Entrepreneurialism Weathers the Yearly Fashion Storms

Twice a year, in February and September, Bryant Park opens its doors for the biggest media flock in New York City – Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. Since 2010, it’s been housed at the world renowned Lincoln Centre and remains one of the four major fashion weeks held worldwide, along with Paris, Milan and London. This event provides top designers the ultimate stage to catch the eye of thousands of industry insiders, from buyers, editors and retailers to celebrities and other VIP. 

The semi-annual fashion weeks include more than 500 fashion shows, attract 232,000 total attendees each year and even more impressively, generate an economic impact of $865 million on NYC! Mayor Michael Bloomberg claims the strength of NYC’s fashion industry “has always been its spirit of entrepreneurship”. Being entrepreneurial is synonymous with being a risk-taker, being innovative, being able to assess a market and its characteristics and in essence, being willing to dive right in.

ORC’s Social Buzz data shows NYFW being mentioned every 14 seconds between September 6th and 13th, with 20% of posts online including the word “innovative”. Being affiliated with that word is what get individuals and corporations alike, up in the morning and keep them up at night. We see it a lot with our clients who use ORC insight to help stay ahead of the curve, innovate and differentiate. But no matter what, it’s a tough crowd these days and those smart companies who are informed and effectively fulfill a need emerge on top.

The fashion industry accounts for 5.7% of the city’s workforce and generates nearly $2 billion in tax revenue annually. In 2010, Mayor Bloomberg and the city’s Economic Development Corporation launched “FashionNYC2020”, which in summary was a strategic look at the challenges facing the fashion industry. More than 500 industry professionals were surveyed and the results were used to develop six initiatives: the Fashion Production Fund, Project Pop-Up, Fashion Draft NYC, Fashion Campus NYC, NYC Fashion Fellows and Design Entrepreneurs NYC. Each program provides unique multi-faceted opportunities for the city to solidify its position as the global leader in fashion.

Taking a look at Project Pop-Up in particular, 11 new tech enterprises were awarded with business mentoring, support and demonstration space to help them connect with the small businesses of fashion. Perch Interactive was started on the idea that 67% of shoppers who touch sample goods go on to purchase them in-store. Their retail display technology is helping fashion, footwear and accessories retailers connect with a highly distracted audience. FashionGPS uses barcode scanning technology to track and manage product samples sent to media outlets in order to improve the PR workflow chain. The way things currently operate results in lost merchandise and missed opportunities, so this startup allows for better coordination of who has what samples for promotion and how the fashion media is using them. Acustom allows customers to book online for a personalized fitting in their showroom in order to have clothing tailor made to each shopper’s personal body measurements. This gives small businesses a competitive advantage over the online retailers since it provides the assurance that items purchased will fit well and look good. These initiatives demonstrate business and market expansion at its finest.

The fashion industry is subject to go wherever the wind of the masses blows. And NYC continues to demonstrate success at weathering that windstorm.

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Categories: Consumer, Media & Entertainment

Author:Tameka Vasquez

Tameka is the Marketing Communications Coordinator at ORC International. ORC International is a leading global market research firm. We specialize in research related to Customer Equity, Employee Engagement, Business & Market Expansion and Product Development & Innovation. Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook!

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