Rep. Maloney, IMG and NYC designers kick off Fashion Week, celebrate economic benefits of NYC’s fashion industry

Feb 8, 2017
Press Release
NYFW Spring 2017 begins on February 9th

NEW YORK—Today, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12) celebrated the start of the Spring 2017 New York Fashion week by releasing a new fact sheet outlining the economic benefits that the Fall and Spring Fashion Weeks and the fashion industry bring to New York City. Rep. Maloney released her report at one of this year’s Fashion Week venues, Skylight Clarkson Sq. She was joined for the announcement by Senior VP and Managing Director for IMG Fashion Catherine Bennett, NYFW designer and member of the Council of Fashion Designers of America Bibhu Mohapatra, as well as a group of locally based designers who are certified as MADE in NYC.

MADE in NYC designers commit to local manufacturing of high quality, high value products. The program encourages consumers to be knowledgeable about where their clothing comes from and the social, environmental and economic benefits of purchasing clothing that is manufactured in NYC. By purchasing clothing that’s made here in NYC, consumers support a vibrant manufacturing sector that directly benefits New Yorkers and employs about 180,000 people. 10 MADE in NYC designers were in attendance: Shahla Karimi, Samantha Leibowitz, b michael AMERICA, Noorism, Leota, HANIA by Anya Cole, Simone Tobias, Carol Hannah LLC, Catbird, and Michele Benjamin.

Bibhu Mohapatra is a New York based fashion and costume designer. He has been a member of the Council of Fashion Designers of America since 2010, and was recognized by the National Arts Club with a Young Innovator Award that same year. Bibhu will show at this year’s Spring Fashion Week on February 15th with a collection that has been described as “unapologetically joyful.”

“We have always felt in our hearts that New York City is the fashion capital of the world, and now we have the numbers to back that up,” said Congresswoman Maloney. “New York’s fashion weeks generate almost $900 million in economic activity for the city, millions more than our contemporaries in London, Paris, and Milan. More fashion designers are employed in NYC than anywhere else in the country, and the industry pays over $11 billion in wages each year. Fashion is big business for this city, and it is only getting bigger, thanks in part to this amazing bunch of designers who are so committed to producing their brands here in NYC. They are part of the over 900 fashion companies that call NYC home, and that number is continuing to grow. It is abundantly clear that NYC not only holds its own, but reigns supreme in the fashion world.”

“New York Fashion Week is a city wide event that brings together designers, media, hotels, restaurants and brand partners in celebration of an industry that is crucial to our city’s vitality,” said Catherine Bennett, Senior VP and Managing Director for IMG Fashion. “We are looking forward to kicking off another successful event tomorrow and welcoming the world to NYFW: The Shows.”

“Besides the obvious benefits including speed of and control over production, and keeping and creating jobs in our great city, there is a less quantifiable benefit to producing in NYC,” said Shahla Karimi, Owner and Designer of Shahla Karimi. “If my peers and I had not had manufacturing resources in New York City, enabling us to work with small jewelry factories that didn’t have minimums and were willing to guide us one-on-one in the beginning, we would have had a major barrier to entry.  The most important thing that drives the business of fashion and keeps NY as the industry leader is the fresh ideas and process innovation of its new blood.” 

“As the CEO & Creative Director of Samantha Leibowitz New York, I am honored to speak behalf of designers that are Made In NYC and being featured in New York Fashion Week,” said Samantha Irene Leibowitz, CEO and Creative Director of Samantha Leibowitz in New York. “IMG has created an extraordinary platform for all different types of designers including SLNY to show case their hard work, dedication, and creativity on the runway. I am proud to be part of Made In America Designers and supporting NYC specifically by manufacturing right here in the garment district.”

“I work, design, and manufacture everything in New York City. You can’t be more Made in New York than that!” said B Michael, Designer of b michael AMERICA.

“I love being able to produce in NYC because I can keep a close relationship with my manufacturers and be involved in the process from designing and sourcing the materials for my collection all the way to the final production,” said Noor Zakka, Founder and Designer of Noorism. “It’s really nice to get to know my vendors personally as well as being sure that my product is produced in a safe, clean environment where the sewers are getting paid a living wage.”  

“New York’s garment district and the city’s investment in fashion startups alongside FIT and Congresswoman Maloney allowed Leota to grow, create jobs, and contribute meaningfully to our economy,” said Sarah Carson, Founder and CEO of Leota. “Our customers all over the world care about honorably made fashion from authentic brands, and Leota is proud to offer that as a woman-owned and operated, Made-in-NY dress company.”