The Heart of NYC’s Fashion Industry | The Garment District

February 16, 2017
Brown Eyed Toast - The Garment District - Featured Image

I’ve long lived just a mere stone’s throw from one of the most understated yet vital parts of the NYC Fashion Industry: the Garment District. To many, it looks like just a stretch of claustrophobic Midtown buildings, dotted by dress shops and fabric stores. But little do people know, this is where fashion designs come to life. Before all of the glamour of NYFW and the dazzling array of outfits strutting down the runways, designers and garment makers give structure, texture, and color to those first sketches in the Garment District. But of course, there’s so much more than just fashion here as well – there is a burgeoning shopping scene, vibrant nightlife, and other hidden gems just begging to be Instagrammed. While the list goes on, these four places are among my favorite for a taste of what the Garment District has to offer. Read more after the jump!

Mokuba New York

Mokuba is a specialty ribbons and trimming store with everything manufactured and imported directly from Japan, as well as the hands down go-to for brands, design students, and even your every day crafters. (Not to mention bloggers – their ribbons add the perfect touch to flatlays!) Hidden away on 38th street, the store normally boasts a chic store front with large windows offering passers-by a glimpse into their colorful assortment. At the moment, a construction awning currently obstructs the exterior, but a chic and simple sign with the brand’s logo guides shoppers into the boutique, lending an air of even more exclusivity and the feeling that you’ve stumbled into a paradise where all your trimming dreams come true.

Names from Alexander Wang, Derek Lam, Carolina Herrera to Brooks Brothers or Swarovski all recognize Mokuba’s authority in this space. The store prioritizes novelty, variety, organization, and efficiency – you can easily spend hours looking at the variety of designs (in fact, this is encouraged as they celebrate curiosity and inspiration) or you could easily pop in, speak to one of their amazing staff members regarding a product, and be easily in and out in just a few minutes (make sure to ask for Shelly if you do). This is by far one of the most organized and best displayed trimmings stores in the Garment District, and it certainly lives up to its motto of “the most exquisite ribbons in the world.”

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The Allen Schwartz Showroom

The Garment District also houses more than just manufacturing retailers – it is also the home to countless brands and their showrooms. Stories high above the bustle of traffic, many choose to base their brands in this neighborhood. What exactly is a showroom you ask? It is a dedicated space where designers can showcase their collections and meet with clients and conduct appointments. In a city like New York where the buyers at department stores lining 5th Avenue can make or break a label, the sheer advantage of being located close to them facilitates much of that process.

One of my favorite designers, Allen Schwartz, has long been rooted in the Garment District for all these exact reasons. A veteran of the fashion industry, Schwartz is strategic and understands the merit of being located so centrally in this neighborhood. And the benefits are clear: with so many resources just a call away or down the street, he can translate this into all-the-more intricate and fashion-forward designs for his advanced-contemporary eponymous collection, Allen Schwartz. Not only is is about strategy, but it’s also about staying true to the company’s strong Americana culture as well as their steadfast support of local manufacturers. Schwartz firmly believes that the Garment District is the hub of the fashion capital, and as for his show room location, he wouldn’t have it any other way.

Granted, members of the public aren’t usually privy to these showrooms (although certain brands do host sample sales in their offices, so never say never!), but it’s fascinating to think that hidden away in sleek spaces lined with racks of beautiful clothes such as that of Schwartz , this is where the true business of fashion takes place. And given this, who knows who you’ll run into when wandering the streets of the Garment District!

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Culture Espresso

There are so many beautiful cafes and fun restaurants in the Garment District, but Culture Espresso takes the cake when it comes to coffee, service, and ambiance. In fact, this is one of my favorite places to refuel and find a moment of peace in the hectic Midtown area. Chandeliers dangling from their lofty ceilings, baked goods from Ovenly and Underwest Donuts to pair with the outstanding coffee plus perfect latte art to boot, and not to mention marble tables – this is basically every Instagrammer’s dream! Take to social media to see the endless rave reviews and their picture-perfect cups of java for further proof. Another huge plus? Their location is perfect – centrally located in Midtown and just three blocks from Bryant Park. Spend hours in their gorgeous space or enjoy your cup to-go while people watching. Regardless of whatever you choose, their fantastic team will be happy to oblige.

