We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Long Live the Industrial City - New York City’s garment district illustrates that manufacturing can still be vital to the innovation that cities foster.
Fashion is an intensely iterative process in which time becomes an obstacle. “When you move into higher-end design, there is so much spontaneous creativity happening that you don’t want to wait a month to see your garments,” says Tina Schenk, owner of the pattern-making company Werkstett. “One design is based on another. You want to keep the process going, you want to continuously look at the things that you’ve been designing.” Andrew Rosen, a third-generation garmento who founded Theory, a fashion company that now grosses half a billion dollars a year, remarks, “Just from an efficiency point of view, I can make clothes faster here. Which is not to say we haven’t shortened the lead times in China—we have. But there’s a lot more logistics that need to happen from 12,000 miles away than from 12 blocks away.” As Edward Glaeser notes in his new book The Triumph of the City, one thing cities do well is eliminate the “curse of complex communication.”
And as any Project Runway viewer knows from those trips to Mood Designer Fabrics, the massive garment district emporium where the reality TV show’s contestants scout for chiffon and charmeuse, it’s important to have the raw materials of fashion within easy reach. Fabric needs to be touched. “It’s not a flat medium you’re working in,” says veteran designer Anna Sui. “When you gather a piece of fabric, sometimes because of the thickness of it or the loftiness or the bounceability of it, you never know how it’s going to react.”
I still miss the blocks of garment racks blocking all the sidewalks over there, and the hordes of rude and crude "garmentos."
Yet at the same time, many corporations have spread themselves all over hell's half acre, even within a single business unit. Partly this is the result of acquisitions, partly the result of key employees who don't want to move, partly the result of the theory that physical proximity doesn't matter any more.