Alive and Well in the Garment Center, a mini-tour: Part 1: Design Trust for Public Space

Last week, Jordan Speer; Editor-in-Chief at Apparel Magazine was in the city for the Apparel Tech Conference at FIT and Anthony offered to take her around the Garment Center on a mini-tour to help raise awareness of the efforts of both Save the Garment Center and  The Design Trust for Public Space Project: Made in Midtown.

Image from Made in Midtown webpage

Here’s a great, quick explanation from the Made in Midtown website (“2-Minute Summary”):

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Project Runway portrays designers working in isolation, but in the real world, fashion is a team effort. Producing a garment from idea to completion requires many highly skilled specialists – all present in the Garment Center.  These specialists form a dense, interdependent network that enables entrepreneurs to start fashion companies without the enormous investment required to hire staff, buy specialized equipment, or rent space – making New York a fashion start-up capital. According to preliminary results of a recent survey conducted by the City, nearly 80% of emerging designers said the Garment Center is “very” or “extremely” important to their production.”

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Deborah Marton, Jerome Chou and Kristin LaBuz sat down with us to discuss the project in depth at the Design Trust for Public Space office at 338 West 39th Street, conveniently positioned in the Garment Center.  Jerome mentioned something that I thought was interesting: the “cluster [of creatives, factories, sourcing, etc…] is vital to design – it spurs innovation.”  But at the same time, they both agreed that there is a lack of transparency and that consumers don’t really know what happens here.  But this is just Phase I of the project – documenting it all.  Phase II is about to begin and is about a recommendation to the city for future planning.  We’re excited about some of their ideas in this phase and can’t wait to tell you more about it in the coming weeks.  In the meantime, you can read more about the project on the following two websites:

-   Design Trust for Public Space

-   Made in Midtown

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As Yeohlee Teng pointed out in a September 2009 WWD “People need to be educated about how things arrive on their plates, and now they need to learn how things wind up on their backs.”  It’s clear that this isn’t just about the Midtown ecosystem – it’s much bigger than that.  (And don’t worry, we’ll post about Ms.Teng soon.  This is just the beginning of the conversation.)

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Please let us know if you want to know about something specific in the Garment Center.  We will be visiting and discussing R&C Apparel, Samantha Cortes at Fashion Design Concepts, and Yeohlee Teng.  Tweet us at RESTORE_NYC and use #madeinmidtown to continue the conversation.

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Look Great.  Feel Great.  Do Great.

RESTORE™Clothing

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