US Apparel Manufacturing Moving Forward with New Hub in New York

Dec. 5, 2014
The new Manufacturing Innovation Hub for Apparel, Textiles + Wearable Tech will provide research, design, development, and manufacturing resources for New York’s emerging designers and apparel manufacturers.

Brooklyn is home to the new Manufacturing Innovation Hub for Apparel, Textiles + Wearable Tech that opened in New York on December 4. The 160,000 square feet facility will provide research, design, development and manufacturing resources for New York’s emerging designers and apparel manufacturers.

The City of New York, via the New York City Economic Development Corp., will invest $3.5 million to allow for the build-out, modernization, and subdivision of the industrial space. Approximately 300 jobs in 20-30 businesses, including designers, manufacturers and related industries, are anticipated to be housed at the facility.

“Creating a comprehensive system of mentorship, training, and support, while working together to solve 21st century problems in our supply chains and the fashion ecosystem, will bring long-term, sustainable growth to the New York City economy.” said Manufacture New York CEO Bob Bland.

The innovation hub will include:

  • A small-run factory specializing in sample making;
  • A research and development center to help develop new fashion and wearable technology capabilities;
  • A design accelerator to create an educated pipeline of fashion and manufacturing talent;
  • Incubator space containing 12 private studios, classroom space, conference rooms, a computer lab, an industrial sewing room, storage, and work areas for 50 designers;
  • A workforce development center to help train skilled workers.

“Fashion and manufacturing aren’t just legacy industries, they are rapidly evolving parts of our economy that are adapting new technologies and changing every day,"said Deputy New York Mayor Alicia Glen. " Here in Sunset Park, working with our private sector partners, we’re ensuring companies at the cutting edge of these industries can grow and innovate right here in New York City.

The Manufacturing Innovation Hub builds upon the city’s suite of fashion initiatives, including the Fashion Manufacturing Initiative, a public-private program designed to support and promote growth of small businesses in the city’s fashion and manufacturing sectors, as well as seed funding for the CFDA Fashion Incubator, professional mentorship in design and fashion management, and networking and educational programs.

The city’s fashion industry accounts for nearly 6% of the city’s workforce, paying $10.9 billion in wages, and generating nearly $2 billion in tax revenue annually.

New York City’s wholesale fashion market is one of the world’s largest, attracting more than 500,000 visitors per year to its trade shows, showrooms and fashion shows. Overall, the industry garners more than $18 billion in retail sales, $72 billion in wholesale sales, and $8 billion in manufacturing sales annually. The city’s semi-annual Fashion Weeks draw approximately 232,000 attendees to more than 500 shows, creating a total economic impact of $887 million.

“We are thrilled to know that our city and Manufacture New York have finally finalized the long awaited project of the Manufacturing Innovation Hub,” said Chung Yu, CFO of local manufacturer MCM Enterprise.

“With increasing rent, the high cost of manufacturing and a forever diminishing work force, the fashion industry in America has been on life support for over a decade,' Yu added. "This program will benefit many domestic fashion manufacturers and designers. It will finally give manufacturers and designers a chance to be more competitive with the rest of the world."

About the Author

Adrienne Selko | Senior Editor

Focus: Workforce, Talent 

Follow Me on Twitter: @ASelkoIW

Bio: Adrienne Selko has written about many topics over the 17 years she has been with the publication and currently focuses on workforce development strategies. Previously Adrienne was in corporate communications at a medical manufacturing company as well as a large regional bank. She is the author of Do I Have to Wear Garlic Around My Neck? which made the Cleveland Plain Dealer's best sellers list. She is also a senior editor at Material Handling & Logistics and EHS Today

Editorial mission statement: Manufacturing is the enviable position of creating products, processes and policies that solve the world’s problems. When the industry stepped up to manufacture what was necessary to combat the pandemic, it revealed its true nature. My goal is to showcase the sector’s ability to address a broad range of workforce issues including technology, training, diversity & inclusion, with a goal of enticing future generations to join this amazing sector.

Why I find manufacturing interesting: On my first day working for a company that made medical equipment such as MRIs, I toured the plant floor. On every wall was a photo of a person, mostly children. I asked my supervisor why this was the case and he said that the work we do at this company has saved these people’s lives. “We never forget how important our work is and everyone’s contribution to that.” From that moment on I was hooked on manufacturing.

I have talked with many people in this field who have transformed their own career development to assist others. For example, companies are hiring those with disabilities, those previously incarcerated and other talent pools that have been underutilized. I have talked with leaders who have brought out the best in their workforce, as well as employees doing their best work while doing good for the world. 

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