MAYOR BLOOMBERG AND COUNCIL OF FASHION DESIGNERS OF AMERICA ANNOUNCE FASHION BUSINESS INCUBATOR

Emerging Designers Will Have Access to Low-Cost Design Studio Space and Support Services in New York City’s Garment Center

Helping Small Businesses Grow in an Array of Sectors is Part of the Bloomberg Administration’s Five Borough Economic Opportunity Plan

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) today launched the NYC Fashion Incubator to help emerging fashion designers grow and sustain their businesses in New York City. The incubator, which will be operated by the CFDA, will offer low-cost design studio space for up to twelve designers. A partnership lead by Newmark Knight Frank’s Chairman Jeff Gural and Executive Managing Director Eric Gural will build out the approximately 10,000-square-foot space at 209 West 38th Street and lease units to incubator tenants at below-market rates, starting at $1,500 per month. The CFDA will also provide educational support and access to the essential resources key to nurturing the next great American designers. This is the fourth business incubator launched by the City since February, when the Mayor announced initiatives to support entrepreneurship and encourage start up companies to locate in New York City. In addition to developing the NYC Fashion Incubator, the City helped to relocate the bi-annual Fashion Week to Lincoln Center to accommodate future growth of the events, which are already attended by more than 578,000 attendees annually. And the City established www.NYCFashionInfo.com to provide wholesale buyers with information on showrooms and Market Week calendars. The City also continues to work with stakeholders to ensure the future of the Garment Center as a core district for the fashion industry, which supports 175,000 jobs and annually generates $1.6 billion in tax revenue and $10 billion in wages.

“New York City is the fashion capital of the world, but we’re not about to take that for granted,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “The development of the NYC Fashion Incubator is the latest step we’re taking to help fashion designers and their employees stay and grow in New York. Earlier this year, we announced that Fashion Week will move to Damrosch Park at Lincoln Center next September, which will allow the event to continue growing. And we’re working with garment businesses, building owners, labor organizations and fashion groups to arrive at a long-term plan to protect New York City’s historic Garment District.”

“The Fashion Incubator represents the kind of resources needed to ensure and strengthen New York City’s position as a fashion capitol,” said Steven Kolb, Executive Director of the CFDA. “The CFDA is committed to working with private and public sector partners on the incubator and on other efforts that help American fashion designers compete in the global marketplace. The Garment Center is an historic neighborhood and its rich past and importance is well served and strengthened with programs like these.”

New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) will provide the CFDA with a three-year, $200,000 grant to establish the NYC Fashion Incubator. Next month, the CFDA will launch a competition to select designers to occupy space in the NYC Fashion Incubator for a period of up to two years. To be eligible for consideration, designers must establish their potential through substantive editorial coverage and orders from top retailers, be in business for a minimum of one and one-half years, and have paid and/or volunteer professional staff. Tenants will be selected by members of an advisory board comprised of fashion industry experts, including retailers, editors, and business leaders. Winners will be announced in December 2009 with occupancy expected in February 2010. Renderings of the NYC Fashion Incubator are available for download at: www.nycedc.com.

Incubator tenants will receive business mentoring services and networking opportunities from the CFDA, along with monthly educational seminars that cover: developing a business plan, branding and marketing, production, sales, and raising investment capital and investor relations.

The City has allocated over $600,000 to cover costs and establish additional incubator spaces for entrepreneurs in sectors including fashion, new media, and emerging technology. This investment will leverage millions in additional funding from public/private partnerships. In addition to the 160 Varick Street Incubator run by NYU-Poly and the Kitchen Incubator at La Marqueta in East Harlem, the City is developing the Hive@55, a shared-work facility for media freelance professionals in partnership with the Downtown Alliance, at 55 Broad Street in Lower Manhattan.

“Maintaining and growing New York City’s and the Garment Center’s position as the foremost location for fashion designers is an integral part of our efforts to strengthen the City’s economy,” said NYCEDC President Seth W. Pinsky. “As part of our commitment to the industry, the NYC Fashion Incubator is being established in the Garment Center to provide emerging designers with direct access to thousands of wholesale buyers and the support services that are essential to the design process. At the same time, the initiative aims to establish successful new brands that will employ local manufacturers and retain and create vital jobs at factories located in the area.”

“We have been waiting to do this for three years, so to finally see it happen is very exciting,” said Newmark Knight Frank Executive Managing Director Eric Gural. “We look forward to working with the CFDA on the contest, and seeing the fruits of the hard work by Kliment and Halsband on the design of the space. We would also like to thank the City for supporting the project and the young people of the fashion industry.”

“Workers United and the Garment Industry Development Corporation are pleased to work with the CFDA and the City to support emerging designers. GIDC has been working with emerging designers for over 25 years,” said Workers United President Edgar Romney. “We welcome additional programs and support for labor designers. New York continues to be a fashion capital because of the vibrant designer community that we and the City support.”

“The fashion industry innovation center is an excellent opportunity for young designers to gain a critical foothold in New York’s Fashion District, the home of American Fashion. The Fashion District, with access to suppliers – from trim and fabric to sample making and production – is both a laboratory for emerging talent and a destination for buyers from around the world. This is precisely where the innovation center belongs,” said Fashion Center BID Executive Director Barbara Randall. “This collaboration between Newmark, Knight Frank, the CFDA, and NYEDC is so important to recognizing the critical role that fashion has in the New York City economy and the vibrancy that the industry brings to our city. The Fashion Center BID applauds this collaboration for recognizing the importance of nurturing innovation, new talent and creativity to further the sustainability of the fashion industry in New York City.”

The Bloomberg Administration’s Five Borough Economic Opportunity Plan is a comprehensive strategy to bring New York City through the current economic downturn as fast as possible. It focuses on three major areas: creating jobs for New Yorkers today, implementing a long-term vision for growing the city’s economy, and building affordable, attractive neighborhoods in every borough. Taken together, the initiatives that the City has launched to achieve these goals will generate thousands of jobs and put New York City on a path to economic recovery and growth. To learn more about the plan, visit nyc.gov.