New York is known as the fashion capital of the world, but how did it get that reputation? Turns out the Garment District, a business district in Midtown that’s less than a square mile, is part of the answer.

Up until the Civil War Era, most Americans purchased fabric and made their clothing themselves. A need for uniforms during wartime, though, helped propel a fledgling garment-making industry forward, powered by immigrant labor. By the end of the 1860’s, Americans were buying their clothing, rather than fashioning it themselves, and New York’s booming population and manufacturing infrastructure were poised to meet the increasing demand.

While textile manufacturing has declined in the U.S. and production has since shifted overseas, New York’s Garment District remains a vital part of the industry, generating $14 billion a year and setting fashion trends long before they hit the runway. Check out some of the designers and organizations that call the Garment District home and do their part to support New York as the Fashion Capital of the World.

Mood Fabrics   – with more than 40,000 square feet of space right in Midtown, you’re sure to find what you’re looking for at Mood, which supplies fabric to fashion designers and fashion students alike.

Caravan Stylist Studio  – A unique wardobing studio for private appointments, with a lounge space and even space for a conference room, Caravan Stylist Studio has a very local message: to promote the Garment District itself. Partnerships, events, and even pop-ups are all possible through this uniquely creative space.

3.1 Phillip Lim  – his store may be on Mercer Street, but Phillip Lim’s studio is right in the heart of the Garment District. Known for his minimalist, youthful silhouettes, Lim has been making a name for himself since his first collection in 2006.

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