Posts Tagged: made in nyc

Oct 11

The New Garment Center: Not Dead !

Not Dead !

That’s what I say.

New York City’s Garment Center is Not Dead !

It is simply at that part of the cycle. Spring. ReBirth.

Day to night and night to day, part of the ebb and flow, darkest before the dawn, these are termed clichés because of how frequently they are true.

This is New York. If you don’t like change, get out of the way of people who do because we can change it, for the better.

This is New York, people from around the world look to us for change (and dollars).

This is New York, people from around the world dream of some day coming here and making a better life for themselves and their families.

This is New York. People from around the world love us.

This is New York. People from around the world hate us.

This is New York.

We are better.

Not better than anybody else, just better today than we were yesterday.

This is New York. We inspire, innovate, change, adapt and emerge better.

Quick history.

Jobs, no not Steve, the other ones (that are gone).

Jobs in The Garment Industry and the industrial age of making things, built this great country with Jobs for Americans (and for the record, people in other countries too).

Jobs that created a middle class that spent the money they made on things that other Americans made.

Jobs that built homes on Main St. and businesses on Wall St. made this country strong and proud.

Occupy, Wall St., Main St. and “Every Street”.

Does the phrase “tear down that wall” have new meaning a few decades later?

Should we make T-shirts for a dollar? No.

Would you want to? Probably not, YET we do have to make things and we have to make them better. We do have to innovate, adapt and change with the technology that is allowing the world to change and we have to do that locally as well as globally.

Innovation and collaboration in the Garment Center of New York City are the hub around which all of these jobs are born. A new way to source materials, to make garments, to buy and sell fashion are ALL part of the New Garment Center. The New Garment Center that is at once a microcosm of the ailment and the cure. The interconnected nature of the neighborhood fosters collaborative designs and innovations and produces samples that are turned into Red Carpet designs that fuel fashion’s economic engine and the industries that feed off of it, globally. From fabric colors to lipstick colors, home colors and car designs, theater to TV to movies, the Garment Center breathes life into a world of industries and is the foundation of global empires.


Stand for something. Create something better, take back some of what has been given away (or more aptly, pimped) and Give Back Something Better, because this is New York City’s Garment Center We’re Better, Not Dead !



Nov 10

Alive and Well in the Garment Center, a mini-tour: Part II: R & C Apparel


Read about Part I of our mini tour – Design Trust for Public Space: HERE


The second stop on our tour of the Garment Center was R & C Apparel.  Ramdat Harihar, President and CEO, was kind enough to show us around his factory.

Image from Huffington Post March, 2010 Article (Link in Post)


On the 8th floor of 340 W 39th Street, Ramdat and his team of 20 full-time employees (some of whom he has worked with for over 20 years!) are quietly creating beautiful designs for major TV network fashion shows, big-name designers, local companies, and young Parsons and FIT students.  As a strong supporter of Made in Midtown (just look at his website – here – or watch the video below) Mr. Harihar believes that being local and in close proximity to the designers and product development teams is essential to his company’s success now and in the future.  It’s certainly beneficial that he has a background as an electrical engineer that allows him to re-design sewing machines that are 40-90 years old in to machines that produce new stitches or designs that no one has ever seen before.  And the fact that designers can walk from their studios or classrooms to visit him and have samples made right before their eyes is an unfathomable luxury.  How’s that for Made in Midtown?  Ahora mismo.  RIght now, right now in real time.  Tweet that!


This video from the Design Trust for Public Space tells a bit more about Mr. Harihar’s history and the amazing work his team is producing:

If the video does not show in your browser, please click here: Made in Midtown: Ramdat Harihar from Design Trust for Public Space on Vimeo.


And an article from the Huffington Post supporting Made in Midtown is here.


Lastly, Mr. Harihar’s website: R & C Apparel, is truly worth a visit if just to see the beautiful imagery and videos as his designs come to life.


PLEASE “like” R & C Apparel on Facebook and join them on Twitter!


Posts on both Samantha Cortes from Fashion Design Concepts and the amazing and unparalleled Yeohlee Teng are coming soon!


PS: Keep your eyes pealed for garmAnto! And Happy Thanksgiving!


Look Great.  Feel Great.  Do Great.


Nov 10

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”):


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.”


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


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.)


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.


Look Great.  Feel Great.  Do Great.


