The CFDA to Leave the Garment District

steven kolb
Photo: Patrick McMullan
CFDA CEO Steven Kolb says the CFDA is not abandoning the Garment District.

The Garment District is the heart of the fashion industry in New York City, but soon, that industry’s governing body will be packing up and moving downtown.

The Council of Fashion Designers of America has just signed a lease on a new office space at 65 Bleecker Street in Nolita, Women’s Wear Daily reports. The organization is expected to move from its current offices at 1412 Broadway (at 39th Street), where it’s been for 15 years, this summer.

“We are busting out of the seams,” CFDA CEO Steven Kolb told WWD of his current space. “We can’t have any significant meetings here. Given the fact our lease is up next year and we have outgrown it, we started looking.

“Our intention was to look heavily [in the Garment District], and we considered buildings in the Garment District significantly in our search,” he said. “The criteria by which we were finding space was ultimately based not on neighborhood, but what the best space for a functioning office for the CFDA was.”

Of course, that explanation isn’t enough for some designers who’ve been active in the Save the Garment Center initiative, which aims to preserve the neighborhood as the center of the industry.

“We are extremely disappointed by the CFDA’s decision to leave the Garment Center,” said Nanette Lepore. “We only hope this does not signal the end of their previous support for New York City manufacturing and emerging American designers.”

Kolb’s response? “When you look at the CFDA, we’re not a design house and we’re not a manufacturer. We are a foundation. The proximity to the neighborhood in terms of factories and suppliers is less important to the CFDA … We are not abandoning anything. Our commitment stays strong.”