Fashionistas, politicians rally to save the Garment District

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From left: Garment district’s button and needle statue, Comptroller Bill Thompson

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Major players from both the fashion world and the New York political arena joined forces today at the Garment District’s button and needle statue in a rally to oppose changes to the area’s zoning laws. The district has historically been heavily populated by garment factories — the industry had 10,000 New York factories at its peak — but in recent years, office tenants willing to pay high rents have forced them out. Only 3,300 fashion tenants remain. Many established designers have since moved their production processes to China or India, but that isn’t an option for up-and-coming designers and students; fashion advocates say rezoning will stunt creativity and growth. The protestors, led by designer Nanette Lepore, included fashion advocates from City Council Speaker Christine Quinn to famed designer Elie Tahari to students to factory workers. Mayoral candidate and Comptroller William Thompson and Bruce Raynor, president of Workers United Union, each spoke. [Crain’s]

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