Do you love fashion? Have you always dreamed of becoming a designer or fashion buyer for a major retailer or boutique? Is your closet packed with the latest trends and your Pinterest board full of ideas? Then NYC's Garment District is the right destination for you!
Outside the fashion capitals of Europe, New York City reigns as the fashion headquarters of the U.S. All of this power is centralized in the Garment District, a neighborhood of Manhattan that covers less than one square mile between Fifth Avenue and Ninth. Home to the highest concentration of fashion-related businesses, workshops, runways, and designers in the entire world, the Garment District is the obvious must-see, must-experience destination for any fashion enthusiast visiting the Big Apple.
What has the Garment District accomplished in fashion, you might ask. Well, fashion designing icons such as Donna Karan, Calvin Klein, and Oscar de la Renta earned their start among the streets of New York's fashion capital and remain present with workshops, showrooms, and other offices. Because of the Garment District, you have a Nicole Miller handbag and DKNY clothes hanging in your closet. They've churned out so many unique, vibrant minds in a fashion that it has elevated New York's Garment District, one of many in the nation, to be on par with Paris and Milan.
Lucky for you, the Garment District recognizes its prestige and has a handful of tours available for curious visitors. The first and most popular tour is given by Mike's NYC Tours, led by Mike Kaback who worked in the Garment District for years and knows every in and out of the neighborhood like the back of his hand. The Free Garment District Walking Tour lasts roughly one and a half to two hours and takes you all over the best sites, landmarks, and unleash the history of the fashion industry in New York. We don't want to spoil all of the fun, but you'll learn about key historical events such as how the mass production of the sewing machine changed the industry and how the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire affected the Garment District and the city of New York. The tour stops at major landmarks of the area including the Fashion Walk of Fame, the Garment Worker sculpture, and perhaps a few showrooms and factories depending on the size of the group and the schedule. Mike's NYC Tours also offers a unique Garment Center Holiday Bargain Shopping Tour if you're in the city around the holidays. Because the tour is free, groups need to reserve their spots in advance!
Although Mike's NYC Tours is perhaps the most popular tour of the Garment District, it is by no means the only one. Take your pick of educational and historical tours or pure shopping tours which allow you, as laypeople, to enter into showrooms and manufacturing areas that are regularly closed to the general public.
First up, you have the educational and historical tours. There are a few options as to the tour companies to utilize, so take your pick of tours meant for students and aspiring fashion designers or those for general curious groups. See everything from the top design schools to fabric and trim stores, manufacturing sites and even meet industry pros who can give you tips on quilting, fabric care, and sewing. Take a tour to see how the garments are actually produced, from concept to the final product, visiting patternmakers, factories, showrooms, and graders. These are the best types of tours for student groups of prospective designers and avid home stitchers and quilters in their midst.
But...who can pass up an opportunity to take a behind the scenes shopping tour of the U.S. fashion capital? Led by knowledgeable guides with insider's information, shop at the best stores and get the best deals, be allowed in closed trade shops, or take a shopping tour designed around a particular interest. Some allow you to visit private showrooms and see the latest fashions, maybe even allowing you to purchase them at wholesale prices. Take part in sample sales, follow a true bargain hunter, and peruse every top shop from Fifth Avenue to Ninth Avenue.
However, technically you don't have to pay for a group tour of the Garment District when you can take a self-guided tour on your own. You might not be able to go into the showrooms and trade shops but you can see the Fashion Walk of Fame and explore the names from Ralph Lauren to Diane von Furstenberg, Donald Brooks, and Betsey Johnson among others. Walkthrough the streets and visit the best coffee shops and rooftop venues, surrounded by impressive architecture, and even stop in a few fabric stores. There are ways to see the best spots of the Garment District in a day, including the giant button sculpture in front of The Fashion Center!
Whatever you're looking for in a New York City Garment District and/or fashion tour, we've got you covered! Let us know exactly what you're looking for and we can put together an itinerary, set up the reservations, and let you enjoy your trip with relaxing ease!