NYC's Biggest Fashion Week Ever to Generate $385 Million For City Economy

New York City’s biggest Fashion Week ever will generate more than $385 million for the most populous U.S. city’s economy, according to Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Fashion Week, which takes place semi-annually, officially begins tomorrow at Lincoln Center’s Damrosch Park and ends Sept. 16. The event may attract more than 115,000 visitors to the city, Bloomberg said today at a news briefing.

“Fashion is critical to New York City’s future,” Bloomberg said, wearing a dark suit from Brooklyn-based Martin Greenfield Clothiers and reading from an Apple Inc. iPad. Event visitors will account for more than $233 million in direct spending in the city, which is home to more than twice as many fashion houses as any other in the world, the mayor said.

New York’s fashion and related retail industries support 175,000 jobs and pump $10 billion into the economy each year, Bloomberg said. Half of New York’s visitors say shopping is their “primary activity” during their stay, according to NYC & Co., the city’s marketing and tourism organization.

This season’s Fashion Week is the biggest ever, with more than 325 designers showcasing their styles at venues around Manhattan, according to event producer IMG Fashion Worldwide. More than 95 will be under the umbrella of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, up from 75 in 2009, and 230 will present in other venues.

On Sept. 10, about 1,100 stores will remain open until 11 p.m. as part of Fashion’s Night Out, designed to support retailers in all five New York boroughs, according to Tiffany Townsend of NYC & Co. That’s up from 800 participants last year.

Moved From Bryant

IMG Fashion, based in New York, signed a five-year agreement last year to move the event to the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts at West 65th Street and Broadway. The center offers 87,000 square feet of outdoor space, according to a statement from the mayor’s office.

Started in 1943, the event was held in Bryant Park, adjacent to the New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street, from 1993 until this year, according to the New York City Economic Development Corp.

Nongovernment jobs in New York rose 1.1 percent to about 3.13 million in July, according to the state Labor Department, pushing the unemployment rate down to 9.4 percent. About 158,000 people worked in city apparel manufacturing and related trades as well as in clothing and accessory retailing, the data show.

“Future months will likely bring more gains in retail, as large discounter chains continue to announce store openings and developers move forward with new retail projects,” said James Brown, a department spokesman, in an Aug. 19 e-mail.

New York’s gross city product increased by about 0.9 percent to an estimated $602 billion in the fourth quarter of 2009, ending seven straight declines, according to city Comptroller John Liu. He estimated the gain capped a year in which economic output fell about 3 percent.

The mayor is founder and majority owner of Bloomberg News parent Bloomberg LP.

To contact the reporter on this story: Esmé E. Deprez in New York at edeprez@bloomberg.net;

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