Green Shoots in the Heart of Brooklyn
Part 1 of a special report by Emma Tynan
Situated between Fifth and Ninth Avenue, from 34th to 42nd Street, the historic New York garment industry that originally lived at the heart of the American fashion manufacturing has been in steady decline since the outsourcing of manufacturing to the Far East. According to trade association Save the Garment Center, established to promote New York’s Garment District, in 1960 ninety-five percent of clothing sold in the US was made in the US, but now it is just 5%. The remaining manufactures in the area are struggling to keep this vital resource and piece of fashion history alive. “If we lose our manufacturing infrastructure, we risk losing future generations of emerging designers, and losing our status as a leader in the world of fashion”, said Nanette Lepore, New York designer and spokesperson for Save the Garment Centre in a recent article.
In 2010 Mayor Bloomberg and the New York City Economic Development Corp launched Fashion.NYC.2020 to develop strategies to rescue the ailing garment district. After all, it makes financial sense; according to their findings the New York fashion industry currently accounts for 5.7% of New York City workforce, employs 173,000 people and generates $10 billion in total wages and $1.7 billion in tax revenues.
“New York City is the fashion capital of the world, and the factors that drive that success-the creativity and expertise of our talented workforce–present us with competitive advantages we want to capitalise on,” said Mayor Bloomberg. London, Paris and Milan may dispute Bloomberg’s comments, but with 846 fashion brands headquartered there, the Big Apple has more than all three of these cities combined, and a manufacturing industry.
Among the designers based within the garment district, there are an ever-growing number of ethical and sustainable fashion brands manufacturing their collections in the city. This week contributor Emma Tynan brings the first in a selection of sustainable fashion brands that are playing a vital role in not only supporting its historical garment district, but also in keeping the Big Apple at the top of the fashion tree. First up: modern minimalist Tatiana Inglis.
“Less, but better” is the philosophy behind the label of Brooklyn based designer, Titania Inglis. “The absence of decoration serves to highlight the subtle twists in the construction, and each garment is meant to be visually striking, yet versatile and easy to wear,” said Inglis in a recent interview.
A graduate of Design Academy Eindhoven and the Fashion Institute of Technology, Inglis spent time honing her skills with cult New York based designers Camilla Stærk, Jean Yu and threeASFOUR.
Her sustainable approach to design has not only won over customers, but has also won her the 2012 Ecco Domani Fashion Foundation award. All her collections are made in the garment district from sustainably sourced fabrics, including organic Japanese cotton, stock materials left over from the local garment factories, and vegetable-tanned French leather. Inglis also implements a zero waste fabrication and pattern cutting technique in her designs where by garments are cut and stitched to avoid any waste.
The result is a seriously sustainable, slightly Gothic style, coveted by fashionistas and eco-istas alike.
For more information, please see: www.titaniainglis.com