September 25, 2016
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Fashion Leaders Join Immigration Reform Group

NEW YORK - Partnership for a New American Economy founder and New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has today announced that eleven leading designers, retailers, wholesalers, and entrepreneurs from the fashion industry have joined the Partnership to make the case that sensible immigration reform will help American industry and grow the American economy. In New York City alone, the fashion industry supports employment for over 165,000 people, accounting for 5.5 percent of the City’s workforce and 31 percent of its manufacturing jobs. The immigration system as it exists now erects barriers to American companies through arbitrarily low caps on visas, unpredictable processing delays and inconsistent criteria for work-related visas. When the unpredictable visa process raises uncertainty and increases costs, businesses are more likely to move their work elsewhere. According to the fashion industry leaders joining the partnership, a predictable and stable visa process with more employment visas would greatly benefit the American fashion industry preserving and creating American jobs.

“Fashion is a perfect example of an industry that relies on talent from across the world,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “New York City is the fashion capital of the world, and that means thousands of jobs for our City – not only for models and designers, but also for seamstresses, deliverymen, clothing manufacturers and caterers. But if international fashion companies face too many visa problems in America, they will simply move their billions in revenue and thousands of jobs to our competitors overseas. We need an immigration strategy that supports our businesses, instead of getting in their way.”

“Fashion’s next great talent could be born anywhere in the world.” said Belgian-born Diane von Furstenberg, fashion designer and President of the Council of Fashion Designers of America. “America was built by immigrants – and if we want to stay the global leader in fashion, then America must continue to welcome immigrants who bring to the industry new ideas, new businesses, and new energy.”

“All too often, photo shoots in New York or elsewhere in America are cancelled or delayed because of visa problems,” said Faith Kates, Founder & Owner of Next Model Management. “When we cancel a shoot, it costs the companies thousands of dollars and is another lost job opportunity for photographers, stylists and associated staff who make the shoot possible.”

“The fashion industry is central to New York City’s economy, and without a talented workforce, it cannot grow,” said New York City Economic Development Corporation President Seth W. Pinsky. “From designers to manufacturers, our fashion workforce hails from around the world. It is, therefore, critical for this industry and our economy that we make it possible for people from around the world to come and live and work in New York City.”


The newest members of the Partnership for a New American Economy are:

· Saks Fifth Avenue;
· Brooks Brothers;
· Perry Ellis;
· Rent the Runway;
· Next Model Management;
· Designers & Agents;
· Diane von Furstenberg;
· Oscar de la Renta;
· Malia Mills;
· Financo; and
· Hilldun Corporation.

About Fashion, Immigration and the Economy:

· American fashion has always relied on international talent – Many leading American clothing companies were founded by immigrants including, Levi Strauss & Co., Guess, Nautica, Columbia Sportswear, New Era Caps and New Balance.
· The fashion industry generates revenue – In New York City, fashion generates $9 billion in total wages and $1.7 billion in tax revenues. Fashion Week alone generates $466 million in direct spending and $773 million in total economic impact every year.
· New Yorka’s fashion brings people from all over the world – New York City is home to one of the world’s largest wholesale fashion markets, accounting for more than 500,000 visits per year to its trade shows, showrooms and retail stores.
· The next fashion leaders come from around the world - Last year, New York City in partnership with the Council of Fashion Designers of America launched an incubator space to support the next generation of fashion designers in New York City. After a rigorous selection process, 7 of the 12 selected fashion designers were foreign-born.

About the Partnership:

The Partnership for a New American Economy brings together a bipartisan group of over 150 business leaders from all sectors of the economy and mayors from all parts of the country to make the economic case for immigration reform.
The Partnership believes that to compete in the 21st-century global economy, America needs an immigration system that secures our borders and attracts and keeps the best, brightest and hardest working from around the world. The Partnership believes that to keep the American economy the most competitive in the world, Washington needs to develop a smarter immigration strategy.

The Partnership’s Co-Chairs are Steven A. Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft Corporation; Robert Iger, President and CEO, Walt Disney Co.; J.W. Marriott, Jr., Chairman and CEO of Marriott International, Inc.; Jim McNerney, Chairman, President and CEO of Boeing; Rupert Murdoch, Chairman, CEO and Founder of News Corporation; Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York; Mayor Julián Castro of San Antonio; Mayor Phil Gordon of Phoenix; Mayor Michael Nutter of Philadelphia; and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa of Los Angeles.


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