With Fashion Week only a few days away, a flood of big-name designers are relocating from their long-time midtown home. Oscar de la Renta, Vera Wang and Alice + Olivia have all announced plans to leave the Garment District in the past month, according to DNAinfo. The news comes as a further blow to the languishing Garment District, which the city has been trying to rezone for years in fits and starts.
Whether this latest exodus spells a death knell for the district is unclear. Some buildings are hanging on while others languish. But just because the big names are leaving does not mean the next-big-thing is not poised to replace them.
Other designers are reportedly thinking about switching locations, including Coach. Some say it’s because the neighborhood is under threat from the possibility of changes in zoning restrictions, a debate that has come up frequently the past several years. [snip]
“In general, the retail mix within the Fashion District has continued to change over the years with storefronts occupied by more retail and service-oriented stores, and fewer wholesale fashion businesses,” a spokesperson for the Fashion Center Business Improvement District said in a statement, also citing a decrease in Fashion Industry employees over the years. [snip]
“At a certain capacity, it makes sense for them, it’s a kind of natural evolution for them,” the Design Trust for Public Space Director of Programs, Jerome Chou, said about established designers looking for bigger retail spaces. “But for every designer that leaves there’s many more emerging that need the Garment District space. There’s a constant cycle of new designers coming in,” he added. “That’s what makes New York City the fashion capital of the world — new talent.”
Where’s Tim Gunn when you need him?