Bland doesn’t intend for Manufacture NY to compete with New York’s legendary Garment District, of course. Rather, she sees the proposed space as both a complement and an extension to the existing infrastructure—the same one that made New York City one of the great fashion capitals of the world.

Bland envisions Manufacture NY working hand in hand with New York’s famed Garment District.

“I think they’ll work hand in hand together,” Bland told Ecouterre at a New York Fashion Week launch party that attracted the likes of fellow designers Gretchen Jones and Tara St. James. “I think you need both. That’s why Save the Garment Center is one of our supporters. They know that the Manhattan Garment Center will thrive more, the more designers bring production back to New York City. The only way to get designers, even major designers, back to New York is by creating that vibrant resource the way it used to be. We’ll never replace the Manhattan Garment Center, we’ll work with them.”

Provided everything goes according to plan, Manufacture NY is set to open in June, complete with—fingers crossed—a fully-equipped sampling room, manufacturing facilities, classroom spaces, private studios for rent, and a state-of-the art computer lab equipped with the latest design-and-production software.

One thing Bland is certain of, however, is the necessity of a place like Manufacture NY. “In the last two decades, the United States has lost 80 percent of its apparel manufacturing jobs, and the decline of the Garment District in NYC is a visible sign of these crippling loses,” she said. “There isn’t enough support available for emerging designers in the fashion industry currently. We need to join together as a community, engage the public, and use our collective voice to resurrect apparel manufacturing for a new generation.”

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