Made in Midtown: Why Creative Industries Matter to NYC

This morning my organization, the Design Trust for Public Space, a nonprofit devoted to improving New York City's public realm, and the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), launched, an inside look at the Garment District, the heart of American fashion. Featuring videos, comics, maps, diagrams, and written profiles of people at every level of the fashion industry (including several pieces that have appeared on this site), our research shows what makes the Garment District essential to New York's fashion industry--and why it matters to all New Yorkers.

For several years now, the City of New York has been working with many groups in the area to plan for the future of the Garment District, the hole in the donut of Midtown development. The outcome of this process could transform the neighborhood and the industry. Made in Midtown provides the City and the general public with an accessible and nuanced portrait of what the Garment District is today in order to help shape the vision of what it should become in the future.

We think one of the best ways to experience the project--to hear stories of designers who rely on the hundreds of factories and suppliers in the Garment District, to get a behind-the-scenes look at how clothes are made locally, and to understand what makes the neighborhood unique--is to watch a short video entitled "Why The Garment District Matters." It's less than five minutes long, but we think it speaks volumes about what creative industries mean to New York City.

Made in Midtown: Proximity from Design Trust for Public Space on Vimeo.

Ultimately, our project is about much more than fashion. It's about one of the last neighborhoods in Manhattan that has not yet been remade by recent waves of new development. It's about jobs and immigrant workers. It's about the decisions City officials make to support certain kinds of businesses and land-use development, whether it's baseball stadiums, high-rise condominiums, or factories. Made in Midtown is about what kind of City we want New York to be--we think it should continue to be a place that promotes creative industries of all kinds, including fashion.

What do you think? A city should express the values of people who live and work there. We want to hear your thoughts about the future of the Garment District and other working neighborhoods like it. We hope you'll join us June 3 at our Made in Midtown pop-up exhibit for the website, or online in the comments section of

On Thursday, June 3, the Design Trust and CFDA will host a one-day Made in Midtown exhibit at the Fashion Center/Times Square Pop-Up Space in the Port Authority Bus Terminal. The exhibit will include a display of locally designed garments, an interactive map and large-scale video projections.