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The creativity of the Garment District isn’t limited to just fashion and manufacturing – it’s only natural that the food scene follows as well! One of the biggest culinary trends in the past year has to be poké, a traditionally Hawaiian raw fish salad. Think sushi in customizable salad form. My favorite place to get a fix is Pokéworks, located in where else other than the Garment District 🙂 Compared to other places, Pokéworks serves up generous portions with super fresh ingredients. Every time I visit, I always end up with more than enough leftovers for a small second meal (although if my stomach would allow it, there certainly wouldn’t be anything left). If you haven’t tried poké yet, make sure to visit this place ASAP. And if my glowing endorsement didn’t win you over just yet, that long line down the block every day without fail should speak volumes. (Don’t fret- the line moves quickly and the wait is well worth it!)

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Outfit details from above: Mon Purse Hunter Green Clutch | AYR Coat | 3.1 Phillip Lim Plaid Jacket | Karen Walker Sunglasses | New Balance 247 Luxe Sneakers | Stuart Weitzman Highland Boots | Fox Fur Boa

When people think New York, so many minds leap to neighborhoods like Soho or the Upper East Side. But so often, they forget the hidden gem that is the Garment District. Not only is it one of the most buzzing and lively areas of this city, but it’s also the epicenter of one of the most important industries that NYC is known for, fashion. And to complement all that energy, there are countless restaurants, rooftop bars, and shops just waiting to be explored. So the next time you visit or just walk through Midtown, don’t forget to pass through the Garment District and take in the true beating heart of New York.

In partnership with The Garment District Alliance; all thoughts and opinions are my own. Learn more here: The Garment District NYC

As always, thanks for reading and hope you enjoyed!

Signature xo Soo

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  • Reply Candi February 17, 2017 at 7:02 am

    Looks like you had an amazing time in the Garment District in NYC, I haven’t checked it out but I will next time! Your shots make me wanna go NYC all over again, I miss it so much already!

    Candi xx
  • Reply Diana February 17, 2017 at 4:36 pm

    OMG, I have to visit some of this places. Usually when I come to NYC, I do a lot of tourist stuff because I like to learn about NYC but I barely went to shopping places. I hope we can meet next time!
  • Reply Kate Tik February 17, 2017 at 8:49 pm

    I love this list and need to go to these places next I’m in NYC! I definitely have not been able to explore the garment district, but it is on my list for sure.
  • Reply Aldora February 18, 2017 at 8:19 pm

    WOW the Garment District looks fun! You make me wanna visit Soo! And Pokéworks sounds like some Pokémon themed café but what a twist! The food looks delish as well and I bet NYC will be a great place to visit – added it to my bucket list ?

  • Reply Jenny Wu February 18, 2017 at 8:23 pm

    I Just love this post! It has been so long since i’ve been to NYC! It’s way over due for a visit and will definitely check out these places!!

  • Reply Jennifer Lee Quattrucci February 18, 2017 at 8:55 pm

    All I want to do is visit the Garment District now ! I had no idea all there was to see and do in that section of the city. I would absolutely adore spending time in the ribbon store and I’ve never tried poke but it looks so interesting. This is such a well thought out and detailed post. So delightful!
  • Reply Ana Vukosavljevic February 19, 2017 at 7:03 pm

    I will save this list for sure! Its amazing how many interesting places there is in NY, I guess you never really get to know New Yor 😀 . Mokuba place its like a dream, I would love to go there!!

    Thanks for sharing.
  • Reply Rachel Holliday February 19, 2017 at 7:52 pm

    The Garment District looks so dreamy! I could spend hours in that ribbon store- it looks so lovely. Also, the Allen Schwartz pieces look super beautiful, how wonderful that you got to go into the show room.

