The Parsons panel discussion took place yesterday morning downtown at the Milk Studios, hosting truly inspiring people from the fashion industry. Both Adrian Wilson and I (Daniel) went as guests of Parsons as Andrew Rosen (Theory) Jeff Rudes (J Brand) Rogan Gregory, Stephanie Rosenbloom (NY Times Style reporter) and Tommy Hilfiger debate ‘what should we be doing’
The overall atmosphere at the panel was an interesting one, at some parts it felt as if the discussion was towards “what we are doing wrong” to how will the panel save the Garment District for future designers. Without a doubt Simon Collins is definitely pushing Parsons ahead of FIT, Pratt and others in addressing issues head on and preparing his students for the real fashion world.
One of the bigger ideas from the panel which came from Andrew Rosen was how we should establish a manufacturing center of excellence right in the Garment District.
Worth to mention Hilfiger was asked about the advise he recently gave his daughter Ally Hilfiger who is in the process of coming out with a new clothing line ‘Made For All Women‘.
“My advice to her was to manufacture in New York City, the same factory at 39th street where she currently manufactures everything – and once she becomes more established she can look elsewhere”.
Hilfiger said and added “There are great factories in New York City & Pennsylvania”.
When asked about the business aspect, Tommy said he learned everything by himself, here in New York City where he manufactured his first piece of clothing, and sold his first piece of clothing.
“Once I became much larger and price points became much more serious, we started manufacturing some of our clothes overseas, but a setup here in New York City is amazing. The designer can have the quick access to the line”.
Tommy started working in retail at the age of 18, he stated “I started with $150 way back. And I was constantly looking for someone to back me and because New York City has Wall Street it was great”.
The discussion took a little turn towards Fashion & Technology, there were even points made about the engagement of fashion & social media.
Hilfiger embraced Apple and gave an example
“If Apple applies themselves to our industry they have the ability of changing it. Think of the iPhone, FaceTime, think of what they’ve done. What we need is infusion with technology. That is what we need in our industry, people will then come to America to manufacture from the rest of the world”.
What should we be doing? That was the original title for the panel debate and as questions started pouring in from the crowd about investment relations to usage of social media one very memorable question came from Robert Savage, President of Nanette Lepore,
“All those who made fortune thanks to the Garment District should show their gratitude by committing to manufacture one small part of their line in NYC to keep the Garment District alive for future designers. Can the panel makes that commitment?”
He was not even done with his question, and everyone started clapping. But an answer? There wasn’t one. Hilfiger tried to answer it, suggesting it would make a great documentary film then we heard a voice coming from the crowd, it was Michelle Vale who said “There is one and we are making it right now” which is the time I realized there are cameras filming the event. t’s called ‘Making it in Manhattan’ and it’s coming out this September” Vale said.
Later on we caught up with the team and worry not we have a lot more information coming our way so stay tuned everyone.
But before we finish this post, I would like to encourage you to comment, share your point of view and tell us what you think should happen with the fashion industry.
Photo credit http://www.billyfarrellagency.com/