Source: Queens Gazette
On September 6, Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Ranking Member of the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee (JEC), was joined by Kathleen Warner, Executive Vice President and Managing Director of the Center for Urban Innovation at NYCEDC, Catherine Bennett, Senior Vice President and Managing Director of IMG Fashion, who are producing Fashion Week, Gerald Scupp, Vice President of the Garment District Alliance, and Karolina Zmarlak and Vanessa Noel, who are both successful designers headquartered in New York, as she released a new report on the financial impact of the fashion industry in the United States. The report, produced by the Democratic staff of the JEC and timed for release just prior to New York City’s September Fashion Week, found that Americans spent nearly $380 billion on apparel and footwear in 2015, and that the fashion industry employed over 1.8 million Americans last year.
“Fashion doesn’t just make us look good, it helps our nation’s bottom line,” said Maloney. “Fashion-related jobs are a vital part of the economy across the US, and especially in New York City, which I am proud to represent in Congress. Everyone in the industry, from the designer who drew the new sweater, to the marketer who created the new fashion ad, to the retail worker who stocks and folds the latest outfits, plays a critical role in this economic driver for our town and nation.”
“The City is committed to preserving New York as the global fashion capital,” said Kathleen Warner, Executive Vice President and Managing Director of the Center for Urban Innovation at the New York City Economic Development Corporation. “As this report highlights, New York is the national leader in the fashion industry, home to nearly a quarter of all fashion designers in the U.S. By continuing to make significant and strategic investments into fashion design and production, we will ensure that designers, brands, and ambitious talents that strive to make it here, that are found here – grow and thrive here.”
“Every year, this report reminds us of the powerful impact New York Fashion Week has on our city, our designers, and our local business owners,” said Bennett. “WME | IMG is proud to help support the fashion community through runway shows and presentations; retail pop ups; brand activations; cultural events, and so much more.”
“The Garment District Alliance is gratified that Congresswoman Maloney recognizes the importance of the fashion industry to New York City both in terms of the tremendous economic impact that the industry has on New York, but also as an iconic industry that contributes to the culture, commerce, jobs and stature of New York City,” said President of the Garment District Alliance Barbara Blair. “As a BID, we are vested in ensuring the sustainability of the entire ecosystem that makes up this industry and to ensuring that it continues to make its home here in NYC.”
The report also traces the evolution of the fashion industry. “Over the past quarter century, U.S. apparel manufacturing employment has declined sharply, from almost 940,000 jobs in 1990 to fewer than 138,000 jobs in 2015, with many jobs moving overseas,” the report says. “Despite the disappearance of many apparel manufacturing jobs, a new focus on the high- value parts of the apparel global supply chain such as research and development (R& D), design and marketing, has led to resurgence of employment in the fashion industry.”
Highlights of the report include:
Jobs related to the fashion industry include fashion designers, market research analysts, computer systems developers, patternmakers, sewing machine operators, and wholesale buyers
Over 900 fashion companies are headquartered in New York City, and over 5 percent of the city’s workforce is employed in fashion
Fashion designers earn $73,180 a year on average
While many fashion manufacturing jobs have moved overseas, there are signs of a return to U. S. production. In 2015 alone, 30 apparel companies moved production back to the United States.
High- value jobs are being created not only in the fashion hubs of New York and Los Angeles, but in other U. S. cities like San Francisco, Oakland, San Diego, Kansas City and Columbus.