CFDA Celebrates Manufacturing Day With Three Key Efforts

To mark what is truly a manmade holiday, Manufacturing Day, the Council of Fashion Designers of America is rolling out three new ways to support local manufacturing.

In honor of today’s designated holiday, the CFDA, Vogue and the New York City Economic Development Corporation are naming the third round of grant recipients of A Common Thread. The program was set up to help raise awareness and funds for American companies that have been waylaid by the coronavirus crisis. This time around, a total of $500,000 contributed via the Fashion Manufacturing Initiative will be doled out to 47 New York City-based manufacturers.

The CFDA’s chief executive officer Steven Kolb said, “Manufacturing is a critical sector of the fashion industry that employs a diverse group of skilled individuals who support the design community behind-the-scenes and create significant economic impact.”

Of the third-round recipients, 51 percent are minority-owned business enterprises, 46 percent are women-owned business enterprises and more than 10 different services across clothing, accessories and jewelry manufacturing are represented. Like many organizations in recent months, the CFDA has been making a more public and concerted effort to be more diverse in all that it does.

Bantam Leather Inc., F&G Cutting Inc., Geri Gerard Ltd., Michael Stuart International, Mint Collaborative Inc., Tom’s Sons International Pleating LLC and Zoila’s Sample Room are among the 47 companies benefiting from the third round.

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At this point, A Common Thread has raised more than $5 million and has distributed more than $4.5 million to 128 businesses.

The global pandemic shutdown, extended temporary store closures, retail bankruptcies, furloughs and layoffs have drastically impacted manufacturing. Some apparel companies have responded to the situation with on-demand business models. The need to strengthen domestic manufacturing across various sectors is also a political topic, and one that President Trump and his opponent for Vice President Joseph Biden agree on. Last year, Trump signed an official proclamation to acknowledge National Manufacturing Day.

The CFDA’s commitment to manufacturing included the establishment of FMI in 2013 with the NYCEDC and industry leaders and founding partners like Andrew Rosen and Ralph Lauren, among others. Over the past six years of the FMI, the CFDA and NYCEDC have jointly invested more than $3 million in 33 New York City-based manufacturers, largely to acquire advanced technology, provide associated training, promote locally made fashion through designer-retailer collaborations and other efforts. Last year, FMI was expanded into a $14 million public-private partnership.

Given the number of manufacturers that are in need of financial support due to the economic strains caused by COVID-19, the CFDA and the NYCEDC have set up the Workforce Relief Collective, a new business development program. It will distribute low to no-cost products and services to New York City-based manufacturers to help keep employees safe and healthy as they continue to return to work. Resources related to transportation, and health and safety are being made possible from such partners as the ride sharing service Lyft and the eco-friendly cleaning essentials from Blueland. In addition to Lyft ride credits and a three-month supply of Blueland surface cleaning products, the selected manufacturers may receive masks, face shields, digital thermometers and other products that are being sourced on need.

Applications are being accepted for the Workforce Relief Collective through Oct. 14 at 11 a.m. EST. To be eligible, companies need to have been in business and generating revenue for at least one year with annual revenue under $10 million. Companies must be contract manufacturers that specialize in the development, sampling and production of garments, accessories and/or jewelry for well-known or established fashion brands. Brands with in-house production cannot apply.

The NYCEDC’s president and ceo James Patchett said, “As New York City looks toward recovery, investments in the fashion and manufacturing industry are integral in building on New York City’s core strengths.”

The CFDA’s third Manufacturing Day-inspired effort is a guide for its Production Directory. Introduced in 2013, the directory is a resource that now has more than 270 businesses featured on it. The guide will help companies to narrow the search, to explore that narrowed search and contact their best matches. Categories now have custom filters. Price points, for example, can be classified by better, budget, bridge, moderate, contemporary, designer and couture.

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