creating his first collectionview with Vogue, Bill Blass explainedhow 1950’s era Paris WWD corre- of six coats and three dresses which he rolled on a rack the full twenty-spondent, John Fairchild figured out three blocks from Seventh Avenue to the Bonwit Teller department storethat you could make the paper more on 57th Street, where he was given his first order. (Clurman, 1982)interesting by writing about the de-signers instead of the manufacturers.(Gandee, 1999) This type of promotion designers who have created internation- promotional organization, the Newcaught on and in ensuing years fashion ally recognized labels. York Dress Institute. The Institute waseditors from esteemed publications created in 1941 by the union and dressbecame the champions of new tal- Designers were further supported by manufacturers with the goal of makingent, furthering the careers of today’s the emergence of the Council of Fashion New York City a world fashion center.most renowned designers. For the first Designers of America (CFDA), which At the institute, Lambert organizedtime manufacturers were no longer was founded in 1962 by American pub- the semi-annual Fashion Press Weekthe most prominent name on a label, a licist Eleanor Lambert. Before founding in New York to showcase designertrend that continues today with Calvin the CFDA, Lambert was Press Director collections for the international press.Klein, Ralph Lauren and Donna Karan, for the American fashion industry’s first She initiated a similar schedule for the MAS 2011 Garment District Report 16
  17. 17. THE MAKING OF A FASHION CAPITALEuropean fashion capitals establishing Late 20th century to be vital to the economic diversity ofthe coordinated centralized showings By the end of the twentieth century, the city and that it was an importantnow followed around the world. (Ran- more and more retailers and designers source of employment for minorities.tisi, 2004) had their own labels and were choos- These findings resulted in the creation ing to keep costs down by sending their in 1987 of the Special Garment CenterThe pioneering marketing spear- manufacturing jobs out to contractors District (SGCD), which mandated thatheaded by the CFDA in the 1960s overseas. In 1970 the industry em- approximately 8.7 million square feetgave American fashion designers star ployed 173,304 workers locally but by of space be conserved for manufac-status and also brought recognition to 1987 only 105,000 remained. (Soyer, turing and apparel-related uses. Thethe area of Manhattan in which they 2005) special zoning was created to inhibitworked. Many of the most prestigious building conversions by requiringdesigners could be found along the Concerned that real estate pressures buildings to commit space within mid-stretch of Seventh Avenue between were accelerating manufacturing job block buildings to apparel production34th and 42nd Streets, an area re- loss in the district, the ILGWU asked activities. (DCP, 1987)named Fashion Avenue in 1972. One the city to study the advantages of aNew York Times article stated that “for central garment center and to deter- In the 1990s, unions lost members andmany designers a showroom at 530 mine how the district’s apparel firms influence and were dealing once againSeventh Avenue is something to work could be expected to withstand devel- with competition from unregulatedtoward and a 550 Seventh Avenue ad- opment pressures. At the time of the sweatshop labor. Unions all over thedress may be a sign of arrival.” (Wede- study, 69% of all space in the center was US found themselves in similar situ-meyer, 1978) An address on Fashion characterized by apparel uses. The De- ations and began to seek each otherAvenue was important not only in partment of City Planning released the out in order to stay afloat. In 1995name; it also played a practical role, results, which stated that firms depend ILGWU’s 125,000 remaining memberskeeping the industry centrally located on proximity with manufacturers to nationwide merged with the Amalgam-and easily accessible to buyers. maintain relationships and be efficient. ated Clothing and Textile Worker’s The study also determined the industry Union (which itself was a mergerBy the end of the 1950s, New York’s de-cline in manufacturing was beginning tobecome apparent as the number of thesejobs began to fall due to higher costsof production. Manufacturing beganmoving out of the city while designers,showrooms and distribution centers re-mained in the district. It was also duringthis time that clothing began to be pro-duced overseas in places like Japan andHong Kong. The unions were the firstto notice that these imported garmentswere cutting into their profits and theyhelped negotiate the first agreementsmeant to protect the domestic industryby limiting imports- these later evolvedin to the Multi-Fiber Agreement. (Soyer,2005) The union’s efforts however couldnot combat the push to increase profitmargins by manufacturing offshore andunion membership continued to declineas garment industry jobs moved over-seas. Fig. 14 2009 Save the Garment Center Rally. MAS 2011 Garment District Report 17
