12 New York fashion companies receive FMI grants – WWD

As US apparel brands and retailers become more open to shifting some manufacturing overseas to domestic resources, the Council of Fashion Designers of America and the New York City Economic Development Corporation awarded the Fashion Manufacturing Initiative 2022 grants.

The FMI Grant Fund is an anchor in the CFDA and NYCEDC Fashion Manufacturing Initiative, launched in 2013 to empower and sustain citywide fashion manufacturers. As in previous years, the latest edition focuses on strengthening the fashion manufacturing sector in New York City. To date, nearly $4 million has been allocated across the five districts, with nearly $460,000 in grants awarded this year alone.

These funds are shared by a dozen grantees including Button Down Factory, Create a Marker, Design Incubator, Dyenamix, Etier, Fugitive Patterns, Hidden in Plain Sight Studio, In Style USA, Knit Illustrated, Knit Resort, LW Pearl and Bespoke Industry. Services offered by the companies include pattern making, marking, sorting, cutting and sewing, pattern embroidery and embellishment, fabric dyeing, knitwear service and laundering.

With the value of the global fashion industry at $1.7 trillion, the US fashion sector accounts for nearly $369.4 billion. Textile and apparel manufacturing in the States shows glints of light. US textile manufacturing output (measured by value added) was nearly $16.6 billion last year — a 23.8 percent increase from 2009. “Made in the USA” textiles and apparel are gaining in some high-tech categories on soil, e.g. B. medical textiles, protective clothing, special and industrial fabrics and nonwovens.

While the pandemic, inflation, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and other geopolitical issues have disrupted production and overseas shipping, some homegrown manufacturers, retailers, and designers are leveraging local resources. Giants like Walmart Inc. have made a case for domestic manufacturing in certain sectors. Earlier this month, the company announced the opening of a Classic Fashion factory in Santa Ana, California that will cut and sew garments for Walmart.

While veteran American designers like Yeohlee Teng, Tracy Reese, and Maria Cornejo have long championed the benefits of domestic manufacturing, up-and-coming designers like Jackson Wiederhoeft of Wiederhoeft and Tanner Richie and Fletcher Kassel of Tanner Fletcher have also addressed the importance of supporting local resources .

Half of the scholarship holders will receive funds from the FMI Grant Fund for the first time. Additionally, women-owned businesses account for 75 percent of recipients and minority-owned businesses account for 50 percent. In previous years, FMI grants have averaged eight recipients, making this year’s group of 12 the most offered. More than 120 jobs will be affected by the grants in the beneficiaries’ companies.

Recipient services include pattern and pattern development, cutting and sewing, knitwear service, embellishment/embroidery, fabric dyeing, printing and washing, and marking and sorting. Criteria considered for the scholarship winners included sustainability, diversity, equity, inclusion, community and workforce impact, and overarching business capability. Financial audits and social compliance audits addressed issues such as workers’ health, safety and wages.

Create a Marker’s Paul Cavazza emphasized that with technology constantly changing, it is imperative that his company keeps up with the latest versions of technology, software and programs. “Factories, not just in the Garment District, are not updating their technology. They keep the same machines and the same techniques that were used 20 and 30 years ago.”

A strong technology advocate, Cavazza frequently attends apparel related technology fairs such as Techtextil in Frankfurt, Germany to keep up to date for its grading and marking pattern service. With 7,500 square feet and approximately 28 employees, Create a Marker has received a $75,000 grant. The company will update its software, hire more employees, buy scanners, offer new services and buy two Gerber MP plotters (leading speed machines that print similar to a blueprint).

“Domestic production has definitely increased as customers reassess production abroad,” he said, a change that began during the pandemic.

Calli Roche, owner and chief pattern maker of Fugitive Patterns, runs her two-year-old company from Brooklyn, New York. Aside from a sister who acts as managing director when she can and a part-time assistant, Roche operates as a virtual one-person operation and aims to leverage patternmaking for sustainability efforts, slow fashion and fit improvement. The FMI grant will be used to upgrade the company’s software with bespoke software, which will increase its capabilities and reach, particularly in relation to faster creation of digital custom samples for designers.

Although rarely talked about in fashion circles, pattern making is an important part of the design process. That’s especially true for those working in New York trying to manufacture on a smaller scale or design a well-fitting garment that reinforces the creator’s concept, Roche said. “It gives designers a much more hands-on experience that’s more intuitive and organic. And in my opinion the product comes closer to the original idea.”

Brooklyn-based Fugitive Patterns is among this year’s recipients. Here is a muslin for SP_CE Studios seen in a fitting.

Photo courtesy of Fugitive Patterns

Looking to the future, she plans to develop a new rating system to give small designers, home seamstresses and pattern makers the opportunity to have custom patterns made to their specific body measurements. This online service will be more of a one-stop pattern than mass-produced patterns that Fugitive Patterns makes on a regular basis, Roche said.

The CFDA and NYCEDC have previously joined forces on other fronts such as: B. workplace-related initiatives, relocation grants and the CFDA.com production directory. They had also partnered to provide FMI grants through A Common Thread and the Workforce Relief Collective to provide financial and personal protective equipment support to businesses and workers affected by the pandemic.

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