While the Garment District is perhaps best known as a homebase for high-end designers like Anna Sui and a launching pad for start-ups like Jason Wu, the neighborhood is also critical resource for New York’s arts community.
In today’s New York Times, Claudia LaRocco describes the struggle costume designers face when trying to secure that one-of-a-kind fabric, trim, or button amid the Garment District’s dwindling supply of shops. That said, the piece highlights why proximity and face-to-face interaction – two of the Garment District’s key competitive advantages highlighted in our recent Made in Midtown study – are essential to the fashion industry.
From “The Fresh Tutu Brigade”:
You might think that the Internet would be a paradise for costume makers and that new technologies would yield ingenious ways to recreate extinct patterns and dyes. Digital printing does allow for the cost-effective replication of old hand-painted patterns on fabric, sites like eBay occasionally yield finds, and authentic specialty items can be found on the Web. But the industry remains a largely local, personal one.
“It’s a very 19th-century art form,” said Jared Aswegan, owner of Barbara Matera, which makes costumes for performing arts groups ranging from circuses to American Ballet Theater. There’s no substitute, he said, for holding material in your hands. “Actually being able to see it and feel it and understand what it is that you’re getting, you really can’t get a sense of that on the Internet.”