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Made in Midtown: The Future of the Garment District

design trust made midtown logoNew York City’s Midtown Garment District presents a host of planning, economic development and preservation issues as the district has undergone significant change over the last four decades. To chart a course for the future, the Design Trust for Public Space, with its partner, the Council of Fashion Designers of America, has launched Made in Midtown, a project that will document how New York’s fashion industry works today and how it could be the catalyst for future improvements in the Garment District. The Design Trust’s findings, including specific research on international fashion centers provided by The Municipal Art Society, will show how New York’s fashion industry functions as an interconnected ecosystem that is integral to our city’s economy, identity, and sense of place. The Design Trust will launch the project website, madeinmidtown.org, with a day-long event open to the public on June 3 at the Port Authority Pop-Up Space, at Eighth Avenue at 41st Street. Following the launch, the Design Trust and MAS have organized public programming throughout June to publicize the findings and to guide this issue into a public discussion. On Tuesday, June 8, at the panel discussion, Made in Midtown: The Garment District Today & Tomorrow, the report’s findings will be presented and discussed. Questions to be considered include: how does New York’s fashion industry function today? What is the role of the fashion industry in the city’s economy, identity, and sense of place? What remains vital, productive, and ready to grow? Tim Gunn, chief creative officer at Liz Claiborne, Inc., will moderate the expert panel, featuring: Sarah Crean, deputy director, New York Industrial Retention Network; Eric Gural, executive managing director, Newmark Knight Frank; Deborah Marton, executive director, Design Trust for Public Space; Michael Meola, consultant, formerly senior vice president, Real Estate and Special Projects, NYCEDC; and Yeohlee Teng, designer, YEOHLEE Inc. We continue to focus on the Garment District in our June 15 program, Urban Creative Districts. The story of New York City cannot be told without understanding the role dynamic creative communities play in defining the identity of particular neighborhoods. Drawing on the Design Trust study, Made in Midtown, leading creative thinkers and practitioners will imagine the possibilities of future urban clusters of manufacturing and artistic industry, including the Garment District. Deborah Marton, executive director, Design Trust for Public Space, will moderate a panel including: Simon Collins, dean, School of Fashion, Parsons the New School for Design; Fred Dust, partner, IDEO; Bill Moggridge, director, Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum; and Sarah Williams, director, Columbia University Spatial Information Design Lab. Both events will take place at the School of Visual Arts Theater, 333 West 23rd St. (between 8th & 9th avenues). Reservations are required, and tickets are $15, $10 MAS members. Purchase tickets online or call 212-935-2075. The Garment District event series also features two walking tours: The Garment Center National Register Historic District, on Sunday, June 13, and The Garment Center & New York’s Apparel Industry on Friday, June 25. For details, visit MAS.org/calendar.