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How Does Fashion Matter to the Garment District and the Economic Development of New York City?

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The fashion industry is a prime example of the changes to the United States urban economy. Cities can be defined by their density and scale, and New York has one of the highest population, employment, and density levels in the country. New York City is home to the nation’s largest “fashion cluster”, which is due to New York’s historical role as a center for apparel design, production, distribution and marketing. Fashion is strongly aligned with the new creative thrust of economic development and urban policy. The fashion industry is already an economic engine for New York City, due to the fact that creative people and innovations can be strong initiators of urban growth.
Fashion, similar to technology tends to create regional network agglomerations and strong headquarter cities. The fashion industry operates within agglomeration clustering similar to Marshall’s scale economies. Agglomerations are important not just for providing access to labor suppliers, but also because it advances the New York brand and social environment. The design sector is highly clustered in New York City. The industry relies on highly skilled labor as much as factories and economies of scale. Amenities and cultural capital are positioned to lure talented and creative individuals. The fashion industry needs to be broken down into four parts: manufacturing, wholesale, supply and design. These significant relationships can be seen in Figure 1. Like Jacobean economies, these four components are all inter-related and depend on each other to function and be successful in the industry. Ideas spill over from one component to another. Those in the fashion industry claim that this focus of talent and supply stores function similar to an ecosystem, where all of th...

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... space for this crucial cluster of design and production activities. This is because they doubt the long-term viability of apparel manufacturing in New York City. The access to transport also makes the Garment District desirable to businesses. The district is within walking distance to Grand Central, Penn Station, Amtrak, LIRR and NJ Transit. Beyond jobs and revenue, the industry’s presence is inseparable from our cultural identity and exerts a powerful influence on tourism, print and web media, education, film and television. This isn’t surprising- cities have more things which allows more ways to bring ideas to reality. A critical resource for the fashion industry is being around other people in the fashion industry, both for work and play. Even with these threats, New York City thrives because it is a place built for the spread of great ideas.
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