The women-led design manufacturer New York Embroidery Studio has signed a new lease for a space at the Brooklyn Army Terminal where it will make personal protective equipment for frontline health care workers across the country.

According to a press release from the New York City Economic Development Corporation, NYES will bring 500 on-site jobs to 80,000-square-feet space the manufacturer has taken over.

NYES Owner Michelle Feinberg, who founded the studio in 2001, said it had been manufacturing in the garment center for over 30 year, and she was “totally committed to growing the apparel industrial base here in NYC.”

“Additionally, we want to bring high fashion’s drive for innovation and quality to PPE manufacturing, by developing novel and sustainable products for our clients.” 

When it started, NYES offered embellishment and specialized services and skills in fashion manufacturing for the likes of Tory Burch, Thom Browne, Coach, Ralph Lauren, and Alexander Wang, as well as small and emerging New York City-based brands like Kerby Jean-Raymond.

At the height of the pandemic, NYES pivoted from high fashion to making PPE, with Feinberg and her team prototyping and making more than 590,000 hospital gowns in nine weeks, while also keeping hundreds of New Yorkers employed when the city’s economy was shut down, NYCEDC said. Due to NYES’ focus on eco-friendly production methods to reduce waste and the city’s carbon footprint, it developed an innovative biodegradable isolation gown given that medical equipment is typically not biodegradable.

In the coming months, NYES will be fitting out the large-scale operation center at BAT, and the company has committed to working with minority- and women-owned businesses to build out the space, NYCEDC said.

NYCEDC President and CEO Andrew Kimball said local production of PPE was essential to the city’s health care workers and the city as a whole, to make sure “are always prepared.”

“We must be forward-thinking as we address our city’s future pandemic preparedness,” Kimball said.

“NYCEDC is proud to support a local, women-led small business, like New York Embroidery Studio, with a new state-of-the-art space in the Brooklyn Army Terminal, to help them meet their PPE quotas and ensure the equipment is made in America.” 

Mayor Eric Adams said the announcement built on his new “Rebuild, Renew, Reinvent: A Blueprint for NYC’s Economic Recovery” plan, which aims to accelerate the return to pre-pandemic employment levels, while laying the foundation for the city’s economic future by addressing historic injustices and reimagining ways of doing business.

“One week after announcing my administration’s economic recovery plan, I am proud to show New Yorkers that we are getting to work and creating jobs in our city,” Adams said.

“Small and minority- and women-owned businesses must be at the core of an inclusive and equitable economic recovery, and I am proud to honor Women’s History Month by supporting NYES and women entrepreneurs in all five boroughs.”

Anna Bradley-Smith

Anna Bradley-Smith is Brooklyn-based reporter with bylines in NBC, VICE, Slate and others. Follow her on Twitter @annabradsmith.

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