  18. 18. THE MAKING OF A FASHION CAPITALbetween the Amalgamated Clothing reducing the amount of square footage vital core of the Garment District thatWorkers of America with the Textile reserved for manufacturing. Serious has adapted and even thrived in re-Workers Union). The new union was objections were raised by designers, sponse to changes in the marketplace,called Union of Needle Trades, Indus- manufacturers, and others concerned moving away from mass production totrial, and Textile Employees or UNITE. about the future of the Garment Dis- specialize in areas where they have aIn 2004, UNITE merged with the trict. competitive advantage. And the mar-Hotel Employees and Restaurant Em- ketplace itself is constantly changing asployees International Union (HERE) The fashion industry has a long history consumers re-think their relationshipto form UNITE HERE. (Soyer, 2005) of economic vitality in New York. The with products they consume. The sec- rise in imports and offshore manufac- tions of the report that follow docu-21st century turing has led to the loss of significant ment many of the important assets ofMost recently in 2007, the city, in portions of the garment manufacturing the Garment District that need to beresponse to ongoing complaints from sector that once dominated the industry. more effectively leveraged in supportlandlords that the zoning is outdated Today wholesale and retail are the most of the broader fashion industry.and depresses rents, looked at chang- profitable areas of the industry. (EDC,ing the regulations and drastically 2010) However, there remains a very MAS 2011 Garment District Report 18
  19. 19. FASHIONING THE FUTURE: NYC’s GARMENT DISTRICTII. WHERE WEARE TODAY MAS 2011 Garment District Report 19
  20. 20. WHERE WE ARE TODAYOver the years, the fashion industry has played a major role in shaping the social,cultural, and political landscape of New York City and it continues to energize andstrengthen the city today. The following section details some of the direct and indi-rect contributions the fashion industry makes to the city’s economy with a particularfocus on the importance of the Garment District.General Garment District MapWhere is the Garment District? The midblock portions of this district In 2005, the re-zoning of HudsonThe physical core of the district is de- were designated manufacturing preser- Yards was approved affecting thefined by the zoning regulations of the vation areas (P1), where residential uses blocks between West 30th and WestSpecial Garment Center District. This and hotels are not allowed as-of-right, 43rd Streets, between 7th and 8thspecial purpose district was created and the conversion of manufacturing to Avenues on the east, and the Hudsonin 1987 to retain and preserve produc- office space is restricted, requiring a River to the west. This proposal cre-tion and showroom uses in the blocks certification from the City Planning ated a new preservation area (P2) inlocated roughly between 35th and 40 th Commission (CPC) that an equal the Special Garment Center DistrictStreets, Broadway and 9th Avenue in amount of floor area is preserved for in the midblocks between 8th and 9thMidtown Manhattan. garment manufacturing. (NYC DCP, Avenues. The Hudson Yards proposal 2011) imagined a new mixed-use central MAS 2011 Garment District Report 20
  21. 21. WHERE WE ARE TODAY According to a recent comparative analysis of American fashion cities, New York City has more fashion establishments than anywhere else in the country. New York City stands out nationwide for its concentration of wholesale and design establish- ments. These two segments of the industry account for 30% and 27.5% of the national share. New York City also accounts for 17% of the nation’s total manufacturing establishments; and 14% of the suppliers in the country. (Currid; Williams. 2011) Industry growth in New York City andFur businesses along 29th Street LA has taken place through a processbusiness district. (NYC DCP, 2004) the activities that make NYC an interna- of market specialization that buildsNew residential and commercial space tional fashion capital. on specific niches. New York City iswas permitted on lots with less than internationally renowned for its high-70,000 square feet of floor area. The What role does the fashion end fashion, while LA has emerged asconversion of larger buildings (over industry play in NYC? a new hub for high-end casual sports-70,000 square feet) to residential, New York City is an international leader wear, particularly denim. Both of thesehotel, or office use is permitted by in fashion design and innovation. This markets are heavily anchored in aauthorization of the CPC. (NYC DCP, city is considered the most important downtown production cluster. (Currid;2011) These provisions have begun to fashion wholesale destination in the Williams. 