Rep. Maloney & NYC Officials: New York is Number One in Fashion and a Near Billion Dollar Economic Boon

Feb 6, 2015
Press Release
Congresswoman Maloney release new fact sheet and report on fashion’s economic importance


NEW YORK— A new report from Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12) and the Joint Economic Committee details the broadly based economic benefits of fashion week and the fashion industry as a whole. By many important measures, New York has now eclipsed London, Paris and Milan and has even been “reshoring,” bringing back jobs that were once shipped overseas. 

Maloney unveiled the report, which highlighted the $887 million economic impact of fashion week, along with Councilmember Daniel Garodnick (District 4), New York State Senator Brad Hoylman (District 27), Polish Consul General of New York Urszula Gacek, President of FIT Dr. Joyce Brown, Executive Vice President of NYCEDC’s Center for Economic Transformation Eric Gertler, Economic Development Corporation Chief Strategy Officer Benjamin Branham, and Polish American Designer Karolina Zmarlak. The event took place at the Fashion Institute of Technology.

“The economic impact of New York’s Fashion Weeks is massive!” said Congresswoman Maloney. “Fashion is so much more than style; it’s big business that creates a vast array of good paying jobs. Fashion is one of the largest industries in the city, producing $887 million in economic activity.  Approximately 180,000 people are employed in the fashion industry in primarily good middle class jobs. Impeccable style not only epitomizes New York, it puts New Yorkers to work.”

Maloney also praised a new program launched by the New York City Economic Development Corporation that provides bridge loans to fashion designers to help move their products to market. The low risk, low interest loans generate additional economic benefits for the city. To show her support, the Congresswoman has proudly been wearing the work of Karolina Zmarlak, a rising Polish American Designer who benefited from the program.

Polish Consul General to New York Urszula Gacek recognized Zmarlak for her dedication to both the City of New York and her Polish heritage as demonstrated through her fashion brand.  Zmarlak’s showroom is located in the Garment District and her collection is entirely designed and produced right in New York City.

“Poland recognizes its citizens who are making an impact outside the country, in Karolina’s case showing a design vision, fashion industry expertise and business acumen, such as partnering with the luxury icon, Saks Fifth Avenue,” said Consul General of the Republic of Poland based in NY Urszula Gacek. “I strongly support Karolina as a daughter of Poland, a wonderful example of Polish entrepreneurship and the American spirit, a person who promotes modern image of Poland.”

“It is always a pleasure to celebrate the fashion industry in New York City, and I am delighted that Congresswoman Maloney has chosen this moment, a week in advance of Fashion Week, and this place – FIT – to do so,” said Dr. Joyce F. Brown, President, Fashion Institute of Technology. “Fashion is a signature New York City industry, one that people the world over identify with New York.  As a member of the Mayor’s Fashion Working Group, I know the huge economic impact this industry has in the city, and the critical benefits New York gains as fashion’s global capital.”

“Fashion isn’t just glitz and glamor, it’s a hometown industry that creates opportunity for thousands of working New Yorkers. We’re making investments to help makers in our fashion economy grow and bring their designs to market. We’re thrilled to work with Congresswoman Maloney and all our partners to make sure that the hottest buzzword in fashion is ‘Made in New York’,” said Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Alicia Glen.

“New York City is synonymous with fashion because if its creative energy,” said Council Member Dan Garodnick, Chair of the City Council’s Economic Development Committee. “This is where great ideas are formed, and trends are set – so we look forward to kicking off this important event.”

“Congresswoman Maloney and the New York City Economic Development Corporation are to be commended for highlighting that Fashion Week and the fashion industry are major drivers of our city’s economy – to the tune of nearly $900 million a year,” said Senator Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan). “Our fashion industry isn’t just about money, though – it’s a catalyst for innovation, entrepreneurship and what makes New York City a magnet for talent from across the world, such as today’s honoree, Karolina Zmarlak, the first Polish born designer to graduate from FIT and to be sold in a U.S. luxury retailer.”

“With an $887 million impact on our economy, New York City’s Fashion Weeks showcase a critically important sector and one of New York’s most iconic industries,” said New York City Economic Development Corporation Executive Vice President Eric Gertler.  “The City’s fashion industry employs over 180,000 New Yorkers, including many talented designers and manufacturers, and our initiatives seek to help this industry thrive in a globally competitive environment, strengthening our reputation as the fashion capital of the world.”

“New York leads the way for the American fashion industry,” said Steven Kolb, CEO of the Council of Fashion Designers of America.  “It is the major engine behind the $350 billion apparel Industry that employs 4 million workers, which is 3 million more than the car manufacturers - - and more than the U.S. video game industry, fast food industry, and beverage industry.”

“It is my honor to have had the opportunity to study at the great design institution of learning, FIT, to design and manufacture in the fashion capital of America, to be supported by the City with the EDC’s Fashion Production Fund, and to have partners like the great luxury retail icon, Saks Fifth Avenue. All of these elements come together for Fashion Week,” said Karolina Zmarlak. “As a member of the fashion design community, I particularly appreciate Congresswoman Maloney for commemorating the importance of the economic impact of the fashion industry in New York. I could not accomplish this skilled and productive design and manufacturing anywhere else in America. It really is an industry and land to live the American immigrant dream.”

“In many ways, New York City’s hotel industry has been on the forefront of design, so we truly appreciate the positive impact that New York Fashion Week has on the City, particularly for our nearly 300 member hotels and approximately 50,000 employees,” said Vijay Dandapani, Chairman, Hotel Association of New York City.

“From a press perspective, by synergizing the men’s collections s huge spotlight will shine on New York City and attract not only an international crowd, it will also attract regional media and the fringe fashion crowd that want to be a part of the excitement and glamour during any fashion week,” said Erin Hawker, Owner/Founder, Agentry PR. “From the designers’ perspectives, allowing the buying market cycle to synch with the showcasing of a designer’s exact vision, will help the buying community understand that designer in a more clear way and hopefully stimulate sales for emerging talent.”


The fashion industry is one of the largest in New York, employing over 180,000people in the city, including 16,000 manufacturing jobs, paying approximately $11 billion in wages, and generating almost $2 billion in tax revenue each year. Fashion Week is a large part of that industry, generating $887 million in total economic impact. For more information please view the Economic Impact of New York Fashion Week (NYFW) and the JEC report on the Economic Impact of the Fashion Industry. Both attached.

As the first Polish born designer to graduate from FIT, Karolina Zmarlak is the first-ever Polish born fashion designer to be sold in a US luxury retailer with Saks Fifth Avenue. Based in NYC, Zmarlak was an early recipient of support from the Economic Development Corporation (EDC) Fashion Production Fund.

NYC Fashion Production Fund (NYCFPF) supports emerging designers who manufacture and are based in New York City with financing to help ensure that NYC remains the premier destination for fashion design. The NYCFPF is administered by Capital Business Credit LLC. They provide designers with purchase order financing at below-market rates and with more flexible terms than tradition lenders. Designers who have been accepted into the fund have access to loans with straightforward fee structures. They are also able to access mentors, technical advisors, and are given networking opportunities with industry experts.