Fabric and Fashion in NYC

Running up to New York last weekend wasn’t just to go fabric shopping, but that was my number two priority for the trip (number one was to see friends). And yet… I spent most of my free time in the fabric stores!

New York's Garment District

New York’s Garment District

My first stop, however, was Manhattan Wardrobe Supply. After ten years of living in Manhattan, seven years of which were spent working on Broadway as a member of the wardrobe union, I had never been to the store. It was heaven! (That is, if your idea of heaven is shoe stretchers, shoe dye, hangers, sewing notions, organizers, steamers, and more. Frankly, my fantasy is a wardrobe/sewing/laundry room full of this stuff.) But then I made a bee-line for B&J Fabrics. This is where I purchased my gold reflective fabric, and I was hoping to find the silver. But I found something even better!

Reflective fabric at B&J

Reflective fabric at B&J

I bought a half yard of the purple and lavender each, but it was a hard call. NYC 072Now, before you say, “But that’s not very reflective,” let me show you what it does under a flash: NYC 071

I think it will reflect just fine! I have a few ideas of what to do with these, but a half-yard isn’t much (18″ by approx. 44″). But it’s $42.95 a yard, so…

Then I hit a few other places, hunting for the perfect gray and black fabrics to make my tux pants, but I couldn’t find anything I liked. I found a print corduroy that I loved, so I asked for a swatch, then asked my friend David Zyla for his opinion when I met him for lunch.

Print corduroy from Elegant Fabrics

Print corduroy from Elegant Fabrics

David is the author of The Color of Style, and is a brilliant costume designer and stylist. I worked with him on many projects, back in the day. So I was very happy to rush back and buy the fabric after he approved it. I think they will make great fashion pants – with reflective piping of course!

The print, with a solid gray for the tux stripe

The print, with a solid gray for the tux stripe

I also went to TrimArt to buy more reflective grosgrain. I tried to get colors I could use for more peplum tops or yoga mat bags, so red, navy, and a nice pink.NYC 068NYC 067

Pleased with my purchases (and feeling a bit poor), I ran through some of my favorite NYC stores – Joe Fresh, Uniqlo, Lord & Taylor, Ted Baker, Macy’s, Fish’s Eddy, Cole Haan (almost bought a reflective belt but decided to wait), and Old Navy just because it was there. I found a ton of great things at Joe Fresh and Uniqlo, but because I’d already spent my budget on fabric, those shopping sprees will have to wait for another time. I saw, but did not go into, a store with a fun window display –

Aritzia - "Stop Blending In"

Aritzia – “Stop Blending In” (perfect tagline for me!)

Aritzia chameleon from the window display - cute!

Aritzia chameleon from the window display – cute!

I also made sure I had time to visit the Fashion Institute of Technology’s Museum, to see their two exhibits.

FIT Museum

FIT Museum

The Fashion and Technology exhibit was interesting because it started off with historical technological advances, including the sewing machine, and ended with digital fabrics. The Shoe exhibit was fantastic! Such crazy shoes, some never meant for walking. Sadly, photos weren’t allowed in either exhibit, but they have pictures on Flickr.

Naturally, while I was running between 27th street and 53rd street, I stopped to take pictures of the bicycle infrastructure that is new since I lived there and last visited. Eighth Avenue now has a cycle track, which was full of cyclists, plus there are circular bike racks everywhere, and a great bike stand on 23rd street.

There are floating parking spaces on the outside of these lanes, almost in the Copenhagen style

There are floating parking spaces on the outside of these lanes, almost in the Copenhagen style

Covered bicycle parking, complete with a bike map posted!

Covered bicycle parking, complete with a bike map posted!

And I have to give a shout out to Zen Bikes, in Chelsea. Marco Quezada chatted with me for a bit about biking in NYC, and biking in general, before I had to run. He had a lovely selection of townie bikes, including the beautiful Viva bikes.

In front of Zen Bikes.

In front of Zen Bikes. Check out the size of that bike! I’m 5’10”, so…

Viva bicycles inside Zen Bikes.

Viva bicycles inside Zen Bikes.

It was a whirlwind trip, but quite satisfying. I’m already planning the next one. It’s so close and cheap to get there, so I really have no reason to not go more often. But for now, I have sewing to do!

A bike rack in front of one of my favorite fabric shops - how perfect!

A bike rack in front of one of my favorite fabric shops – how perfect!

 

 

 

 

5 thoughts on “Fabric and Fashion in NYC

  1. I love your blog! Congrats u have a new reader/fan! I’d love to see how that reflective and corduroy came out. I am an avid designer and small business owner based in NY. Keep up the great work

  2. I think B&J has a swatch service, so you could call/email and ask. I got a swatch while i was there, so if I need to call back and order more, I could. The guy wrote “S572” on the swatch # line, so maybe that will help? That was for the purple. But I don’t know how their system works. TrimArt told me that if I email them a picture of the trim, they could send me more. But I bet you could do the same and just ask for colors. They have at least a dozen different colors of the grosgrain.

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