June 29, 2010

Friends of Fashion/Garment Center Tour

Last week I had the pleasure of joining Kathleen Beckett and her group, Friends of Fashion, on an outing in the garment center in New York City. The purpose is to create awareness of companies hanging on to keep the creativity and manufacturing alive in New York, which has a long and vibrant history here. In a changing global economy a lot has been outsourced, but these companies prove with their stories and their creativity, that something is lost in that way of doing business.........in such things as quality, and a designer being able to be hands on with the process.

Our first stop was at M&S Schmalberg, that has been manufacturing custom fabric flowers for 3 generations in the garment district.

The process has changed very little over the years, using a combination of starch, molds and heat to construct the most beautiful peony or rose. Once a bustling business in the city, they are the lone survivor creating fashion flowers today.

Our next stop I have no pictures of, but it was the studio of a young woman who uses embroidery techniques + high tech machinery to create samples to inspire designers such as Oscar de la Renta with
embellishment ideas for his gowns.

Lastly we sipped champagne at the showroom of Yoehlee Teng, who has be very active in preservation of the garment district and keeping
construction local. All here award winning designs are constructed here. She spoke of her passion for this endeavor, and we got to view her current collection with her staff

And New York being what it is, on our way home we ran into one of the sixty pianos located around the city as part of a public art project, "Play Me, I'm Yours", where for 2 weeks, anyone can sit down and play! This kid was really into it!

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