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NYC Wants to Revitalize the Garment District

NYC Wants to Revitalize the Garment District
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New York City hopes to draw fashion designers back to the Garment District with the NYC Fashion Production Fund.

New York City's Garment District was the center of fashion production and bustling with activity in the mid-1900's.

"The streets were dense with people," says Columbia Professor of Historic Preservation Andrew Dolkart. "There must have been this incredible dynamic life. It was basically the lifeblood of the city."

But Dolkart says due to sky high rents and rising labor costs, designers left the Garment District to make their products in China. The city now wants to change this trend. That's why the New York City Economic Development Corporation recently launched its NYC Fashion Production Fund. The EDC's Eric Johnson says it awards loans to help with production costs.

"This is really about supporting designers citywide," Johnson says. "Through these loans, more business gets channeled to the factories that are in New York. De facto, a lot of those will be in the Garment District." 

Designer Karolina Zmarlak was one of the first to receive a loan. The production of her clothing is all done in the Garment District.

"The industry and the business community, to have their support, really makes us grow from an emerging young designer company into someone who hopefully gets to that next level," Karolina says. 

The EDC has so far doled out $200,000 of the $2 million fund.