The city’s garment manufacturing industry is being stitched back together in Brooklyn after rising rents pushed its center out of Manhattan, according to the New York Times.
Garment makers are following the lead of city and industry leaders, who have pushed to popularize Sunset Park as a new manufacturing home with cheap, accessible space. Bestec Concept, for instance, easily installed a $300,000 laser fabric-cutting machine the size of three pool tables in its 37,500-square-foot space at the Brooklyn Army Terminal by taking advantage of the building’s huge freight elevator.
New York City is undertaking a $115 million renovation of the Brooklyn Army Terminal in order to expand manufacturing space there by 500,000 square feet. The city has also partnered with the Council of Fashion Designers of America to offer $1.8 million in grants to 19 garment companies, and is promoting locally made garment products with a “Made in New York” campaign.
Garment making in the city has shrunk dramatically, according to the Times, with 22,626 workers in 2015, half the nearly 60,000 that were working in the industry in 2000 and less than 10% of the 323,669 garment workers in the city in 1950.
“Everybody thinks of fashion as all glitz, but this is a homegrown industry with everyday New Yorkers working behind the scenes,” Alicia Glen, the city’s deputy mayor who oversees economic development, told the Times. “Fashion manufacturing puts food on the table for tens of thousands of families. And it needs room to grow. What’s ‘Made in New York’ is good for New York.”
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