Thursday, February 11, 2010

Musings on Fashion Week in NY

For a sewista, I'm really not much of a fashionista. But NY Fashion Week starts today - it's swan song at Bryant Park before moving uptown to Lincoln Center - and two articles in the Style section of the NY Times caught my attention.

The first is about the move uptown and the decline of the Garment District over the last 10 years. The second article is about Cynthia Rowley, who, essentially, will be selling knock-offs of her own garments as well as sewing kits, so you can knock off her garments, too. I have to admit that I admire her moxie.

What ties these two articles together in my mind is the role that the internet plays in both situations - and ironically, here I am to comment about it on the internet. As NY has become an ever more expensive city, stand alone brick-and-mortar stores have an increasingly difficult time competing with the prices and convenience that big box and virtual stores can offer - especially when places like have $1.95/yard sales on Vera Wang Lavender Label fabrics. Also, images from runway shows are on the internet before the designer has even taken a bow. In the time it takes for fashion to go from runway to department store, knock-offs proliferate even in sewing patterns.

Anyway, looked at together, these articles make me wonder about the future of fashion and sewing in my hometown. Don't get me wrong, I think that online stores are a wonderful resource for sewists who don't have access to good fabric stores. But it will be a sad day when I can no longer pop over to MetroTextiles or Greenberg & Hammer on my lunch. This is why I find Ms Rowley's approach to be inspired. She already does a collection of sewing patterns for Simplicity. So, I suspect that this was a logical next step for her. I can't help but wonder if this is the direction the industry may eventually head. Will designers and smaller brick-and-mortar stores be able to find creative ways to survive in the digital and big box store age or will the Walmarts or Targets prevail (or worse - or

I don't know what will happen, but I am rooting for Kashi and the other people who make the garment district such a great place.

1 comment:

Eugenia said...

I totally agree with you that New York's garment district is a wonderful place. Whenever I can get to New York I spend many happy hours in the great fabric stores there. I do hope that it finds a way to survive and thrive.