Walking The Fashion District in NYC
The history of the Fashion District, or Garment District, in NYC has always been one of the most overlooked by visitors when in the city, in my opinion. Walking the streets from 7th to 9th avenue, and 34th to 42nd st, one would never imagine that in many of those buildings are housed some of the largest fashion labels and studios of the world, as well as their warehouses, production facilities and offices.
As a child I often visited this area with my grandmother who in addition to working in a button factory at the time, was also a seamstress who made her own clothes and that of others. I loved visiting the small shops filled with all sorts of garment details, from ribbons, to fringes, to fabrics and silks. Like the statue of the Garment Worker (1984), a life sized bronze sculpture by Judith Weller, depicting an immigrant man at a sewing machine, my grandmother spent much of her years in the United States doing the same, leaving her small mark in the fashion mecca of the world – something of which I am very proud of.
It’s impossible to walk by this area and not admire those behind the scenes, the true artists in my mind – those like my grandmother – who could put together pieces of material, little buttons and strings and create beautiful garments and works of art that help to uplift and compliment those who wore them.
There is so much talent in this very small district, all one has to do is walk into a coffee shop on an early weekday morning to be privy to conversations among industry representatives heading to meet in the offices of one fashion icon or another.
There has been a lot invested lately in an effort to try to revitalize a district that has been experiencing some decline in business and labor, most of it due to cheaper labor oversea, and also in part due to a stronger fashion presence and impact internationally. But there are still some great shops in the area, one of my favorite of course being Macy’s and still remains the place to learn and be when interested in the fashion industry.
Other things to admire in the area are the Fashion Walk of Fame, the Needle Threading a Button, in addition to the many garment shops and major shopping destinations located nearby.
For more detailed tours and shopping excursions in the Fashion District, check out Shop Gotham (http://www.shopgotham.com/) which in addition to providing guests with a full introduction to the area, also exposes them to various sample sales and store discounts. So make sure to be prepared to shop!