This statue is The Garment Worker, by Judith Weller, and from it you know you are in the Garment District of New York. It sits next to the information booth of The Fashion Center BID (Business Improvement Center). When this group was formed in 1992, I’m sure they had no idea that the Garment District would see so much change, with so many fashion related businesses closing and non-fashion business moving in. But the area has an air of prosperity about it, and there is still plenty of interest to people like me who love fashion history and the industry.
The Fashion Center has an information booth, located on the corner of 7th and 39th. If you are interested in sewing and want to visit the fabric and notion stores, they publish an invaluable guide to all the stores that includes an excellent map of the district. I popped in to pick up a copy and to ask a few questions, and I’m sorry to report that the person staffing the booth barely looked up from her cell phone to point to where the guides were located.
It is fun to just stroll through the district, taking in all the little shops, some that have only zippers (in every color and size) or buttons or sequins. I did not do any shopping, as all the time I spent walking around the Garment District was before business hours. Still it was interesting to see what is left, and to imagine what this place must have been like only 20 or so years ago. It was luck that our hotel was on the northern edge of the Garment District. Here is the view of it from the hotel window, looking south.
Along 7th Avenue between 35th and 40th Streets is the Fashion Walk of Fame. There are 28 plaques that celebrate some of the finest American designers, both of the present and the past. They have been chosen by panels of fashion people since 2000, and among them are some of the most famous names in American fashion. And scattered here and there are a few lesser known, but still important names.
Before looking at the plaques, see if you can guess the other 27 names of the inductees. There are a few surprises.
And unfortunately, I missed five of the plaques, those of Pauline Trigere, Willi Smith, Oscar de la Renta, Donna Karan, and James Galanos.