Senator Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY) is heading to the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) today to host a round-table discussion with 30 members of the NYC fashion industry.
According to WWD, the meeting will consist of a two-hour brainstorming session and discussion with designers like Nanette Lepore, Elie Tahari, Rachel Roy and Prabal Gurung, as well as CFDA executive director Steven Kolb, Lord & Taylor CEO and president Brendan Hoffman and Madelyn Wills of the New York City Economic Development Corporation.
A spokesperson for the senator said that Gillibrand "wants to support the fashion industry as a whole so that New York remains the fashion capital of the world." Thus, topics on the docket for today include job creation and economic growth, the access to capital for small businesses and, presumably, the Innovative Design Protection & Piracy Act, a unanimously-passed bill co-sponsored by Gillibrand last year that is now being re-introduced to the new Congress.
Gillibrand's efforts have reinforced her position that the fashion industry in NYC serves as the heart of a significant component to the state's economy and beyond, having participated in Fashion's Night Out in September, and commissioned Nanette Lepore to design New York-centric campaign T-shirts for her 2010 run after hearing the designer-activist speak about the fight to save the Garment District.
Creating a sustainable design and manufacturing community in the city isn't necessarily new, but the presence of politicians entering the mix is a reminder that fashion is about more than pretty clothes: It's a crucial part of the city's livelihood, with ripple effects into the nation at large.