#196 Ready to Wear: A History of the Garment District

The Garment District in Midtown Manhattan has been the center for all things American fashion for almost one hundred years.  The lofts and office buildings here still buzz with industry of making clothing -- from design to distribution.

New York's long history with the ready-to-wear apparel industry has an ugly beginning -- the manufacture of clothing for Southern slaves. Garment production thrived here by the middle of the 19th century thanks to thousands of arriving immigrants, skilled in the production of making clothes.

By 1900, most of the clothes in the United States were made below 14th Street, in the tenement neighborhoods of New York. The disaster at the Triangle Factory Fire in 1911 brought attention to the terrible conditions found in New York's new loft-style factories
Fears of the clothing industry encroaching upon Fifth Avenue provoked some New  York businesses to stop working with garment sector unless they moved to particular area of the city.  And so, by the mid 20th century, hardly a stitch was sold in the United States without it coming through the blocks between 34th Street and 42nd Street west of Sixth Avenue.

Listen in as we describe the Garment District's chaotic rush of activity  -- from the fabulous showrooms of the world's greatest designers to the nitty-gritty bustle of the crowded streets.

FEATURING: Ed Koch, Lauren Bacall, George Opdyke and Brooks Brothers

WARNING: This show is bursting at the seams with clothing puns!

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