5 Things you should know about the Garment Center
1. Garment Center Suppliers employ over 7,100 New Yorkers in manufacturing alone.
Garment Center Suppliers, which includes factories, trim suppliers, fabric retailers, production contractors, and more, employ thousands of New Yorkers. Many of the jobs require expertise and craftsmanship to make beautiful clothing here in our backyard.
2. A business based in the Garment Center on average is able to deliver a sample six times faster than one based in Brooklyn and 25 times cheaper than one based in Italy.
A big part of the reason New York is the global fashion capital is the proximity of factories, materials, designers, editors, retailers, and consumers, all within a mile radius. Especially when it comes to creating physical product, location is essential to the success of product development.
3. The Garment District is protected by zoning laws, which were established in 1987 to shore up the industry and combat against outsourcing.
These zoning laws help preserve factory leases and ensure the Garment District maintains it's presence in midtown Manhattan. Without these protections, the landlords and developers would build more residential and office space, which can ask for higher rents. Supporters of the zoning law say that without zoning and regulation, our city would lose it's character, destroying jobs in the process. Critics argue against the protections, saying that the profit (for both landlords and property taxes for the city) outweighs the loss of culture, entrepreneurship, and craftsmanship. Read more on the history of zoning.
4. Garment Center suppliers make up 1.1 million square feet of Midtown West Manhattan.
While this is a significant decline from the industry's hey day, the Garment Center is still the most dense concentration of suppliers and manufacturers in the world. In a few blocks, you can find trims, fabrics, factories, and more. A designer is able to find all the resources he or she would need to start their line.
5. The fashion industry generates $9 billion for New York City each year. New York is considered the global capital of fashion and is larger than Milan, Paris, and London combined. The suppliers are the backbone to that industry, making it possible to create and deliver garments directly to the runway.
Manufacturing in NYC, while generating just 3% of total garments sold in the U.S., is still essential because of the quick turnaround times, on-demand accessibility, and high quality of work.
"Some city officials and industry leaders worry that if manufacturing is wiped out, many of the designers who bring so much luster to New York will leave, along with the city’s claim to be a fashion capital rivaling Paris and Milan. The damage would be undeniable, given that the industry’s two big annual events—Fashion Week in September and February—attract enormous numbers of visitors and generate hundreds of millions of dollars in economic activity."
— Charles Bagli, for the New York Times
There is no doubt - the suppliers that call the Garment Center home are invaluable to New York's economy and the fashion ecosystem.