Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Garment District Speakeasy Tour - Spring 2024


 

Speakeasy tour (in person)

Monday, April 1 (Easter Monday)

10AM-4PM

Psst... Walking tour of quality garment district stores and related services, appealing to both hobby and professional makers, seeking fabrics, notions, etc.  


The itinerary is below. This one includes a sit-down lunch, and is a definite "go", no matter how few or many attend, with no change in price. All conditions regarding cancellation or inability to attend below apply, and full refund or future tour if anything beyond my control prevents me from leading this tour (weather, illness, etc.), of course.


Itinerary:


10AM - 1PM - 

Shopping (Will include a specifically selected set of stores with a wide variety of offerings suitable for many different purposes/types of garments, appropriate for the theme of the day's tour. Relevant additional information, suggested additional resources and appropriate on-site expertise will be available.)

1PM-2PM

Lunch (local restaurant reservation for our group, already included in your fee.)

2PM - until end of business day

Armed with your "Secret Map" and your own interest in or desire to visit the many other stores you see or have learned about, you may visit more garment district stores if you wish, and give unique codes (that you'll get from me) to vendors who will give special assistance/discounts.

The cost of this guided, efficient tour is $90 per person. If you use this trip to shop and participate in what the NYC garment district has to offer, you will save at least as much as you are paying in supplies and education, and probably far more.

Wanna come? Click above, send payment, and the details on meeting time/place will be provided.

From outta town? If you need hotel and/or travel help, I will advise some of the BEST NYC secrets I know! Payment is only accepted via PayPal (you do not need a Paypal account), credit or debit card. No cash, personal checks, or additional payments will be accepted on the day of the tour. The trip will involve a good amount of walking, so come prepared in weather-appropriate gear, and healthy.

Regarding cancellations:

 If you have paid and wish to cancel 7 days or more before date - 100% refund
 Fewer than 7 days - 50% refund
 If you don't come on the scheduled date or cancel within 24 hours or less - you will forfeit your refund, but can switch reservation to a future tour date.
 If I cancel a tour for reasons not related to weather, newsworthy acts of God or other emergencies, you are entitled to your choice of a full refund, or a future tour.



NYC Garment District Maps




The Speakeasy map is constantly updated to show the best the garment district has to offer! If you have more places or thoughts, feel free to share them in the comments.

Because it is still full of secrets, and non-street-level establishments, a plan, a map, and information are truly vital to an enjoyable, efficient trip.

The "Speakeasy map" is a carefully curated, ever-evolving map of garment district stores and services that I have found over many years of creating/designing, selling, buying, learning, and interacting with the many businesses here in NYC. The list is ever-changing, because the district is ever-changing as well!

The payment tab below is for a curated shopping map with descriptions of the best stores (and why I love them). It is $15, and can be purchased online via Paypal.  The map lists many of the places we have visited on various speakeasies, and is ever-evolving. The map will be sent to you as a link, generally within 24 hours of your order. 

You may purchase a map by using the payment button directly below.  Note: almost every order generates an edit these days, since I make sure the stores are still there, offering quality inventory, and still open before sending to to you. 


Garment District "Speakeasy" source Map:




Comment on this page to contact me if you want a custom map for your specific quest!





Wednesday, December 13, 2023

On privacy, anonymity, scarcity, and exclusivity

"The Garment Worker" by Judith Heller

Reposting from 10/1/16
Reposting again from 7/10/18
Now I need to add to it.
Reposting again 12/13/23.

And what am I doing? Engaging, learning, working with people who think similarly. Strong baby steps.  Many others are doing the same.

I've been particularly interested in unasked questions lately.  You know... those nagging issues that pop up in our heads, spawn interesting dinner conversation, and make us wonder how to even begin researching the answer(s), that is... assuming we can properly articulate the question.

This is an aside, but trust me... it helps me explain my point here. 

A friend of a friend has a Twitter account.  I didn't know this friend-once-removed well at all, and she didn't directly share her Twitter account info with me, but she told me a story that referenced a celebrity and the response she got to a tweet she'd made, which I later looked at, and then casually explored her other tweets.  I had no particular feeling about this person, not knowing her at all, but, after looking at the shrine to self absorption and profanity her Twitter account revealed, I now have a somewhat negative opinion of her.  Before I explored her Twitter account, this alter-ego would have been anonymous.  But now, she has a name, and a face. 

But she also has the right to semi-anonymously express herself, right?

In the USA, I can say with confidence that we all pretty much assume we have a general right to privacy.  But, do we also have a right to anonymity? If not, should we?

Sure we do, in my opinion, but... what is this anonymity spawning?

