“Everyone had to be laid off furloughed,” said Debbie Rudoy, the Founder of a luxury clothier, Goldie Tees.
NYC Garment Center’s showrooms gear up for September sales of spring lines. In the last couple of decades, more and more sales were made at big trade shows, but COVID-19 forced cancelations. 67% of surveyed NYC garment businesses experienced layoffs or furloughs this, according to The Council of Fashion Designers of America, Inc. Several designers, manufacturers, and sales of casual clothes during the pandemic.
When COVID-19 hit New York’s Garment Industry hard,of Rudoy’s business, but wholesale took a huge hit. “Nobody’s making money this year,” said Elizabeth Courtney, a vice president at Findings Inc., “We’re gonna try to survive the best we can, do the best job that we can.”
Findings Inc. represented over a dozen designers and manufacturers and was saved by online retailers selling casual wear. “The phone was crazy and emails — ‘I need merch. I need merch.’ We were excited these stores needed fresh new products, and we’re trying to keep up because the factories had been closed,” said Courtney.
Many factories are starting to operate again, but the big trade shows where buyers can find what they want in one place, from wholesalers like Courtney and Rudoy, are all still canceled. “That means I have to look for a strong salesforce or showroom to represent me,” said Rudoy. “It’s very much like it was a long time ago … like old school.”
What Rudoy means is that Garment District is now starting to operate, in some ways, like it once did,brands for private showings of the latest designs without publicity. Gradually, over the last two decades, more and more sales were made at trade shows.
Sales Consultant andshowrooms are now preparing to make presentations in September for the spring season.
“The showrooms: reopening or showrooms expanding,” Gonzalez said. “I think it’s a significant turning point for the Garment Industry to make a tremendous comeback.” With some visitors to New York required to quarantine for 14 days, many of these presentations will continue to be done virtually, but these.
Herzenberg: “How do you sell a garment when no one can touch it?”
“Great point, great point,” responded Courtney. “We send out swatchbefore the appointment…so they can get a little versed … I’ll put it up to the camera, but there is that feeling of touch…that you’re right.” “You have the feel, and you must feel the quality and fit,” Gonzalez added. When the ends, those trade shows may return. But for now, the Garment District is enjoying a throwback moment, a return to the way things were.
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