NYC: From 7th Avenue to Fashion Avenue

NYC: From 7th Avenue to Fashion Avenue
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The New York city is on every garment exporter’s top list, be it women’s wear, men’s fashion, kids wear or soft-home collection. We all are aware of how mighty the US would be geographically or physically but that’s not why all the exporters eye this massive market. It is the hub for all things fashion. The story of 7 Avenue to Fashion Ave is quite an interesting one.
While the original garment district lies in the Manhattan borough of New York, here are some other prominent fashion districts spread across the world.
  • Fashion District, Toronto.
  • Jermyn Street, London.
  • Quadrilatero Della Moda, Milan.
  • Los Angeles Fashion District.
  • Montmartre, Paris.
50 years ago, part of Manhattan’s Seventh Avenue became Fashion Avenue. Though the title was supposed to be temporary at first-little did we know that the street would become synonymous with being host to a line of globally renowned fashion designers and big brand labels. The idea was to develop a street that simplifies the process of fabric making, from  dying to manufacturing, printing and making the final product ready for the brands.
Each of the big four fashion capitals of the world has its own fashion legacy: Be like London, Milan, Paris or New York. They have the ecosystem to thrive, but what went behind making the brands what they are today is the real deal. The initial idea was to have a fashion lane which was supposed to be temporary, but years passed and the street now is synonymous with fashion. If you’re a tourist sitting on a hop on hop off bus in New York city, you cannot miss the mention of Fashion ave when passing by the 7th Avenue street.
The roots of Seventh Avenue's association with fashion can be traced back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries. At that time, New York City was rapidly growing and undergoing significant urban development. This led to the rise of the Garment district in the late 1800s, when garment manufacturers and clothing designers began to establish themselves in the area around Seventh Avenue, between 34th and 42nd Streets. This concentration of fashion-related businesses led to the formation of what is now known as the Garment District.
The Garment District became the epicentre of the American fashion industry. It was a place where fashion designers, manufacturers, wholesalers, and suppliers came together. Therefore, it became the go to space for anything related to fashion-from manufacturing and production to designing was taking shape. It was the go-to place for anything fashionable. The biggest factor here is the proximity of various businesses that allowed for collaboration, innovation, and rapid production. It allowed the stakeholders to have better collaboration during production and solve any unnecessary delays that hampers the production pace and create a collaborative production marketplace.

Accessibility and Infrastructure:

The location of the Garment District was strategically important. It was close to transportation hubs, making it easy for fabrics and finished garments to be shipped in and out. The infrastructure and proximity to suppliers made it a convenient choice for fashion businesses. Therefore, once the garments were ready, the shipping was a much easier task to be taken care of via New York ports, exporting orders all across the continents.

A designer’s paradise:

Many iconic fashion designers, such as Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, and Donna Karan, established their design studios and showrooms in the Garment District, contributing to its status as a global fashion capital. The area was known for its innovation in design and production techniques. This gave way to a beeline of a range of other fashion designers and became the go-to place for every other fashion designer to set up their studios. You name it and there was a design studio for that very designer. Going past the street, it is every fashionista’s candy story to be in.

Fashion shows and events:

Seventh Avenue became synonymous with fashion not only because of the presence of fashion businesses but also due to the numerous fashion shows, events, and trade exhibitions that took place in the area. The New York Fashion Week, for example, was traditionally held in and around the Garment District, solidifying its reputation as a fashion hub.

Challenges and Changes:

Over the years, the fashion industry has evolved, and globalisation has led to changes in the way clothing is produced and distributed. As a result, the Garment District has faced challenges, including rising rents and competition from other fashion centers worldwide. The land availability diminished and so came the demand and supply imbalance leading to the street becoming uncompetitive for the designers to operate it. Therefore, a number of designers did not subscribe to this space.
While the Garment District's influence has waned compared to its heyday, it remains an important part of New York's fashion scene. It still houses numerous fashion-related businesses, showrooms, and fashion schools. Seventh Avenue is a historic symbol of New York's fashion heritage, and it continues to play a role in the industry's ecosystem.
Seventh Avenue's transformation into "Fashion Avenue" was a natural evolution driven by the concentration of fashion-related businesses, accessibility to transportation, and a rich history of fashion innovation. While its prominence has shifted over the years, it remains an iconic part of New York City's fashion history and culture.