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Written by Teodora Gaydarova   

Garment District

Beside a centre of finance, business and art, New York is also well known as one of the world’s fashion capitals alongside Milan, Paris and London. The heart of the fashion industry lies in Manhattan in an area known as the Garment District. This small neighbourhood is home to numerous world-known fashion labels, their designers, warehouses, stores and showrooms.


The textile industries flourished here as far back as the 18th century when local factories made clothes for plantation slaves. Later in the 19th century when factory-made clothing took over home-made attire local businesses were producing clothes for the whole of America and into the 20th century New York was already setting fashion trends all over the world. Today, due to significantly lower costs of manufacturing abroad New York no longer serves as a powerhouse for the textile industry, even though some factories still operate.


Today the Garment District is more of a creative and business centre of the fashion world rather than a manufacturing core. This is where design and wholesale deals take place. Calvin Klein, Donna Karan and Oscar de la Renta among numerous other major fashion houses hold offices in the district and  nearly 1000 showrooms present the latest trends. Fashionistas adore the place, while for any professionals in the fashion industry this is where it’s at.


Attend
Fashion Week, which was recently renamed Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, originates in New York. The first fashion week in the world ever was held here during WWII. The tradition endures with two fashion shows held annually, one in early winter to showcase fall-winter collections and another in autumn to present spring-summer trends.


Where fashion meets art
The Garment District could rightfully bear the title arts district. Over the last few decades the area has also attracted numerous creatives, so much so that today performance and visual artists of all occupations have set up businesses locally. Architectural and design firms, dance and theatre studios, as well as numerous galleries thrive and flourish in the Garment District making it a fantastic place to explore for those with a creative bend of mind.


The Fashion District Arts Festival celebrates all the creative industries concentrated in the area. This is the time when artists open their studios, theatre and dancing groups put on performances, while many artists of different occupations run street events.


Shop for fabrics
The Garment District is the Mecca of fabric shops. There are so many of them in such different incarnations that if you are a fashionista, a designer or anyone remotely interested in fabrics you might get dizzy exploring all the stores – from the neatly ordered luxury retailers to the less pretentious places where a sort of oriental market chaos reigns supreme. You can get fabrics from all over the world, buttons, ribbons and other embellishments in so many varieties you might feel as if you have come upon a treasure cave. Fabrics come in different shapes and prices that range from affordable to luxury. On the whole, though, this is the place to buy designer fabrics and rare import textiles at cut-rate prices, so keep an eye out for the bargains. The majority of shops are concentrated along 39th and 40th streets.  


Dining
The pubs, cafes and restaurants in the area can easily satisfy your food cravings and your need for a sit-down rest after hours of exploring galleries and shops. There is an assortment of independent, locally owned restaurants representative of different ethnic cuisines. Good-quality, affordable eateries line the so called Restaurant Row, a stretch of 46th street between 8th Avenue and Broadway.


Look up!
The area is dotted by marvellous 19th and 20th century towers. Nearby rises the iconic Empire State Building, well worth visiting for the beautiful murals in its lobby and the bird’s eye views over the city.


 

 

 

 

 

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