2011)erode the manufacturing protections country, mainly because of the reputa-put in place in 1987. tion, quality, and diversity of products. In the case of NYC, the Garment District is both at the center of the cityThe boundaries of New York City’sGarment District have been defined ina number of ways – the special zoningdistrict, the state historic district, andthe Fashion Center BID are a few ofthe commonly used ones. Our researchhas focused within the Fashion CenterBID’s boundaries primarily becausewe have the best data and informationfrom which to make recommendations.There is nonetheless a significantamount of fashion related activity inthe blocks outside the Fashion CenterBID boundaries. Although the preciseboundaries of the Garment Districtcan be debated, what is clear is that theneighborhood has a concentration offashion designers, garment manufac-turers, showroom operators, wholesal- National share of specialized design establishments, 2007. Image Courtesy of Sarah Williams, Co-Director, Spatial Informationers, retailers and buyers engaging in Design Lab, Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, Preservation (GSAPP), Columbia University. MAS 2011 Garment District Report 21
  22. 22. WHERE WE ARE TODAYand region. Just as the city’s financialsector helps support a larger regionaleconomy with benefits that extendfar beyond the city’s boundaries, thefashion industry helps support regionalemployment. As documented by theNew York City Economic DevelopmentCorporation, NYC’s fashion industryemployed 165,000 individuals in 2009.The total employment includes 50,000 New York City share of U.S. employment for specific industries, 2010] (NYC EDC, 2011)working in wholesale / design (30%),25,000 in manufacturing (15%) and90,000 in retail (55%). (NYC EDC, Its cultural impact goes far beyond visit NYC every year. In fact, 14% of2010) numbers, but the most concrete way to all NYC conventioneers are fashion understand its importance would be to buyers—international fashion buyersA recent calculation estimates that the measure its contribution to the econo- are considered “high-end” and “high-concentration of fashion jobs in New my of New York City. (NYC EDC, 2009; spend” visitors compared to otherYork in 2010 accounted for 4.6% of the NYC EDC, 2010) conventioneers, and spend $11,903 percountry’s total. This is almost equal visit;to that of financial services, which • The fashion industry generates $9account for 5.6% of the nation’s total; billion in total wages citywide, and $1.7 • The average buyer visits New Yorkor that of media and entertainment, billion annually in tax revenues; City 4.2 times a year to attend fashionat 5.1%. Moreover, the concentra- trade shows, staying 4 days and 3.4tion of fashion jobs in NYC is much • Total sales are estimated at $55.6 nights.higher than the concentration of total billion per year--$34.7 billion fromprivate jobs, at 2.9% nationwide, and wholesale / design; $8.7 billion from To secure the economic contributionthat of other industries like bioscience, manufacturing; and $12.8 billion from of these visits, the city needs to sup-at 0.8%. (NYC EDC, 2011) It is clear fashion retail; port the origin of much of that activityfrom these numbers that the fashion – the Garment District. The district isindustry is incredibly important to the • Wholesale is the most prominent sec- a tremendous asset that makes fashioncity’s economy. And, just as New York tor, and is structured around a semian- innovation, research and developmentCity invests in sectors like media and nual fashion week (250 fashion shows), in New York City possible. A strongfinancial services it must continue to a series of trade shows that take place in interaction between designers, manu-make investments in the fashion sector Javits Center and approximately 5,000 facturers, wholesalers and retailers,to secure this unique position. showrooms; makes the city a vibrant capital of fashion innovation. These activitiesThe contribution of the fashion indus- • The wholesale market contributes are anchored in the Garment District,try to New York City can be measured $16.2 billion annually in direct where the density of fashion-servicesin a variety of ways. This industry is spending: and the formal and informal relation-at the center of a larger economy that ships that exist in the neighborhood docontributes to finance, marketing, mer- • The contribution of fashion week, a not exist anywhere else in the world.chandising, advertising, photography, semiannual event that takes place in (Teng, 2011) The direct and indirectmodeling, higher education, theater September and February, is estimated contributions of the industry to theand tourism. All of these sectors bene- at $466 million in direct visitor spend- city’s economy are heavily anchored infit from a network of economic activity ing per year leading to $773 million in this neighborhood, attracting fashionthat is often described as the “fashion economic impact per year; designers from all over the city, coun-ecosystem”. Fashion is also essential to try and abroad. (CFDA; DTFPS, 2010)the city’s cultural prominence, acting • About 578,000 individual wholesaleas an engine of the creative economy. buyers and fashion event attendees Brands like Nepenthes New York, or MAS 2011 Garment District Report 22
