Made in Midtown

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The Made in Midtown website is live! Explore it now.

A short pamphlet highlighting the major findings and activities for this project is now available. View it now (PDF).

Related Project
Making Midtown will generate a roadmap to support fashion design and manufacturing, and guide future development in the Garment District

Jordan Alport, filmmaker

Glen Cummings, graphic designer

Interboro, architects

Tom Vanderbilt, writer

Sarah Williams, urban planner



Video Equipment Provided By


"Made in Midtown debunks a lot of myths about this industry. So many people I interact with say, 'The New York fashion industry has nothing to do with Midtown any longer, it's gone, it's merely a shell.' That is simply not true."
  - Tim Gunn, Chief Creative Officer, Liz Claiborne, Inc.

In 2007 the Bloomberg administration announced it would consider changing the zoning that protects garment manufacturing space in Midtown Manhattan's Garment District. Local property owners, city officials, and fashion industry representatives met for two years but could not agree on a proposal for moving forward.

In 2009 the Design Trust partnered with the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) to produce Made in Midtown, an open-ended, independent study of the value of the Garment District to the fashion industry and to the city as a whole.

Made in Midtown illustrated how the proximity of factories, suppliers and skilled artisans in the Garment District enables innovation, incubates new businesses and provides thousands of working and middle-class jobs. Research findings were presented in the form of an interactive, multi-media website ( featuring videos, comics, maps, diagrams, and written profiles of people at every level in the fashion industry. Made in Midtown revealed that today's Garment District has evolved from being a center of mass production into the fashion start-up capital of the world— a research and development hub that incubates new talent and fosters innovation.
Since launching in June 2010, the Made in Midtown website has been viewed by more than 10,000 visitors. The Design Trust leveraged the website's impact with a month-long calendar of activities, including a press conference and a pop-up exhibit inside a Garment District storefront, as well as a series of public panel discussions with the Municipal Art Society.

The June 14, 2010 issue of Crain's New York credits Made in Midtown as the tipping point in the city's decision to shelve re-zoning plans for the Garment District: "Word of the city's move [to shelve a rezoning proposal] follows a study released this month by the Design Trust for Public Space. Instead of describing the garment center as a relic of a bygone industrial age, the new report bills it as a thriving and hugely productive research-and-development hub for high-end fashion."

Made in Midtown shifted debates about the District to focus on its competitive advantages: its central location, transportation access, unique architecture, and light industrial cluster. The next phase of this initiative, called Making Midtown, will convene all stakeholders—industry, neighborhood and city representatives—to generate a roadmap that will support fashion design and manufacturing and guide future development in the Garment District.

Project Activities Made in Midtown Events
The Design Trust awarded five fellowships to private sector professionals to work collaboratively on Made in Midtown: a journalist, filmmaker, graphic designer, urban planner and architects. The fellows analyzed more than 20 years of city, state, and federal data and interviewed over 70 fashion industry and neighborhood stakeholders in order to create all the rich material, maps, diagrams, and personal profiles featured on the Made in Midtown website.

Made in Midtown Pop-Up Exhibit
June 2-3, 2010
Fashion Center/Times Square Pop-Up Space

The Design Trust partnered with the Fashion Center BID to create this two-day exhibit featuring:
  –garments made by top designers who work   and/or produce in the District, as well as   artifacts from every stage of production
  –screenings of the 11 videos created for Made in   Midtown
  –computer kiosks allowing vistors to explore   the Made in Midtown website
  –hundreds of newsprint project summaries   designed to resemble the popular dailies AM New   York and Metro, which were distributed to   passersby
  –lunchtime and evening presentations of the   project's findings by Design Trust staff and   fellows

The Design Trust partnered with the Municipal Art Society to host two panel discussions about Made in Midtown and the future of the Garment District:

"Made in Midtown: The Garment District Today & Tomorrow"
June 8, 2010
Moderator: Tim Gunn
Panelists: Sarah Crean, New York Industrial Retention Network; Deborah Marton, Design Trust for Public Space; Michael Meola, Encher Consulting; Yeohlee Teng, YEOHLEE; Madelyn Wils, NYC Economic Development Corporation

"Urban Creative Districts"
June 15, 2010
Moderator: Deborah Marton, Design Trust for Public Space
Panelists: Simon Collins, Parsons The New School for Design; Fred Dust, IDEO; Harvey Molotch, NYU; Andrew Oshrin, Milly; Sarah Williams, Columbia University Spatial Information Design Lab

Press Coverage Exclusive Huffington Post Series
The Architect's Newspaper (Sept. 24, 2009)
The Business of Fashion (April 29, 2010)
Crain's New York (June 14, 2010)
Fast Company (June 6, 2010)
Huffington Post (June 9, 2010)
Metro (June 3, 2010)
NBC New York (June 2, 2010)
New York magazine (April 29, 2010)
The Cut, New York magazine (June 9, 2010)
The New York Times (April 28, 2010)
NY1 (June 2, 2010)
The Observer (April 29, 2010) (June 9, 2010)
Treehugger (June 1, 2010)
Urban Omnibus (Oct. 22, 2009)
WNYC (June 8, 2010)
Women's Wear Daily:
  - Sept. 24, 2009
  - Jan. 26, 2010
  - March 22, 2010

"Exploring Midtown's Urban Fabric" (03.04.10)
"Made in Midtown: Meet Ramdat Harihar" (03.11.10)
"Made in Midtown: Meet Shelly Steffee" (03.18.10)
"Made in Midtown: Meet Andrew Rosen" (03.25.10)
"Made in Midtown: Meet In God We Trust" (04.05.10)
"Made in Midtown: Meet Anna Sui" (04.12.10)
"Made in Midtown: Meet Jason Wu" (04.26.10)
"Made in Midtown: Meet Ron Frasch" (05.25.10)
"Made in Midtown: Why Creative Industries Matter" (06.02.10)

Special Thanks  
Yeohlee Teng
Award-winning designer Yeohlee Teng established her house, YEOHLEE Inc., in 1981. Ms. Teng provided invaluable assistance demonstrating the complex process of garment production, illuminating the fashion ecosystem and introducing team members to fashion industry stakeholders throughout the city.

Joerg Scwartz
Joerg Schwartz is an independent architect practicing in New York City since 1985. Mr. Schwartz worked closely with the CFDA to develop the project concept, assisted with the 2009 survey of 101 buildings within the Garment District's Preservation Areas, and provided insight as a designer and critic at every stage of the project's evolution.

© 2012 Design Trust for Public Space, 40 Worth Street, Suite 603, New York NY 10013  212.695.2432