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The Changing Landscape of New York’s Fashion District: Progress at What Cost?

September 4, 2009

This Article in the New York Times discusses the ever shrinking garment district in New York City. The situation is so dire that many feel New York’s claim as one of the world’s fashion centres may be in jeopardy if the current trends of rising rents and mass production shifts to China, India and Latin America continue.

If you don’t have production in the garment center, there would be no reason for designers and suppliers to cluster in the district, said Barbara Blair Randall, executive director of the Fashion Center Business Improvement District.

One strategy to keep New York City’s fashion district intact,  will see the industry redefine the business of manufacturing.

Clearly, what’s occurring is much smaller and more high-end compared with the actual production that used to exist. The idea is, we want to keep garment manufacturing in the garment district.

The designers’ orders are more likely to be 3,000 or 4,000 pieces, not the production runs of 100,000 pairs of jeans that are now typically sent to China.

With a new direction in mind, New York’s garment district will try to counter the exodus of mass production to foreign countries, such as China and India, by offering locally made apparel in a timely turnaround.

Sustaining some form of the industry contributes to our status as a fashion capital of the world, said Ms. Teng, the designer. Access to manufacturers is profound. After all, fashion is about timing.

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