  23. 23. WHERE WE ARE TODAYOwner Operator, are excellent exam-ples of a creative breed of young designtalent creating new fashion trends,while building relationships with fac-tories in the district, where they base100% of their production. Designerslike these set New York City apartfrom London or Paris—cities that haveeither lost or are struggling to sustainthe diversity of services that designersrequire for product development.The New York State Department ofLabor confirms that New York Cityfashion activity is concentrated inManhattan, followed by Brooklyn andQueens1. Manhattan hosts more busi- Wholesale / design Manufacturingnesses and employees across different Distribution of fashion establishments in NYC, 2009sectors of the industry than the otherboroughs, with the majority of thatfashion activity heavily clustered inand around the Garment District.Zip codes 10018, 10036 and 10001together, which include the blocksin and around the Garment District,have a much higher concentration ofnon-retail fashion establishments andemployees than the rest of the city’szip codes. According to the New YorkState Department of Labor, zip code10018, which roughly corresponds tothe Garment District boundaries, has atotal of 2,213 fashion establishments,or 16% of the total fashion busi-nesses in the city. The concentration Wholesale / Design Manufacturingof activity in the Garment District is Distribution of fashion average annual employment in NYC, 2009also true for the number of industryemployees, where this zip code employs25,412 people, or 16% of the city’s total 22,171 jobs, or 31% of the total fashion of the total of 3,348 fashion services sur-fashion jobs. Excluding fashion retail, annual employment. (NYS DOL, 2009 veyed are within the blocks between 7ththe economic activity generated in and 8th Avenues. This area has a diversethe Garment District from wholesale, The Fashion Center BID 2010 Tenants mix of wholesalers, showrooms, produc-design and manufacturing combined, Survey2 is a useful resource to further un- tion services and suppliers. This activityaccounts for 1,953 establishments, or derstand how fashion services are distrib- occurs primarily on the midblocks as25% of the fashion establishments, and uted across the Garment District. Most well as in a few buildings along 8thAt the time of this research the most updated complete dataset available from the New York State Department of Labor was the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) 2009 Data.12 The information in these paragraphs is from the 2010 FCBID survey of commercial tenants. Results of the voluntary and self-categorizing survey are based upon a 64.4% response rate of 3,526 distributed forms. Dataplotted reflects service location and is not adjusted for square footage occupied, number of employees, amount of sales, or number of establishments. MAS 2011 Garment District Report 23
  24. 24. Distribution of fashion wholesale / design establishments in NYC, 2009Distribution of apparel manufacturing establishments in NYC, 2009 MAS 2011 Garment District Report 24
  25. 25. Distribution of fashion wholesale / design average annual employment in NYC, 2009Distribution of apparel manufacturing average annual employment in NYC, 2009 MAS 2011 Garment District Report 25
  26. 26. FCBID general fashion industry services map, 2010FCBID buyers map, 2010 MAS 2011 Garment District Report 26
  27. 27. FCBID production services map, 2010FCBID suppliers map, 2010 MAS 2011 Garment District Report 27
  28. 28. WHERE WE ARE TODAYAvenue. This clustering attractsdesigners who need to be in closeproximity to production businesses,and suppliers to buy the necessary rawmaterials. This is one critical asset thatgives New York City an advantage overother fashion centers. (CFDA; DTFPS,2010)The majority of fashion services areclassified as showrooms / wholesalers,constituting 2,711 services, or 81% ofthe total surveyed. These companiesdisplay, store and sell designs andfinished garments to retail stores andbuyers that visit the Garment Dis-trict from all over the world. (CFDA;DTFPS, 2010) According to the survey,these businesses can be found through-out the district, but the blocks be- FCBID street furniture / signage Garment District along 7th Avenuetween West 37th and West 40th Streets,between 6th and 8th Avenue have aparticular concentration. The location the blocks between West 36th and West tween 65 to 120 workers. The medianof showrooms clustered in large 40th Streets, between 7th and 9th Avenues. amount of space occupied by thesebuildings along Broadway and 7th companies is 3,400 square feet—whereAvenue make it easier for buyers to Who is in the Garment District? the five largest companies occupyshop more efficiently and the location The Garment Center Supplier Associa- between 9,000 to 12,500 square feet.along these central streets gives the tion (GCSA) is a trade association thatshowrooms additional prominence. voices the needs of apparel manufactur- Almost half of these companies (48.1%) ers and suppliers in the neighborhood. report a total annual