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Fashion Week Arrives in New York, Bringing Designers, Fans, Money

  • Reuters

FILE - Photo shows Damrosch Park, in New York's Lincoln Center.

FILE - Photo shows Damrosch Park, in New York's Lincoln Center.

New York's biannual Fashion Week opens on Thursday bringing hundreds of millions of dollars to the city and outweighing the economic benefits of the U.S. Open, the Super Bowl or the New York City Marathon.

The scores of designer fashion shows, big-spending celebrity clients and lavish parties generate an annual economic impact of $887 million, according to a newly released analysis by the New York City Economic Development Corporation.

More than 230,000 people attend the February and September shows that unveil the coming season's designs, packing into hotels and restaurants and yielding an estimated $532 million in direct visitor spending, it said.

“That's a lot of jobs. That's a lot of money,” U.S. Representative Carolyn Maloney of New York said in announcing the results at a recent Fashion Week event.

About 180,000 people are employed in the fashion industry in New York, according to the study.

“It creates a climate where other people want to come to New York City,” said state Senator Brad Hoylman, whose district encompasses many fashion industry locations in Manhattan.

“There's something exciting about being in a city that values creativity,” he said.

The week's economic benefit tops the annual U.S. Open tennis tournament, which generates about $800 million, the 2014 Super Bowl in New Jersey that generated about $550 million and the New York City Marathon that generates $340 million, according to the report.

This week's shows include newcomers Thomas Wylde, a California-based designer popular with Hollywood actresses, and Norwegian designer Nina Skarra, whose environmentally conscious designs are worn by European celebrities.

In the works are two additional Fashion Weeks dedicated solely to menswear, said Steven Kolb, head of the Council of Fashion Designers of America. The first will be held July 13-16 and the other in January.

This Fashion Week, which concludes on Feb. 19, will be the last in which many main events are held in tents at Damrosch Park in Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in Manhattan.

Under settlement of a 2013 lawsuit over use of the park for commercial purposes, Fashion Week will need a new home after next week.

“They're working to find a new, cool, authentic space,” Kolb said.

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