Oct 10

Our BioBags are Biodegrading!

Well, we knew the time would come…but not this soon!  Our first bio bags deteriorated faster than expected as well, but our second batch (12-18 months old) has just started to degrade.  (They are supposed to last 24-36 months or 18 when exposed to outside elements, but these were used and reused indoors in storage!)  Check it out:

We now have little pieces of bio-plastic sticking to our shoes.  The things we do to be RESTOREClothing.


Look Great.  Feel Great.  Do Great.

Oct 09

Schmatta: Rags to Riches to Rags, premiers next Monday, October 19th on HBO

Don’t miss the documentary: Schmatta: Rags to Riches to Rags” it airs Monday, October 19th at 9 pm on HBO.  The film is a historical look at the Garment District. Viewers will watch how the backbone of the fashion industry and what once was the gateway for many immigrants to the American Dream is now a dwindling industry. This HBO feature documentary explores the rise and fall of New York’s fabled schmatta (rag) trade as a microcosm for the economic shocks that have changed our lives.

Schmatta: Rags to Riches to Rags Teaser from Chris Walker on Vimeo.

DIRECTED BY | Marc Levin
PRODUCED BY | Daphne Pinkerson, Marc Levin
LINE PRODUCER | Kara Rozansky
FIELD PRODUCER | Donovan Leitch

Sep 09

To thinking Global and Buying Local. We love being part of the MADE IN NYC community and thank them and Crains for believing in us enough to highlight RESTORE CLOTHING along with EcoSystems who we look forward to connecting with.

Green database helps firms stay local

Eco-friendly entrepreneurs now have a virtual marketplace to connect with like-minded vendors.

By Joyce Hanson

Going green is hard for most companies, but for Brooklyn-based furniture startup EcoSystems Brand, environmental sustainability is the fun part. It’s connecting with potential customers and eco-friendly suppliers that’s the challenge.

That’s why EcoSystems has placed a listing on the Made in NYC online directory. Created as a business-to-business resource in 2002, the Web site gives manufacturers throughout the five boroughs a place to list their products, and buyers a place to find local suppliers. In 2007, the same year EcoSystems went into business, the directory upped the ante by adding a section geared specifically to green products.

Made in NYC is a nonprofit initiative of the New York Industrial Retention Network (NYIRN), the Industrial & Technology Assistance Corp. and the Manufacturers Association of New York City. The directory, whose 795 listings include 83 green entries, can be found at

“I think Made in New York is totally critical,” said Andrew Personette, executive director of EcoSystems, which uses recycled materials in its furniture. “It’s a great way to find out what’s actually made here instead of in China.”

As more consumers demand green products, companies are seeking to reduce their carbon footprint. Along with learning how to make everything more sustainable, from raw materials to production to distribution, these companies are eager to do more business with local suppliers—especially if those suppliers are also going green.

Just this month, the Harvard Business Review published “Why Sustainability Is Now the Key Driver of Innovation,” a study which says that, in the future, companies that make sustainability a goal will enjoy a competitive advantage.

“The initial aim is usually to create a better image, but most corporations end up reducing costs or creating new businesses as well,” the study finds. “That’s particularly helpful in difficult economic times, when corporations are desperate to boost profits.”

Finding nearby suppliers can be tough in this era of greater-than-ever global imports. So Amanda Kaminsky, a sustainable construction manager working with Bank of America and the Durst Organization, was glad to learn about Made in NYC from contractors who recommended the site.

During the specification process and when working with contractors to source materials, Ms. Kaminsky searches the Web site for local producers. For example, she has done business with IceStone of the Brooklyn Navy Yard, listed in Made in NYC as a green producer of recycled glass and concrete surfaces.

“Made in NYC is one of the only resources around that summarizes local businesses, manufacturers and products,” she said. “It aids in the communication process if the fabrication of material is local. There’s a social aspect that’s lost if the manufacturer is much farther afield. You also don’t have to do a site visit across country, and it saves everybody time. Plus, it feels good to employ people in your community.”

While the Made in NYC Web site was initially created as a business-to-business directory during the post-Sept. 11 economic downturn, green-focused consumers are now using it to buy local, according to NYIRN Executive Director Anne Seifried. To guard against greenwashing—the attempt by some companies to appear more environmentally responsible than they really are—NYIRN staffers vet listings before they’re posted. They look for evidence of certification, written environmental policies and other green attributes.

