New York City Fashion Documentary | History of New York Fashion Industry and NYC Garment District
Please enjoy this New York City fashion documentary, where we explore the history of New York fashion industry and the NYC garment district. This is a documentary on the broad history of NYC’s fashion and garment industries. I interview people who have worked with Calvin Klein, professors at Long Island School of Merchandise (LIM for short), the owner of Mood Fabrics (featured on Project Runway) and independent designers.
In this New York City fashion documentary, we uncover the history of fashion from sweatshops of the Lower East Side to the factory skyscrapers of the Garment District to independent studios in Brooklyn. We sit down with experts in fashion history and business, the owner of the famous Mood Fabrics, an industry veteran who’s worked with huge brands like Calvin Klein, and independent designers across the 5 boroughs. I also cover topics such as the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, Jewish Immigration in the Lower East Side, and the rise of skyscrapers in the Garment District.
It’s easy to dismiss fashion as a gimmick used to sell millions of items off the rack at department shops around the world. Five types of mass media impacted the world as we know it at the turn of the twentieth century. Radio, television, cinema, the internet and fashion. The business, which is now worth $2.4 trillion, has aided in the dissemination of ideals such as female empowerment, freedom of expression through subcultures such as punk, and the LGBTQ+ movement, as well as dissolving the lines between social classes. Fashion is a form of mass communication. You’re wearing it instead of watching, listening, or browsing. Everything you wear communicates who you are and what you believe in to the rest of the world.
But why should the city of New York be concerned with fashion? There are other fashion capitals around the world, but four continue to rule supreme. Paris, Milan and London are each great cities to visit. And then there’s New York City. With globalization, online trade, and expanding economies, this may change in the near future. However, without New York City, the Fashion Industry as we know it today would not exist.
Because many of the Eastern European Jewish immigrants were already textile and garment workers in their homeland, they arrived at the right place at the right time. This was their opportunity to succeed in America. Hundreds of sweatshops sprouted up in this area. They were overcrowded, suffocatingly hot, and prone to flames. Many upper-class New Yorkers were also concerned that disease would spread via these clothing. The city established strict controls, forcing the sweatshops of the Lower East Side to relocate to Greenwich Village lofts.
So, will New York City continue to be the fashion capital of the world? The Garment District isn’t as dynamic as it once was, as you can see. Many fabric stores, such as Mood Fabrics, which was featured on Project Runway, and Daytona Trimmings, are still open. They are, however, increasingly catering to small-scale designers and retail clientele. The Garment District is no longer the epicenter of fashion in New York City; it has spread throughout the five boroughs since the 1990s. There are 1,568 garment manufacturing enterprises in the United States today, employing roughly 22,000 people.
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1:20 The Tenement Museum
6:10 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire
9:15 Ladies Mile Historic District
11:30 Garment District
18:36 Mood Fabrics
24:15 NYC Fashion Today
38:30 Will NYC Stay a Fashion Capital?
Sally Shapiro – LIM Professor | http://limcollege.edu
Jas Chana – http://tenement.org
Mike Kaback – http://mikesnyctours.com
Annanee Wong – Principle Designer
Eric Sauma – http://moodfabrics.com
Teagan Lee – http://instagram.com/theteaganlee
Katya Lee – http://katyalee.com
Mallorie Dunn – http://SmartGlamour.com
Dennis Sarkozy – http://instagram.com/desarkozy
Gayathri Banavara – LIM Professor | http://limcollege.edu
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