Sunset Park

Made in New York Campus at Bush Terminal announces first major tenant at Garment Hub

February 15, 2022 Jaime DeJesus
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Slow Factory Combines Climate Activism With Plant-Based Leather, Recycling

The Made in New York (MiNY) Campus at Bush Terminal will add its first brick-and-mortar tenant, Slow Factory, to its new Garment Manufacturing Hub.

Mayor Eric Adams and the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) made the announcement on Tuesday, Feb. 15, during New York Fashion Week.

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According to its website, Slow Factory, a nonprofit, is “a Climate School and Lab advancing climate justice and social equity through regenerative design, open education and materials innovation.” It seeks to change sustainability practices in the fashion industry.

A rendering of the Made in NY Campus at Bush Terminal. Rendering courtesy of nARCHITECTS and W Architecture & Landscape Architecture

At the MiNY Campus, it will establish a dedicated multidisciplinary institute, which will include educational programming, workforce training, a product studio, and a research and development lab. The programming will be integrated with Slow Factory Labs, a physical manufacturing facility for regenerative material innovation that focuses on their plant-based leather, Slowhide. 

In addition, Slow Factory Labs will focus on design for disassembly, which will allow designers to work from thousands of pounds of discarded clothes, returned goods and textile wastes. 

“New York City was already the fashion capital of the United States, but the redevelopment and creation of new fashion jobs at the Made in NY Campus in Brooklyn will only solidify our place as the city of swagger,” said Adams. “Slow Factory’s opening at the Garment Hub in Sunset Park will help create hundreds of fashion jobs onsite and bring tens of millions of dollars of direct economic output to New York City.”

The MiNY Garment Hub plans to create 460 fashion jobs onsite and train 500 people. It will bring in an estimated $57 million in direct economic output to New York City and sustainability and green manufacturing in the district.

“Reducing fashion’s carbon footprint is not only trendsetting, but necessary in the fight against climate change,” said NYCEDC President and CEO Rachel Loeb. “Slow Factory will build on Sunset Park’s strong foundation of garment manufacturing and green innovation with cutting edge solutions and meaningful workforce development that puts New York City on a path to strengthen, grow and change the manufacturing industry for the better.”

EDC stated that Slow Factory also plans to open the Slow Factory Institute, which will be the home to the Slow Factory’s “Open Edu” program. It is a free and accessible education series on climate justice, climate solutions and climate-positive design. 

Construction work on the Slow Factory at the Made in New York (MiNY) Campus at Bush Terminal. Photo courtesy of Slow Factory

Slow Factory Executive Director Céline Semaan said the school “presents a revolutionary opportunity to offer a pragmatic, future-oriented curriculum in Sunset Park.”

“We are working diligently to fill a critical educational gap that focuses on climate justice and human rights, while creating a community hub for education and skills training,” she said.

Local elected officials welcomed Slow Factory coming to the neighborhood. 

“Sunset Park is an environmental justice community to its core and that is why it is so important to have Slow Factory’s focus on sustainable fashion and racial equity lead the Garment Manufacturing Hub,” said U.S. Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-Brooklyn). “The path to reducing climate change runs straight through neighborhoods like Sunset Park, and the Garment Hub ought to stand as a model for communities across the country to create sustainable products.”

“The Garment Hub will help train the next generation of workers and help create jobs for New Yorkers,” U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-Brooklyn-Manhattan) said. “I look forward to seeing this project reach out to the community for job training and workforce development, and I fully support these efforts.”

“Our district has a long history in these fields, and we hope their arrival will support and help sustain these efforts in the years to come,” said Councilmember Alexa Aviles (D-Sunset Park-Red Hook). “We expect to work closely with Slow Factory and all partners to create career pathways that connect residents to jobs on our working waterfront, for local residents and especially youth of color that extends all the way into leadership roles.”

Back in 2019, EDC selected the Brooklyn-based nARCHITECTS and W Architecture & Landscape Architecture to design the garment production hub at the new Made in NY campus at Bush Terminal, where the city is spending $136 million to create a center for fashion, film and television.

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