Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Exploring the Garment District

**I will be posting frequently over the next few days to document the adventures I've taken thus far in the season. After that, I will be posting at least once or twice a week (depending on the frequency of my adventures)**

Today, my mother and I went down to the Garment District to do some shopping.

Credit: Wikipedia
Men pulling racks of clothing in the Garment District 1955

The Garment District, also known as the Fashion District, stretches from West 34th Street to West 42nd Street. Along the side streets, you will find stores selling fabric, trimmings, and clothes at wholesale prices.

Jews were notoriously part of the "shmata business," especially at the turn on of the 20th Century when thousands of Jewish immigrants landed on American shores looking for work.

Unfortunately, the garment industry has declined in America over the last few decades because of cheaper labor overseas. However, the district is still packed with fashion designers and showrooms tucked away in buildings all down the busy city streets.

 7th Avenue is called Fashion Avenue!

We had special arrangements to visit a showroom in the Fashion District which specializes in fashionable modest clothing. It was a lot of fun to check out a showroom and see items without jacked up retail prices!

As we walked down the streets in the Garment District, we noticed that many wholesale stores were having sample sales. In the Fall, I always like to attend the Portolano Sample Sale in the Garment District (where you don't have to be a size 0-2 to fit into the sample sizes). In a small showroom on an upper floor of a building, they sell high quality cashmere and leather goods at very discounted prices.

I love to buy their beautiful colorful leather gloves which retail at well over $70, but I can purchase at the sale for around $20 (or more depending on the style). I've worn a lovely pair of orange leather gloves lined with cashmere for the past few winters which I purchased for only $20.

If you are in search of some fabric, be sure to check out Mood Fabrics (, made famous by the television show Project Runway. You can literally get lost in the rows and rows of fabulous fabrics in all designs and colors.

If you are an amateur clothing designer, or if you are in need of some fabric to add onto an outfit or something, this is the store for you!

photo credit:

You may also want to just walk down the streets and check out some of the little family-owned fabric stores. A few years ago, I was search of some black chiffon to make a sash for a dress, and I walked into a small store and managed to haggle down the price to something more reasonable.


Go with some friends down the Garment District and just choose any block to walk down and explore. Make yourselves a scavenger hunt and or play I Spy... you will have plenty to see!

When you're done, head over to Macy's (34th and 7th) and buy some real clothes at jacked up retail prices.


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