revenue betweenSurvey data shows that production ser- Their mission is to retain the vital ser- $100,000 and $500,000. The rest ofvices are not only concentrated in a few vices that NYC designers use to translate them evenly reported revenues underblocks but in a few specific buildings. a sketch into a finished piece. Today, the $100,000, and between $500,000 andThe survey identified a total of 298 GCSA is one of the few organizations that $5 million—with only two companiesproduction services, including an array provides a voice for the needs of garment reporting over $5 million. (GCSA, 2009)of contractors that support designers, manufacturers—a largely immigrant andtranslating their ideas into garment non-unionized workforce. To better understand these compa-samples. This includes specialty nies, we conducted five case studiesmanufacturers such as pattern makers In 2009, the GCSA developed a survey of garment manufacturing companiesthat turn the designer’s drawings into of factories in New York City that sheds operating in the district. These studiesfabrication pieces; experts in cutting additional light on the characteristics were developed as semi-structuredfabric; assemblers that sew and finish of the manufacturing businesses. The conversations with factory owners,the garments; and suppliers that sell survey interviewed 148 manufacturing whose businesses were representa-the raw materials or decorate fabrics companies, of which 108, or 73%, were tive of the kinds of firms in the districtthrough embroidering or screen located in zip code 10018. The median based on size, but varied in terms ofprinting for silk and other materials number of employees for the companies manufacturing skills. As defined by(CFDA; DTFPS, 2010) There were 207 surveyed during the busiest part of the the factories, the services range fromproduction service providers, or 69.5% year is 14 employees—although the cutting and sewing, and sampleof the total surveyed, located within largest five companies employ be- making to sophisticated embroidery. MAS 2011 Garment District Report 28
  29. 29. WHERE WE ARE TODAYManufacturers in the Garment Districtare highly entrepreneurial. They oftenengage in more than one venture, andsometimes they run their own designlabels. The relatively small size ofthese companies allows factories to ex-pand and contract in relation to thesecycles in order to adapt to changes indemand, or fluctuations in the econo-my. Although inexpensive rent is help-ful, manufacturers find one of theirgreatest challenges to be attracting aconstant number of orders year-round.The demand peaks twice a year aroundFashion Week, but it slows during therest of the year.Garment manufacturers are nicheplayers that survive primarily because oftheir locational advantage in the centerof NYC’s fashion industry—in closeproximity to fashion designers andbuyers. Other advantages derive fromartisanal production techniques, rela-tively skilled workers, trust they haveestablished with designers, and theirability to turn around small ordersquickly. They are not equipped to com-pete for large production runs. Thesecompanies confirm that their mostimportant competitive advantage istheir ability to interact one on one withdesigners and their capacity to producehigh-quality manufacturing goods.Where is manufacturing? Garment District factoriesThe most reliable resource availablefor determining how space is beingutilized in the Garment District is the forms in the Garment District we have our land use recommendations.Comprehensive Study of Tenants in blended the information from the CFDABuildings within the P1 and P2 Sec- / Fashion Center BID survey with data The CFDA / Fashion Center BID landtions of the Special Garment Center from the NYC Departments of City use survey determined that there areDistrict. This study was a joint effort Planning and Buildings, as well as the 1,447 fashion tenants including manu-of the Council of Fashion Designers of Fashion Center BID tenant’s survey facturers, designers with in-houseAmerica (CFDA) and the Fashion Cen- described earlier. These datasets reveal manufacturing, showrooms, ware-ter BID. (CFDA / FCBID, 2009) important differences within the Gar- houses, retailers, and other office uses ment District. Based upon these differ- related to the industry. In contrast,In order to provide a comprehensive ences we have broken down the district there are 1,029 non-fashion tenants inview of the land uses and building into 5 sub-zones which help to inform the district—space used for other types MAS 2011 Garment District Report 29
  30. 30. WHERE WE ARE TODAYProposed garment district sub-zones mapof manufacturing, offices, institutionaluses, and other forms of retail.From the total 8,754,721 square feetof building area surveyed, 4,588,488square feet, or 52%, is occupied bythese fashion tenants. 2,797,107 squarefeet, or 32%, is occupied by non-fash-ion tenants. The remaining 1,399,126square feet, or 16%, is either vacant orundeterminable.In general, the land use survey docu-ments a predominance of office spaceover manufacturing. 3,458,525 squarefeet is occupied by office space. This is40% of the total area surveyed, whichis used both by fashion and non-fashion tenants. In comparison, total Distribution of fashion and non-fashion uses in comprehensive study of tenants in buildings withinmanufacturing uses occupy 1,569,557 P1 and P2 sections of the special garment center district. (CFDA / FCBID, 2009) MAS 2011 Garment District Report 30
