Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Garment District Exploration - Hai's Trimming

Saturday shopping in the garment district is a bit foreign to me nowadays, but I have discovered that there is an entirely different energy in some of these stores on a Saturday, and I think I like it!

For one thing, performers and their costumers and stylists come out.  They dream and conspire loudly over the magic they want to create, hold things up, drape them on themselves, seek input, laugh and gesture theatrically!  Love it.

Hai's Trimming has a no photo policy, printed boldly on signs throughout the store, so I won't betray it here, but man, do they have some sun stuff!  

I'm particularly intrigued by the couture crystal necklaces pictured on their website here, since I think it is really fun to dress up something extremely ordinary (like a very basic tank dress) with over-the-top party pieces.

This store hasn't been on my radar until recently (client projects, not my own), but the layout and the prices are a real winner for a store of this type.  I tend to get overwhelmed and anxious when I am among an abundance of sparkly small things, because the sight of them all together often extinguishes their individual appeal. When it comes to display and layout, this store does a particularly good job.

A teen perspective - More conscious garment production and consuming, and my own dressing concept... "Tayo"

Note: This post was mostly inspired by my daughter, but also partially inspired by the simple routine act of my putting on my dad's beloved sweatshirt, again... nearly 13 years after his death.

On my personal Facebook page (about a month ago), I posted this:

My daughter: The English language needs a new word for "we, not including you".

Me: What do you mean?

My daughter: For example "We are going to the movies" can mean "you, too", or it can mean that I'm telling you where we are going, without you.

Me: So kinda like an inclusive "we" and an exclusive "we"?

My daughter: Yeah.

Follow-up: Rather than make up a new word, she suggested, we should find a language that already makes that distinction, and adopt their word for the "not you" version of we, directly.

I like this idea. Anyone speak a language where this distinction exists?

The best answer was (from a friend): Tagalog/Filipino has 

'tayo' and 'kami'. Tayo is inclusive we. Kami is exclusive we.

*She, of course, was intrigued by kami, while I was intrigued 

by tayo.

Me: If I make a shareable clothing line, I'm calling it "Tayo".


"Tayo" works very well as a name for a clothing line based on usage too. Much more comfortable than 'we' would, even if we ignore the ambiguity of inclusiveness. The Filipino idiom equivalent to "let's go" is "tayo na" where 'na' is barely a word, something just to indicate a sense of immediacy (or "completeness"). The phrase can also play the role of "let's do it" or the more broad "let's get going".

Tldr; Tayo seems like a great name for something that celebrates inclusiveness.

The documentary film "Cotton Road" premiered at the Tribeca Cinema on Friday, March 20, 2015.

Having seen a good number of documentaries and posts about more responsible, human-friendly, and eco-friendly production, I now feel that it is time to ask ourselves some of the more obvious questions.


Does your clothing have to be NEW, solely yours?  Unused? Current?

Does it need to be? Better yet, do you even want it to be?

Why does a jacket need to serve one life, with one primary owner?

For myself and my family, I have devised a new type of garment category, that I have lovingly named "Tayo".

*Sometimes I forget to conclude my point... this is an update to my rather abrupt ending.  So, just in case I didn't articulate it clearly, I am often moved by all of these stories chronicling how our clothes are made, and I feel the problem is too large for me to fight it alone, and yet I know that my own participation in the cycle is optional. I make things because I enjoy it, though, not some garment survivalist mission. So, for me and my close family, we can simply decide to pay attention to where/how our own clothing is made, and take a small step in that way.  At least it's a beginning.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

After visiting the new Sposabella Lace...

Did you know? Sposabella Lace has moved, and on Saturday, I visited with Frank and the gang while they were both open for business and setting up in their new space.

Brightly lit and just lovely, I was greeted with the same wonderful kindness I have grown to love there.

But... get this... there is now a bridal salon at the deep end of the store.  And now, in addition to custom headpieces, they also do alterations.  Can you believe it?

This store is directed at the high-end customer, or the extremely skilled and quality-oriented creative, and it is EXACTLY what the garment district needs.

The beautiful laces are suspended on headers near the front of the store, and some are displayed in cases, to be taken out by staff members if requested.  Don't be intimidated, and be ready to talk budget, if that is a strong consideration for you.

