Garment District

new york garment district industry economy research

Fashioning the Future: NYC’s Garment District

The fashion industry is an essential part of the economic and cultural vitality of New York City. In 2010 the industry accounted for 4.6% of the country’s total fashion employment. This is almost equal to finance, where NYC accounts for 5.6% of the nation’s financial services jobs; or media and entertainment, where 5.1% of the American jobs in that sector are located in NYC. But numbers are only one part of the story. As many researchers have documented the Garment District is one of the few remaining manufacturing and design clusters where young entrepreneurs can launch a company at the same time that a recent immigrant can put their skills to use and begin to climb the economic ladder.

Over the last year MAS has conducted case studies, gathered new data, interviewed dozens of experts, compiled other studies of the fashion industry, researched the history and explored a variety of policy recommendations. The recommendations outlined in our report flow from a careful recording of the history of the fashion industry, an examination of our competitors, and a thorough analysis of the competitive advantages of the Garment District.

These recommendations offer an agenda for a conversation that needs to continue to develop between the stakeholders. Ultimately lasting solutions for supporting the fashion industry and the Garment District will emerge from the creativity and energy of those that helped make NYC the fashion capital of the world. The costs of doing nothing are lost jobs, missed opportunities for strengthening a vital industry, and the erosion of a sector of the economy that inspires entrepreneurship and helps shape NYC’s identity.

Why the Garment District?

Preface and Executive Summary

I. The Making of a Fashion Capital

The history of New York City’s Garment District is about much more than clothing. What were the key factors that helped NYC become a fashion capital?

IA. Timeline of New York City’s Fashion Industry

Historical perspective from the 1800s to 2010.

II. Where We Are Today

What is the fashion economy’s contribution to NYC? Why is the Garment District important? Who is working there?

III. Lessons from Other Fashion Capitals

Where is NYC positioned on the global landscape? What can we learn from our fashion colleagues?

IV. Areas of Opportunity

What are the key strengths we need to build from?

V. Recommendations

What do we need to do to strengthen the fashion industry and the Garment District?

References and Acknowledgements

See pages 67 and 71 of the full report, respectively.


Read Full Report Online

with option to download and embed

Coverage from the 2011 MAS Summit for New York City

More on the Garment District:

For more information on how MAS has been involved in the Garment District as well as links to related articles please see the lists below. We will continue to update our site with the progress of our work so check back soon for more on this important creative district.

Op-Eds and Editorials

Vin Cipolla in Crain’s, October 2010
Vin Cipolla in the Huffington Post, June 2010

MAS Garment District Updates

More stories>>



Kate Slevin
Vice President, Policy and Planning

MAS President Vin Cipolla on the past, present, and future of the Garment District

Making it in the Garment District: A Day with Yeohlee Teng

Panel Videos
Made in Midtown: The Garment District Today & Tomorrow
Urban Creative Districts

In June 2010, MAS in collaboration with the Design Trust for Public Space produced two panel discussions which brought together fashion designers, city officials and industry professionals to talk about the future of the Garment District. View the summary, or watch the full videos below.

Summary video

Made in Midtown: The Garment District Today & Tomorrow

Watch Made In Midtown Panel Discussion Held on Tuesday, June 8, 2010 Introduction
Opportunities for Entrepreneurs
& Industry Support
Real Estate Pressures
Proximity and Creativity
Visions for the Future
of the Garment District
Q & A

Urban Creative Districts

Watch the Panel Discussion on Urban Creative Districts held on June 15, 2010 Introduction
Creative Industries
Industry Visibility
Creating a Sense of Place
The Made in Midtown Label
Q & A

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