New York Fashion Week Highlights Safe Economic Reopening and Recovery of America’s Fashion Capital 

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced a partnership with IMG to implement a $500,000 grant program to assist small, independent fashion designers with grants of $50,000 each to offset certain costs of their New York Fashion Week show productions for the September 2022 season. IMG will implement and manage an application process for a selection of ten grant recipients based on a set of criteria developed by IMG in partnership with Empire State Development.  

“Fashion Week is a celebration of New York’s role as the fashion capital of the world, drawing and inspiring an unparalleled array of creative talent,” Governor Hochul said. “As we make our comeback from the pandemic, it is essential that we prioritize the recovery of one of New York’s most exciting and dynamic industries. By partnering with New York’s best small and independent designers we are strengthening our economy and supporting vibrant development in this crucial industry.”    

The grant program will help support the vibrant return of the New York fashion industry post-COVID-19, attract and retain New York’s fashion talent, and enable more small and independent New York-based designers to participate in recovery efforts. The opportunity to debut new collections to buyer, media, industry and consumer audiences powers the continued success of fashion designers’ businesses in America’s fashion capital.

The public and private sectors are working together to support small businesses impacted while restoring and creating new jobs for New Yorkers. The fashion, retail and creative industries together represent a key economic engine for New York State that has been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic New York City’s fashion industry employed 4.6 percent of the city’s workforce, generating approximately $11 billion in total wages. The Governor attended the Proenza Schouler show on Friday, February 11 to highlight the industry’s contributions to the state economy.     

Empire State Development Acting Commissioner and President & CEO-designate Hope Knight said, “New York City is the creative soul, and economic engine, of the fashion industry. Governor Hochul’s partnership with IMG to implement this grant program will give a group of small, independent designers access to the runway during Fashion Week, that in turn will support an entire network of creators and businesses, from tailors to support staff, who are at the vital heart of New York’s signature style.”    

President of IMG’s Fashion Events and Properties Leslie Russo said, “We are grateful to Governor Hochul and New York State for their continued partnership in our initiatives to support the New York fashion community. Our state exemplifies leadership in the global recovery of the COVID-19 pandemic, and it is because of their guidance that we have been able to help the industry rebuild after the devastating impact of the last two years. Collaborating with Empire State Development will further diversify the voices of New York Fashion Week and ensure we continue to foster new generations of talent and represent American fashion on the global fashion stage for years to come. 

In September 2021, IMG formed the Fashion Alliance to create a cornerstone for New York Fashion Week’s revitalization in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and provide support, funding, and resources for a group of New York Fashion Week’s independent designer brands through 2022. This new grant funded by New York State will help to provide additional support to more independent designers based in New York.  

New York Fashion Week: The Shows takes place this season from February 11-16, live from Spring Studios in lower Manhattan, and is the official central event of New York Fashion Week. Proof of full-course COVID-19 vaccination, including via Excelsior Pass, Excelsior Pass Plus or alternate verification methods, is required at all NYFW: The Shows events this February.  

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