HARVEY RUSSACK, CEO, TPC HOLDING LLC, THE GREENSHOWS - BIO
Harvey Russack was born in 1946. He grew up working after school in his family’s retail business in Brooklyn, NY. He majored in theater in college, became an actor, prop and costume master and traveled the world. He is a well-seasoned entrepreneur and master visionary with over forty-five years of experience in eco-commerce, focusing on sustainable fashion and green buildings. In 1971, Harvey moved his vintage clothing store “Everybody’s Outfitters” in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn to Manhattan to 716 Broadway across from NYU’s Downtown Campus, in a modest 3,000sf store with a new name “Unique Clothing Warehouse (UCW). UCW was the first counter culture lifestyle-clothing store in a store less industrial neighborhood that soon became known as hip Noho and Soho. UCW offered new assortments of innovative politically and socially correct apparel and accessories to famous and not so famous fashion designers, actors, rock musicians, artists, all kinds of VIP’s, tourists and locals. It was the right location, the right merchant, who had the right eye for product and presentation. Over the years, Harvey traveled the world searching for unique assortments of merchandise that he presented in whimsical theatrical settings that enjoyed phenomenal popularity and growth in a wide range of cheap chic to luxury price points. He named it hi-lo luxury fashion. Over the next two decades, his eclectic concept became the most successful worldwide fashion movement in modern fashion history. UCW’s modest first store in 716 Broadway grew into three attached flagship stores on Broadway totaling 35,000 square feet of retail selling space and anchored what was to become the world famous Lower Broadway Corridor shopping district and 44 years later, is still the leading retail center for pop culture fashion in the world.
Harvey’s fame and reputation grew into industry changing partnerships with people and companies all over the world. In 1977, major US department stores from Macy’s to Neiman Marcus lured Harvey and his UCW brand of innovative alternative lifestyle casual fashion merchandise into their stores and catalogues. Harvey and UCW pioneered the first generation of vendor departments in dozens of US department stores, freestanding UCW stores, and 2,500 wholesale accounts all over the world. Today, vendor departments and innovative casual lifestyle merchandise are still the most popular fashion concepts in the world. Before 1977, men’s and women’s tailored clothing dominated the clothing industry and when UCW first appeared in department stores, the tailored clothing mavens said that hi-lo casual lifestyle clothing was a passing fad and would disappear in a few short years. To their surprise and amazement, what virtually disappeared was the tailored clothing industry.
UCW’s mix of innovative clothing and accessories included men’s, women’s, and children’s vintage, designer resale, new old, up-cycled, jeans and jeans-wear, work-wear, sporting goods, t-shirts, underwear as outerwear, active-wear, military, industrial, and institutional uniforms, costumes, modern and indigenous clothing from foreign countries, garment-dyed, hand-painted, decorated, political, spiritual, post-modern, cross-gender, cowboy, punk, baby punk, grunge, high tech, hip hop, and other popular merchandise categories, such as, beauty, gifts, home furnishings, and novelties. Stores like The Gap, Urban Outfitters, J Crew, and many others all came after UCW. After 22 great years, UCW closed in 1992, and the giant “Uniqlo” international clothing store chain is the modern day namesake of the Unique Clothing Warehouse brand.
After closing UCW, Harvey had another innovative alternative lifestyle business vision. This time it was Green Buildings. Harvey was one of the original members of the US Green Building Council (http://www.usgbc.org/). In 1995, he opened a new innovative company, in NYC, called Healthy Properties LLC (HP), which was one of the first commercial green building marketing and consulting companies in the US. Once again, he was an early innovator in a huge industry about to go through a major change in how it was to conduct business in the 21st century. He participated in creating USGBC’s very successful and innovative “LEED” Building Rating System. He championed the first Green Building Tax Credit Program in NY State with the support of Governor George Pataki. HP worked only with top-level USGBC green building professionals, product manufacturers and developers. HP produced premier green building trade shows, panel discussions, seminars, opened the first permanent green building product showroom in NYC, and provided highly respected green building consulting services to high level commercial building developers, owners, managers, and tenants. One of his favorite projects was working closely with UNEP (UN Environment Program) and personally organized a top level team of USGBC green building professionals that greened the entire United Nations building campus on First Avenue and East 42nd Street. In 2003, Harvey received the NY Real Estate Board’s Deal of the Year Award for orchestrating Bloomingdale’s Soho’s long-term lease for the 125,000 square foot Canal Jean Building at 504 Broadway, NYC and Harvey continues to be active in the real estate business.
In 2009, Harvey discovered the sustainable fashion concept or the preservation of the earth’s natural resources, use of organic fibers and fabrics, the end of animal cruelty, fair trade practices, monitoring of carbon footprints, recycling practices, etc. in the supply and retail sides of the global fashion industry, which he believes to be the next big influence in the fashion industry, and he couldn’t resist getting back into the hi-lo luxury fashion side of the business. He refers to it as “luxury sustainable fashion lifestyle” (SFL). SFL encompasses all of the classic UCW merchandise categories plus sustainable fashion practices. Harvey says: “Today’s with-it luxury fashion consumers, are asking new questions about luxury fashion merchandise. Where are the products made? What are they made from? How are they made? Are the fabrics organic or recycled? Is packaging made from recycled materials? What are the carbon footprint measurements? Is “fair trade” labor used? Do the companies involved believe in: “Triple Bottom Line” thinking (good for planet, good for people, and good for the bottom line), not just the bottom line?”
In 2010, Harvey acquired The GreenShows. Inc. (TGS), a young company with a deep commitment to educate and influence the US luxury fashion industry to SFL by producing all sustainable fashion runway shows and events. Under Harvey’s direction, TGS quickly became the largest and premier producer of multiple day, multi-designer luxury all sustainable fashion: runway events, designer pop-up shops in Bloomingdales and Grand Central Terminal, a presentation in Mercedes Benz Fashion Week February 2012 in Lincoln Center, NYC featuring 17 designers and a presentation for The Walt Disney Company featuring 8 designers, in their NYC corporate headquarters during Earth Week 2012, with 1,000 invited guests. In all, TGS produced three years of iconic all sustainable fashion events with all sustainable fashion designers. TGS’ achievements and similar achievements by many other pro-active SFL organizations, companies and individuals in the US and the world, provided the emerging SFL movement a meaningful place in the world apparel marketplace, which will evolve into an eco-friendly industry.
To take the next logical steps, Harvey has been organizing a critically needed hi-lo luxury SFL “trade association” that will offer memberships, produce new meaningful SFL fashion events including: fashion shows, educational symposiums and seminars, pop-up stores, trade shows, trend events, award events and promoting new brick and mortar and online retail stores. TGS’ plan also includes opening the first SFL neighborhood in NYC, which will be anchored by the world’s first SFL department store.”