Anonymity creates new and imagined "people" with other agendas, lives, needs and ideas.  It takes the "human being" right out of humanness. That Twitter persona you create?  Is it you?  Is it uncensored you? Is it just a character?  Does it matter?

So here's where it all comes full circle.  Last week, a family member said to me, "Oh, I bought this great sweatshirt at Old Navy.  It was kinda pricey, you know, for Old Navy"  She pulled it from the bag and showed me  the pricey sweatshirt.  It was a good-looking sweatshirt, but I too, was surprised by the price.  "Where was that made?" I asked her.  "Hmmm... I dunno..." she said.  "Look at the tag," I pointed to it. "It will say." 

"Hmmm... Don't see it..."

"Hand it to me."

"Ok.  (tiny print) Cambodia."

She rolls her eyes, knowing what I am about to say.

"That's okay," I said. "You don't have to care who made your clothes, much like no one cared that your enslaved great-grandfather picked their cotton, or that your grandmother..."

Her hand goes up to me, protesting my objection.  

"Listen, I care.  But you don't have to. I can make a choice not to buy that sweatshirt.  I can also make a sweatshirt... but the reason you don't care, is that you don't know those people, those conditions, the situation that led you to buy THAT shirt. Who knows?  Maybe it was made by a Cambodian who is doing just fine, living well, and enjoying life! Or... Maybe I'm completely wrong, and that person is in tears... right now, wondering how long they can keep this up... right now."

Conversation done.  Now, that sweatshirt hangs, unworn, in her closet. I think I made my point. Am I being overly dramatic?  I don't think so.

But there are endless layers to this type of problem.  The biggest, and most important, is that we just DON'T know what we DON'T know.  Where does my fabric come from?  How was it dyed? And if I expand this line of questioning to ask where my handbag came from/Where did my dinner come from?/Where/How for most things I own... There are layers and layers of anonymous labor and resources.  We can cherry-pick causes until we're blue in the face... and to what end?

In the current media environment, everyone has an opinion.  Often with a profit motive. Some people scream their thoughts.  Loudly. Offensively. Mean-spirited thoughts people feel compelled to share. To that, I say, feel free to broadcast whatever you want to say, but you absolutely MUST OWN IT.  Show us who you are. Our activism is backward.  We need to work on the things that give voices to the voiceless. 

If you ask me, oppressors have no right to oppress anonymously. If asked who is making the clothes, specific answers should be required. Do I mean that people should be allowed to wander up to your doorstep and confront you?  Peer in your windows? 

Absolutely not.  That would be about privacy. But there should be space for everyone to express their thoughts, without being stifled... as well as a firmly protected right to publicly disagree with you.  

"Where was that shirt made?" Like it or not, this question has an answer. "Who made that shirt?" definitely has an answer.  Remember when you could open a package of underwear and see na inspector's number tag enclosed?

Frankly, I don't have time to make my whole wardrobe.  Nor do I have the time to make yours. Nor do I want to. Nor do I have time to research every step my clothing has taken before arriving at the store where I buy it.  The vast majority of us don't.

So what do we do about that?

Personally, for now, I plan to let my heart lead the way.  I'm gonna continue to seek the stories of the long established fabric shops in the district - places where the vendors have been deeply involved in the business in a very organic and true way, for a long time. I'll share those stories. I'll let you  know what I find.

Thursday, August 3, 2023

Friday, July 7, 2023

Speakeasy shopping trips!


 

So excited!  The first one is TOMORROW!!!! (written July 25)


If you have registered for a Garment District Shopping Tour in July or August 2023, look out for an email from me on/by July 20th confirming our meeting place, and some other details specific to your excursion. (note - you should have received an email from me by now.)  The  itinerary for each day will be different, so the email your receive will contain details which are specific to your group.


Things to know:


  • Wear comfortable walking shoes
  • Bring along a rolling bag to reduce fatigue - some stores will ship for you,  but not all.
  • Let me know if you have any food allergies/unique dietary needs the restaurant will need to consider.
  • Dress appropriately for the weather.



Friday, October 21, 2022

Baltimore, MD Association of Sewing and Design Professionals conference

  Heading off to meet with colleagues, my fellow Board Members, and friends in Baltimore, MD for a few days of conference, meetings, and events. I'll share my personal experience on Instagram! (@shopthegarmentdistrict)




Thursday, December 16, 2021

A photo essay... the highlights of a garment district trip or two... or three, maybe?

There's more to these stories.  This is what the garment district looked like a few months ago (August). Go to my Insta for more...

 

Riding in an EMPTY subway car

Beautiful flower from Schmalberg


Gotta use some bleach to make these work...



Fabric pleated