My personal favorite thing about Sposabella are the headpieces.  I bought my own headpiece for my wedding nearly 18 years ago from them.  It was gorgeous, and absolutely unforgettable.  See their current offerings here.

For your truly special events, Sposabella has always been, and will continue to be a fabulous place to go!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Garment District Store Exploration: Ayazmoon Fabric

Before you step into this store, know a few things:
I wonder why we need the word "real"?

Be ready for some high pressure sales techniques.

Be ready to haggle, and know that it is REQUIRED.  The price of anything in there is WHATEVER you will pay.  The prices are really whatever the goods are worth to you, as information on fiber content and quality is fairly muddy.

Know that it is a bit less clean than many garment district stores, and has a bit of a musty smell in places...

Know that it has a strongly international feel, and you will find a pretty wild rainbow of colors and textures you may find inspirational and interesting.

This Saturday, I walked in to this store and overheard a very heated debate between a potential customer and a salesman, with many threats to walk away, met by many aggressively friendly requests to return and attempt to meet somewhere in the middle.  It seems the customer wanted to buy fabric and lining, and was offered the lining as a "gift" if she chose to buy significant yardage of this pricey fabric, but the customer then chose to use a far more expensive fabric as lining, which was not being offered. References to past purchases and future promises were made (very loudly), terms like "friend" and "just for you" were thrown in, and the conversation continued as long as I spent there, and I'm sure continued long after I left...

This store has been here a long time, I've purchased a few things for special occasion garments here over the years, and I hadn't really found much of a reason to celebrate this store yet... but I do have a new appreciation for the possibilities of bold wax prints, and they have a fun, eclectic pile of them near the store's entrance.

So, my advice to anyone who shops here, is to not go when pressed for time, or when on a tight budget.  Be open to intense browsing/foraging, and, above ALL, remain silent unless you actually want to buy something.

Have fun!

Friday, March 6, 2015

A Fitting Solution

Updated - 3/6/15

This post is not about brick and mortar stores in the garment district; rather, it focuses on the fitting systems used by industry professionals to make garments that fit. These are names known and trusted by many of the firms you will find in the garment district. You can go to brick and mortar stores to get dressforms, but you'll want to do some homework first. If you sew for yourself, you may find that fitting yourself is a great challenge. Most of us don't have access to qualified, patient friends to help us with fitting.

So... what can you do? Here are some options: Find yourself a dress form. The most affordable, which you can use for fitting, but can be problematic for design work or anything more complex, is the Twin-Fit brand, which you can find, among other places, at SIL Thread. At this moment, you may expect to spend somewhere near $200 for one. Not the best choice, but a workable one. If your weight remains relatively stable, and you would like to make the investment in a form you can sink your pins into, and use for draping, get one directly from Wolf Forms, Ronis Brothers, Sewmark, or Andy's. Expect to spend $600 or more, depending on your needs. Wolf (mentioned above) can make a custom form for you, based on your measurements, but it will take time, and a visit to their New Jersey facility to have this done. If you have a significantly unique figure, anatomical challenge, and a healthy budget, this could be a good idea for you. Expect to spend in the vicinity of $1200 for a half body, or $2000 or so for a form with legs, custom made. Considering that people will pay this much for a custom garment, this is actually a pretty good bargain.

If you make things to photograph and sell, you can't beat Bernstein Display. You buy a great display form, and actually make your form part of your decor, if you get one from this company. So let's say you can get your hands on a used form, or you already have one that isn't exactly your size (hopefully smaller in some places than you are). 

Consider Fabulous Fit, a Brooklyn-based company you will only find online. With the help of some wonderfully shaped pads, you can build up the chest, waist, hips, rear end... wherever you need to add. An extremely affordable solution. (about $90)

You can certainly buy used forms, but there are some deal-breakers to be cautious of... A for that has sustained water damage A form that has been overused, and is now fragile, ripped up, or concave in places. A broken or off-kilter base. (because no one wants to fix them) A very old form (because the proportions are for a woman who wears very restrictive undergarments - unless you still do which case, I am both impressed, and maybe a bit concerned for you...) Finally, of course you can make your own form, as shown on YouTube videos (easily searchable), but it is not easy, and will require some materials... so I would say it is at least $200 worth of effort... so why not buy a Twin-Fit instead? Armed with this info, I wish you all a very happy fitting experience.