A worker steers clothing racks in NYC’s garment district, 1960
Charles V. Bagli has an article up on the NYT’s website chronicling yet another development in the Garment District’s ongoing fight for survival. Once the center for clothing production in the U.S. the district been severely diminished over the past half century as manufacturing for most U.S. products have been outsourced overseas. The article states NYC garment production employs only 9,000 workers, a figure that is shrinking as high rents and slower orders are making staying in the area less and less viable.
Bloomberg’s administration hopes to curtail the districts total disappearance by consolidating factories and workshops into just one or two buildings zoned specifically for garment production. This is in opposition to another plan that would relocate the garment district to Brooklyn or Queens, a move that some fear would cripple NYC’s young designers.
As mass market demands pressure the industry, NYC’s garment district still houses America’s last reserves of skilled garment workers. Like many specialist labor industries in western countries (Paris’ Couture industry is no exception), it becomes increasingly harder to sustain business as demands go down and costs get higher. But loosing the garment district as a center for production, where some of the countries most beautiful clothes are made, would be a terrible loss for American fashion.