One of the city's most iconic designers, Vera Wang, is leaving the Garment District and expanding into a much larger space near Madison Square Park, WWD reports.
The designer will reportedly trade her five-story, 25,000-square-foot headquarters on 39th Street for a significantly larger, 40,000-square-foot loft spread across only two floors at 15 East 26th Street this October. Wang, along with company president Mario Grauso, told the trade daily they sought natural light and greater efficiency within a 20-block radius of the current home, without any deliberate intention to leave the Garment District.
“I was just looking for space that would accommodate our growing design, management and sales areas,” Wang said. “What appealed to me about the office area was not only the additional square footage but the view as well. Having a nice view and an outdoors feeling is going to be a bonus. It is also a very private and intimate building which feels very appropriate for us.”
Also included in the streamlined layout will apparently be the bridal fittings facility, which is being moved from the uptown atelier. (Expect future celebrity bride-spotting to ensue downtown instead of uptown.)
Wang is the second established designer to trade in Garment District digs for bigger spaces outside the neighborhood -- Oscar de la Renta moved to 42nd Street in May -- which likely adds some fuel to the concerns of the industry's ongoing battle to keep its hub alive. Then again, it's understandable that heavyweights like Wang and de la Renta would venture outside the Garment District if larger spaces simply aren't available. And as Grauso himself told WWD, the new Wang offices are still pretty close to the Garment District: “We wouldn’t want to go too far because we do a lot of business with people in this area. It’s within walking distance if someone needs to run for fabric.”