- Kristopher Fraser |
Barneys New York has a new capsule collection respectfully titled Made In New York. This collection was the result of the retailer asking several of its designers to design items that would be exclusively produced in New York City to help support the struggling local manufacturing companies. It was a move that was both personal, economical, and political.
The collection will launch in all nine Barneys flagships next week and five of their smaller stores. Barneys New York is in such strong support of this collection that they are giving it all of their window displays during NYFW, a gesture so grand it has left some speechless. The nine designers behind this endeavor are Altuzarra, Thom Browne, The Row, Proenza Schouler, R13, Rag & Bone and Narciso Rodriguez.
Altuzzara produced a black Chantilly lace and chiffon dress, Proenza Schouler produced a sleek form fitting dress, Narciso Rodriguez produced a sensational scuba dress, Rag & Bone produced a tomboyish coat, R13 produced an oversized flannel shirt and jeans, The Row produced a cashmere Melton Coat, and Thom Browne produced a Mackintosh. All of the aforementioned designers produce at least part portions of their collection locally, with the exception of Altuzzara.
Barneys launches Made in New York initiative
The initiative is the brainchild of Daniella Vitale, Barney's Chief Operating Officer, and Steven Colb, president of the CFDA. Under the partnership, ten percent of the sales of Barneys' Made in New York collection will benefit the CFDA's Fashion Manufacturing Initiative, a three-year-old grant program that invests in local manufacturing facilities. Factories applying this year are eligible for 300,000 dollars in grant funds and are expected to match a third of the money received.
There is no cap on the number of grants that can be given. The underwriters of the program are Andrew Rosen of Theory, Ralph Lauren, and the Coach foundation. Although New York City does generate 8 billion dollars in manufacturing sales, the manufacturing industry has still struggled and people have lost jobs just like in every other manufacturing sector in the United States.
The city's Garment District has long been one of the most iconic landmarks of the fashion industry, but local manufacturing seems to remain a weak force in the fashion industry. While NYC does generate over 8 billion dollars in manufacturing sales according to New York City Economic Development Corporation, manufacturing in the city has been plagued by high rents, labor issues, and wage issues. The Garment District will probably never return to the the epicenter of bustling fashion manufacturing that it was half a century ago, but, with enough initiative it should still be able to thrive as a prominent and growing business sector.
One of the other ideas behind Barneys Made in New York initiative was that they'd be able to turn what has long been a trade issue into a consumer issue. They are hoping to get people to realize that clothes made in New York have a certain level of quality to them that you can't get anywhere else. Vitale has estimated 500,000 dollars have been committed in terms of a buy.
The store is also looking at moving some of their private label collection production to New York. Previously, production for Barneys New York private label collections was done in Europe and Asia, but, in an effort to support their own cause they will be investing more into local New York City manufacturing businesses. In February at the kickoff of NYFW, Mayor Bill de Blasio outlined a 5 million dollar creative marketing campaign through the NYCEDC and the city's creative firm to help bolster the fashion industry.
While Barneys is not officially affiliated with this program, NYC & Co. Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Alica Glen said to WWD that, "The launch of the [Barneys] capsule collection, in many respects, is the most visible milestone of the campaign.” While the idea of anything being made in America nowadays is an unrealistic company to many, Barneys is out to change that. The Garment District might never return to its former glory, but with the initiative of enough designers it can at least continue to be an essential business landmark and hub for the fashion industry.