    Rachel xx
  • Reply Maggie February 20, 2017 at 2:58 am

    Wow, you just made the garment district look so much better than the one in LA. Haha. Mokuba is seriously ribbon heaven. I work in costume design and that store is like a dream! When I visit NY next time, I’ll have to definitely check it out. I’m always on the lookout for a good coffee joint and while I’m sure there are plenty in NY, this one seems really cute. Thanks for sharing everything. I always find your posts so inspiring!

    Maggie S.
  • Reply Kierra February 20, 2017 at 3:01 am

    I am so in love with this post. Your writing is wonderful and photos are great. I loved the Garment District when I was there and I sure didn’t experience it the way you did. I must go back. Be my tour guide? Please! haha. Also your outfit is so super cute.
  • Reply Eliza February 20, 2017 at 9:11 am

    What a great post! I’m planning my trip to NY this autumn, so I’ll definitely include this area into my must-visit list. I literally adore such places, like those you’ve mentioned!!! Everything is so amazing, they are definitely worth visiting!!!
    Cheers, Eliza |
  • Reply wanderlustts February 20, 2017 at 10:42 am

    You know what that is so true! A lot of times when people think of New York City they often think of the big tourist spots like the Empire State Building and Central Park, but we have to give credit to the hidden gems that really make New York as great as it is!
    Honestly I’ve personally never heard of Mokuba before but maybe it because I’m from Toronto, and omg it’s got to be the biggest ribbon store I’ve ever seen!
    And of course we can’t forget food even in the garment district hehe! Man I really want to try that Pokeworks place now! The food looks so well presented and healthy too!
    This was so informative! Definitely opened my eyes to other places in New York I have to stop by and give a chance whenever I come back!

  • Reply Jessie February 21, 2017 at 8:08 am

    It has been so long since I have visited NYC. Would love to attend the NYFW one day! Did you visit any of the shows there while you were there babe?

    Btw, the food from pokeworks look so yummy and healthy! can’t wait to visit NYC again.

    xx, Jessie
  • Reply Everest February 21, 2017 at 8:16 am

    This district looks like a treasure cove of gems waiting to be slowly discovered and appreciated. Mokuba looks like the perfect heaven of ribbons. I’ll definitely wana spend a day or two exploring the area when I am in NY.

    Kisses from Singapore,
  • Reply Sarah Atiq February 21, 2017 at 11:41 am

    I visited New York when I was younger, because my brothers used to live there. But I haven’t been back in 10 years and it has been on my list of cities to visit and explore. The garment district sounds like the perfect place and I can’t wait to experience it one day. I would love to see the Designer Showrooms and try out the cool Cafes. Thanks for showing us a different side of New York (at least it was new to me 🙂 ).

  • Reply Katya Bychkova February 21, 2017 at 4:04 pm

    Your photos are so stunning and really captured the spirit of the Garment District! Thank you for sharing your experience at Allen Schwartz showroom, it’s such a beautiful space and his faux fur jackets are beautiful!
  • Reply Miki February 21, 2017 at 5:05 pm

    The Garment District has so much to offer and you really captured some incredible spots on this post! I love the fashion boutiques in the area, but would love to spend some time wandering through the showrooms, cafes, restaurants and seeing all the artistic spots there. That ribbon store also sounds amazing, too. Love this post.

  • Reply manda February 21, 2017 at 10:07 pm

    This was such an intriguing post! Thank you for sharing! You really captured so much detailed beauty of the Garment District. Artistic spots like this are live giving for me. I very much need to (and will) visit both the coffee shop and Pokēworks.

    Manda |
  • Reply Christine Kong February 21, 2017 at 11:05 pm

    This reminds me so much of DTLA but much cooler because we all know fashion is born and bred in NYC! I love the inside peek at the Allen Schwartz showroom and the ribbon store is heaven to a person like me who loves all sorts of ribbons! That coffee shop is the cutest and I die for that wallpaper. We have a Pokeworks here too which I love because who doesn’t love fresh fish and all that yumminess? Thanks for this inside look at the Garment District and when I visit NYC I will make sure to stop by there as well! XOXO, Christine
  • Reply Jacque February 21, 2017 at 11:13 pm

    This seriously makes me wanna go back to NY so much. I don’t think I’ve ever even been to the garment district! I’ll have to check it out next time! Hope you had so much fun girl!
  • Reply maryam February 22, 2017 at 12:03 am

    I used to live in NY and this post make me miss it so much. I need to go back visit soon.

    xo, Maryam

  • Reply It's Goldie February 22, 2017 at 5:22 am

    I just love this post about the Garment District! I’ve only been to NY once but I am planning on visiting again soon. And the Garment District with these awesome shops you recommended will definitely be on the list! Such an insider tipp!

