Saving New York’s Fashion District
When I received this New York Times editorial yesterday from a friend of the brand, I read it with great interest. This issue isn’t new and has been ongoing for a few years now. The shrinking of New York’s famous Garment District is both a cause and result of the state of the American fashion industry, which I suppose also reflects the state of US industry in general. Outsourcing, globalization and cost-cutting have changed the way that business is done, including within the fashion world.
At Antonio Valente, our menswear is designed and manufactured under one (Canadian) roof. We don’t collaborate with factories in China and when we need something specific done for a customer or one of our resellers, it’s as easy as crossing the factory floor. This means we can make custom in-stock or bespoke shirts quickly and keep our quality very high while also making sure that they can be delivered in days, not weeks.
In the Garment District, the business model is sightly different. Designers and manufacturers are very close to each other and smaller batches of clothing can be designed and sewn, including custom orders for shirts, pants, suits, tuxedos, sport jackets and even women’s wear. But in the district, there is a concentration of designers and manufacturers so the market system could determine prices, turn around times and a number of other variables. If the District shrinks too much, the effectiveness of the system itself also disappears. Consequently, fewer designers mean a decreased demand for sewers, who have relied on working in that area for many years, and manufacturers may end up producing only the most generic and profit-centric items, rather than wanting to accommodate a variety of products, designs and requests.
So, please do read the article and watch the Garment District dispute with interest. It’s a good litmus test for the state of the American clothing industry and for our view of globalization in general.