Strengthening local manufacturing of natural fibre based textiles, reducing dependence on imports
Governor Kathy Hochul has signed legislation (S.8741A/A.9649A) to support New York’s textile manufacturing industry through economic development programs. These programs include expanding annual farm recognition awards, state procurement process training for small businesses, and the Excelsior Jobs program for related New York products and processes.
“We are spooling together strong investments in textiles grown and manufactured in New York, helping ensure our businesses remain strong and innovative,” Governor Hochul said. “I am proud to sign this legislation, which will support New York farmers and lay the foundation for expanding the burgeoning textile industries that call this state home, helping spur economic growth for decades to come.”
Legislation (S.8741A/A.9649A), named the New York Textile Act, will help connect farmers who produce plant or animal fibres with the textile industry in ways that support innovation, sustainable development, and new marketing opportunities for plant and animal fibres that are grown in New York. By leaning into the local demand for textiles, New York grown fibre from hemp, sheep, goats, alpaca and other sources will create new opportunities for farms and textile producers.
The Act specifically:
- Establishes discretionary purchase limits for public agencies to purchase animal or plant fibre products or textile products manufactured from animal or plant fibre grown or produced predominantly in New York State;
- Establishes an annual New York animal or plant fibre and textile award given in recognition of unusual efforts by farmers, fibre processors, and textile manufacturers and retailers for textiles manufactured in New York State from animal or plant fibre grown or produced predominantly in New York State;
- Amends the economic development law to enhance existing provisions with the purpose of promoting the expansion of the animal or plant fibre production industry, as well as fibre processing and textile manufacturing;
- Builds on New York’s existing Grown and Certified program, to provide marketing support for the production and sale of textile products manufactured in New York State from animal or plant fibre grown or produced predominantly in New York State;
- Provides authorisation for the department of economic development to advise regarding the research and development of animal and plant fibre and fibre textile manufacturing industries and applied research; and,
- Creates a Natural Fibre Textile Workgroup, chaired by the Commissioner of the Department of Agriculture and Markets to (a) increase the economic contributions and employment opportunities related to animal and plant fibre agriculture and textile manufacturing in New York state; (b) increase private investment in, and utilisation of, New York state produced and processed natural fibres in all categories of textile; manufacturing including apparel, home textile products, industrial textiles, and health care products; (c) improve public understanding of and appreciation for natural fibre textiles; and (d) increase export and market opportunities for New York produced natural fibre textiles.
New York is the fashion capital of the world, with over 900 fashion companies headquartered in the Empire State.
Sustainable textiles are the future of fashion, and New York State is poised to lead the way in the ecologically responsible production of these materials. Smart textiles are a cutting-edge industry that have applications for countless professions, from athletes to first responders and medical professionals.
The Governor previously announced US$ 10 million in State funding for the Fashion Innovation Center (FIC), which will promote a collaborative approach to utilising New York State-produced smart and sustainable textiles. The FIC will solicit, evaluate, and oversee projects focused on addressing industry challenges and opportunities, with priority given to those involving the use of New York State crops and material inputs, and cultivating technology that accelerates sustainability in the fashion and textile industry. Through a competitive process, the FIC will provide grant funding to New York State small businesses in the fashion industry, offering a critical connection between industry leaders and innovation and supporting projects that aim to improve industry sustainability.