  31. 31. WHERE WE ARE TODAYsquare feet, or 18% of the surveyedarea—1,324,176 square feet, or 15% ofthe total area surveyed, was deter-mined to be used by fashion relatedmanufacturing tenants.Of the total commercial space,3,234,312 square feet are occupied byfashion tenants. 1,327,870 square feet,or 15.2% of the total area surveyed,was classified as fashion office space.Showrooms occupy 1,029,690 squarefeet, or 11.8%; warehousing accountsfor 662,353 square feet, or 7.6%; andretail occupies the remaining 214,399square feet of space, or 2.4% of thetotal area. Distribution of land uses in CFDA / FCBID comprehensive study of tenants in buildings within P1 and P2 sections of the special garment center district (CFDA / FCBID, 2009)A large concentration of fashionactivity within the Special GarmentCenter District is located between 7thand 8th Avenues. These blocks have thelargest share of apparel manufactur-ing space. The second largest shareis in the blocks between 8th and 9thAvenues.Manufacturing within thesetwo areas is not evenly distributedbut is further concentrated in severalbuildings.Sub-Zone A111 lots, total gross building area of12,311,483 square feet. (NYC DCP, 2009)3Sub-zone A includes the lots betweenWest 35th and West 40th Streets Distribution of fashion, non-manufacturing, land uses in CFDA / FCBID comprehensive study of tenants in build- ings within P1 and P2 sections of the special garment center district (CFDA / FCBID, 2009)]between 7th and 8th Avenues. Thisarea includes the P1 preservation areabetween 7th and 8th Avenues and iszoned M1-6.Sub-zone A has the largest share offashion activity in the Garment Dis-trict. The midblocks in this sub-zoneaccount for more than half of the docu-mented manufacturing space (50.3%),and an even higher share of the totalspace occupied by designersTwo lots in this section extend beyond the boundaries of the sub-zone, occupying the entire depth of the block between 34th and 35th Streets.3 MAS 2011 Garment District Report 31
  32. 32. WHERE WE ARE TODAYwith in-house manufacturing (71.4%).Combining these two types of manu-facturing space, these blocks ac-count for more than half of the totalmanufacturing area surveyed (56.2%).Sub-zone A is also the primary loca-tion of showrooms, with almost threequarters (74.5%) of the total showroomspace located in this area.According to the Department of CityPlanning PLUTO data, there are impor-tant distinctions between the individualbuildings in sub-zone A. The buildings photo: Giles Ashfordin the midblocks, with a few exceptionsalong 8th Avenue, are mostly pre-warloft buildings with an average heightof 12 stories, designed for manufactur-ing. In contrast, most structures along7th Avenue are a combination of retailand office and are considerably higher,reaching 45 stories between West 37thand West 39th Streets. (NYC DCP, 2009)Although the CFDA / Fashion CenterBID land use survey didn’t includebuildings along the avenues, both theGCSA factory survey and the FashionCenter BID tenants survey document animportant concentration of productionactivity on 8th Avenue. The GCSA photo: Giles Ashfordfactory survey documented 9manufacturing companies on the east Building fabric in sub-zone Aside of 8th Avenue, on the blocks be-tween West 39th and West 37th Streets.We estimate that these businessesoccupy a total of 22,000 square feet. including the P2 preservation area of public facilities and institutions to theIn addition, the Fashion Center BID’s the Special Garment Center District. mix of manufacturing and commercialtenants survey documents additional In contrast to sub-zone A, only the lots uses that existed prior to the re-zoning.pockets of manufacturing services in abutting 8th Avenue are zoned M1-6. According to the Fashion Center BID’sthese blocks. The lots along 9th Avenue are zoned C1- 2009 and 2010 economic profiles, there 7A, and the midblocks are zoned C6-4M. have been 6 recent hotel developmentsSub-Zone B These blocks were re-zoned in 2005 as with 987 hotel rooms and more under85 lots, total gross building area of part of the larger Hudson Yards re-zon- construction. (NYC EDC, 2009; NYC5,268,941 square feet. (NYC DCP, 2009) ing, which allowed residential and hotel EDC, 2010) construction on lots less than 70,000This sub-zone includes the blocks square feet in floor area. This re-zoning Sub-zone B is the second most impor-located between West 35th and West has introduced non-industrial land tant concentration of fashion activity39th Streets, and 8th and 9th Avenues— uses—including residential, commercial, in the neighborhood. 45.4% of the man- MAS 2011 Garment District Report 32

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