The New York Garment District: Peek "Behind the Seams"

Ever wondered what it's like to be a professional designer? Join us for an up-close look at the New York City fashion industry!

Racks of clothing being wheeled down the street in the NYC Garment District, as seen on a Seek tour.

The New York Garment District remains crucial to the business of American fashion, with the headquarters or branch offices of countless fashion labels located on and around “Fashion Avenue.” The New York Garment District area also plays home to numerous fabric and trim stores, sample makers, theatrical costume shops, pleaters, tailors, patternmakers, fabric and leather wholesalers, button makers, and countless other industry suppliers, as well as wholesale clothing companies and designer showrooms.

Amid streets bustling with designers and with racks of clothing whizzing by,
Garment District Tour participants have the chance to experience firsthand what it’s like to be a part of the New York fashion industry. And since everybody– from professional designers to fashion students to home seamstresses– utilizes the same sources, it’s not uncommon to bump into a costume designer putting the finishing touches on a Broadway show, or meet an assistant swatching for a major fashion house. In addition to fabric shopping, tour participants learn the history of the garment industry and see important neighborhood landmarks like the Fashion Walk of Fame, the famous “Needle Threading a Button” statue, and Project Runway locations like Parsons, Mood Fabrics, and Bryant Park.

Fabrics for sale in the NYC Garment Center, with Parsons visible across the street

Love to design & sew?
Fabric shopping in NYC can be an overwhelming experience for out-of-towners, especially since the stores are quite different from suburban craft and fabric chains. In addition to their familiarity with shop layouts, swatching procedures and yardage minimums, fabric shopping tour guides can offer shopping advice, like which store is best for fine silks and which one has the biggest selection of printed cottons.

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Enjoy fashion history?
Garment District tours explore the history of the industry from its earliest beginnings as a home-based business in the tenements of the Lower East Side, to ready-made garments and loft factory manufacturing, to the shift to overseas production, to the recent efforts to revitalize the New York garment industry and the renewed interest in "Made in the U.S.A." apparel and accessories.

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Special Showroom Visits
During Fashion Week in September and February, Seek tour guests are invited into the workrooms of local fashion designers and manufacturers for an up-close look at the design process. Past visits have included
The TrimLab Showroom, Aysha Collection, Brooke/Tassoul New York, and others. With advance notice, showroom visits are sometimes available for educational school groups visiting at other times of the year.

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NYC Garment District Tours

"Do not miss out on this tour (I hate to even call it a 'tour' is sooooo much more than a tour) I would suggest booking early in your visit to NYC so you can go back on your own to shop in the fabric stores to your heart's content."
—Trip Advisor Review