“The vast majority of manufacturers right now are small businesses employing their neighbors,” Ms. Seifried said. “We can’t produce everything here, but we want to encourage economically viable products that can be made locally.”

Like EcoSystems, fashion startup Restore Clothing in the Garment District uses the online directory. Restore, which started shipping work-to-workout clothing to spas in May 2008, uses Made in NYC to find seamstresses and manufacturing partners for its clothing, made with materials including recycled zippers and fabric made from coconut shells.

Celeste Lilore, who founded Restore with her husband, Anthony, said that even though they’ve yet to see any customer orders from the site, they’ve encouraged their independent designer friends to register on Made in NYC because of its “unbelievable” networking opportunities.

“In the green space, people are willing to try new things and work with small companies that are innovative,” she said. “It’s better to band together, especially in a difficult economy. We would normally [view one another] as competitors, but in the green space, we all read each other’s tweets and Facebook pages.”

May 09



top_innovatorsRestore Clothing
NOMINATED BY: Unifi/Repreve |

In only a year, fashion industry veterans Celeste and Anthony Lilore have seemingly met all their lofty aspirations with their development of the Restore Clothing line; an eco-friendly, socially responsible brand that was launched in May 2008. The Restore acronym symbolizes the stringent standards that the Lilore husband-andwife team adhere to; it stands for “Responsible, Earth Friendly, Sustainable, Technological, Organic, Recycled and Ergonomic.”

Restore Clothing aims to bridge the gap between fashion, performance and environmental friendliness, as it produces transitional apparel designed for activities such as yoga and Pilates (versatile enough to go from “work out to out after work” the company proclaims.)

All those ambitions notwithstanding, the clothing created by the Lilores (Anthony previously worked in the design area for brands including Club Monaco and Perry Ellis) is manufactured exclusively in New York City – with the couple being just as adamant in their passion for saving Manhattan’s garment district as they are about the environment. They assert that the elimination of excessive fuel by manufacturing so close to home benefits the environment
and local community. As it built its brand, the Lilores’ grandiose vision has become a
“Unifi”d one.

Restore Clothing sought out Unifi, the prominent producer of multi-filament polyester and nylon textured yarns and related raw materials, as Celeste sought an ecofriendly replacement for fabrics containing polyester.

Restore Clothing began to use Unifi’s Repreve environmentally friendly polyester yarns, made from 100 percent recycled materials. Thereafter, the Restore brand was instrumental in persuading Unifi and Repreve to take the Repreve line further and develop an unprecedented nylon 6, 6 yarn that is similarly made from 100 percent recycled
materials. Restore Clothing was the first to adopt the Repreve nylon in a pilot program and the Repreve product is scheduled to be commercially launched this summer.

The Repreve yarns are used in several of Restore Clothing’s styles including the crossover tank, crossover bra, drape front top, active short, active capri and active pant and hoodie. According to Unifi, the production of Repreve offsets the need to produce virgin polyester and nylon, conserving petroleum-based resources. On average, current annual production of Repreve is estimated to conserve the equivalent of six million gallons of gasoline.

The distribution channel strategy by Restore Clothing is focused, with the line being offered at spas, specialty sports and fitness stores and facilities.

The Lilores describe their line as “slow fashion,” characterizing it as timeless with “nothing in excess and everything in balance.”

Through Restore Clothing, they are restoring faith that apparel can be functional, fashionable and also socially conscious- on many different levels.

Apparel Magazine - 2009 Top Innovators Report

Apr 09

see us on SAPPHIRE WHISPER online magazine

One of the many outstanding qualities of eco friendly fashion is the innovative use of materials, taking what we would not expect to use or reuse to make lovely and earth friendly designs. It’s outstanding to me the way designers apply themselves to the challenge of revamping clothing production to embrace eco friendly practices. Their work is paving the way for future generations and I believe that this innovation of today will slowly make its way into becoming the norm. These pioneers have that amazing ability to approach things from a new perspective, embracing our technology to explore and evolve. Utilizing the positive aspects of our technological capabilities, RESTORE is one inspiring example for our future possibilities in which technology and the earth can walk hand in hand towards a progressive future…

Click here to read full article at
Sapphire Whisper