    And on another note: Girl you look awesome! I love your outfit, so sophisticated and stylish!
    Keep up the good work! I am looking forward to your next posts!

  • Reply EVA February 22, 2017 at 8:29 am

    Hello dear!!
    I’M feeling reading this post catapulted at NY. Great info around Garment District, thanks for share us.
    Sending love from Italy
  • Reply Sheree February 22, 2017 at 1:54 pm

    I’ve visited the garment district a long time ago when I was in town visiting friends and I really liked the hustle and bustle. Christine was right it does feel somewhat like the Arts Dirstrict of DTLA minus all the tall buildings. The glimpse into Allen Schwartz’s show room is so good, loved all the jacket and coats. And I always love finding a great coffee shop wherever I go. Next time I visit NY I would have to find my way there again to explore.

    ~ xo Sheree
    Posh Classy Mom
  • Reply Gina Diaz February 22, 2017 at 4:22 pm

    This district looks so beautiful and fun! definitely, will visit when I go to NYC next time!!! Thanks for such a lovely post!! Xx.

    @ginadiazh |
  • Reply Open Kloset February 22, 2017 at 5:39 pm

    Hey Sweetie:)
    So Amazing Places, Want to visit all:) If I go to NYC I will use your list for sure, You showed So Great Places:)
    The Pokeworks I checked now and So cool:)
    Thank you for your detailed post:)
    Love and Happy Week
    Kisses Hugs
  • Reply Thomas Falkenstedt February 22, 2017 at 5:54 pm

    Woah, apparently I’ve been quite oblivious to the fact that there’s more to NYC than I was aware of. Thank you so much for introducing this hidden gem to me which I’ll be sure to include on my next trip there. It truly looks like paradise for designers and creative minds of any kind. And you fit you fit perfectly into that environment!
  • Reply Tandya February 22, 2017 at 10:26 pm

    Such a great post! I love that you are showing the behind the scenes and not so glamorous part of fashion. This reminds me of the garment district in Downtown LA. I’ve had many dresses designed for me there. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply Hadasah Love February 22, 2017 at 11:17 pm

    Hi girlie,
    what a great post, you’re so lucky to have experienced this amazing district!
    Can’t be wait to be in town to visit it, Mokuka seems fabulous, so it’s already on my list!
    By the way, congrats on the photos, loved them as they’re very artistic..
    best wishes,
  • Reply Lily Rose February 23, 2017 at 10:52 am

    I’ve actually never heard of the Garment District before. Obviously, I’m not a New Yorker. And you’re right it’s not one of the things I would’ve known to visit when I visit NYC. But thanks to this post, I’m totally heading this way. I love all the shops you’re introducing here. All so chic and amazing!

    -Lily from With Love Lily Rose
  • Reply Len Parent February 23, 2017 at 1:00 pm

    You look absolutely stunning. Gorgeous model 🙂 Lovely photos doll!
    Much love, Len
  • Reply Darlene February 24, 2017 at 6:19 pm

    TO be honest, i have never been to NYC. It must be so glamorous and amazing to live in the very heart of it! I’ve always dreamed of coming here being obsessed with sex and the city. But thru your blog I’m getting to know more about this place. As a fashion buyer graduate I have studied about the garment district where most buyers go. I would love to go here someday! such a great writing too.

  • Reply Vanessa February 28, 2017 at 3:55 pm

    Love this post! It’s unique. As a stylist and fashionista I found this post very informative. New York is a major fashion center in the world . I went to New York for fashion week a couple weeks ago, but I didn’t have the opportunity to visit the Garment District.

    Enjoy your day!

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