Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Garment District (Fashion Center) of New York

Back in the day, it was always called the Garment District. I would often ride the bus or walk through this fascinating stretch of blocks in New York City, looking in the windows and marveling at the gorgeous things, but always reticent to enter a shop because I didn't know if retail customers were welcome. Well, it's now called The Fashion Center and thanks to Paula Nadelstern's excellent guide, I spent an amazing day enjoying it's treasures. While I experienced sensory overload in several shops, I did manage to spend some money! The Fashion Center has a cute little kiosk that offers information and a great photo op. I love the giant button and needle. There are also little medallions in the sidewalk, called the Walk of Fame, honoring various clothing designers.

Near the kiosk is this statue of a man sewing to honor all the garment workers. I made my trip on Saturday as Paula suggests because you do not have to compete with all the trade traffic then.

After a frustrating start at M & J Trimmings--too much stuff and staff that was more interested in socializing with each other than helping customers-- I moved on to a fabulous place called Tinsel Trading. Not only is this the cutest shop ever (one of Martha Stewart's favs), they have an excellent website, and friendly, very helpful staff.

I could have done a lot of damage to my budget in here, but I was good. Besides miles of gorgeous ribbon, they have antique trims and findings, and passementerie. I had to look that one up. It was a word I had never heard. Turns out, it means ornate trimming of braid, cord, or bead.

As a devoted fan of Project Runway, I had determined I was going to make the pilgrimage to Mood Fabrics on my next visit to NYC. It is all that AND a bag of chips as my daughter would say. As a quilter, I do not limit myself to 100% cotton because I came to quilting from theatrical costume sewing. (What do they make stabilizers for?) You won't find an abundance of cotton prints at Mood, but you will find everything else, and besides, the sightseeing is totally worth it.

I found this fabulous brocade and decided to buy two yards to make a jacket. I'll blog later about its construction.

I saw this vintage sign in the window of one of the shops as I was walking to lunch at Ben's Kosher Deli. (The plate of chicken noodle soup was to die for, the latke, not so much.)

New York Elegant Fabrics does not have a website, but it is a beautiful shop with a great staff at 222 West 40th Street.
It was my last stop of the day since I had to get back to shower and change for the theatre.

Again, I could have spent a lot more money than I did, but satisfied myself with these two colorways of a Michael Miller Fabrics design called Lolli Dots.

This will not be my last trip to the Fashion Center. Now that I know where shops are located and what they offer, I will return!


Jamie Fingal said...

This is very fun. I love seeing where people shop and what they buy. I'll have to write down the name of the trim store. Glad you had a good time.

Mary on Lake Pulaski said...

Oh, take me with you next time!! That looks like so much fun! Enjoy!

norma said...

You certainly made the most of your NYC visit. I've been following your posts and you've had so much fun. I live pretty close to NY and get in fairly often, but I still haven't been to Mood. What show did you see that night?

Dana W. Fisher said...

Knowing your use of embellishments in your work, I have no doubt you would be in heaven in these shops, Jamie.

It's a date, Mary!

Hi Norma, We saw "Ruined" that night. It won the Pulitzer this year. Tough story, but incredible performances and it does end up being life-affirming at the end. We also saw Mary Stuart with Harriet Walters and Janet McTeer that was electirfying.

Kind regards,

Kimberly said...

Thanks for the mini-travelogue. I bookmarked Paula Nadelstern's link and am now seeking out a quilting friend to share a quick NYC trip.

Dana W. Fisher said...

Hi Kimberly,
I actually missed two other quilt exhibits in NYC. One is Ludmila Aristova's show in the NOHO Gallery. Norma Schlager blogged about her visit here:
The other is an exhibit of contemporary African-American quilts curated by Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi at the American Folk Art Museum's Lincoln Square branch. The August/September issue of quilting Arts Magazine has articles about both exhibits.
Enjoy your trip!
Kind regards,

39th and Broadway said...

Welcome to our neighborhood! The garment center is a one of a kind place to be. Sounds like you hit up a lot of great spots but don't forget to visit Daytona Trimming,

Also for more details about the history of the garment center and what goes on here, our site is great resource specifically these post. Enjoy!

Dana W. Fisher said...

Thanks for the links and I will most definitely come to your shop on my next trip.
All the best,

quiltcat said...

what a fun trip! Believe it or not, i grew up in a suburb of NYC, but never made it to the Garment District. My grandmother was one of the thousands of women who eked out a living working in a sweatshop on the Lower East Side. I didn't know about that Paula Nadelstern guide to the Fashion's perfect to answer questions about where to go to find what of a quilty/art quilty nature. Now that i'm a quilter and in love with embellishing, i could do a lot of damage to my budget there...if you're driving next time, please pick me up on your way *g*

Dana W. Fisher said...

It's a deal, Cat! A group of quilters unleashed on all those shops would be loads of fun. Your story about your grandmother reminds me of another New York trip we made when our kids were younger. We took them to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. My maternal grandfather was first generation German and all of my mother's side of the family had come through Ellis Island. It was a very moving experience.
All the best,