Garment District Tour in New York

March 15, 2007 at 4:43 pm 10 comments

Our two whirlwind days in New York began with an organized tour in the Garment District with Tightwad Treks (Elegant Tightwad Shopping Excursions). As soon as we stepped off our Midwest Airlines flight at La Guardia, we called Pam Parisi, the tour diva, to arrange our meeting at 3-14-07-garment-district.jpgthe first showroom, Linda Richards on West 38th Street.

Here we found very high quality coats, suits, jackets and more — bound for the biggest of the big-name New York stores. Current and next season items were available for purchase — all at a substantial (I mean SUBSTANTIAL) coats-at-linda-richards.jpgsavings over retail. She also had about 300 pairs of one-of-a-kind Bettye Muller designer sample shoes selling for $75/pair instead of the $300-$400 retail price. These are the kind of shoes sold at Bergdorf Goodman and other top stores. (She does not always have shoes. Her employees areSample Bettye Muller Shoes. not yet “cutting” for next season, so the shoes were displayed on the cutting table. But if they are cutting, you can see them in action. Linda Richards, like the other designer showrooms we visited, is not open to the public. But she does offer a public sample sale during the week before Easter and the week before Thanksgiving.

More Backroom Fashions.
We visited another 6 or 7 showrooms, most small but most intriguing. None of them sell retail to the public, and most do not want their names used. But the styles covered a wideAnother “unnamed” designer showroom. range from chic and sassy to classic. Sizes available were primarily sample sizes. One shop actually purchases designer items from retailers, copies the designs and then makes their own patterns to create copies. A few shops had accessoires, belts and purses — but for a better selection, take the Accessories Tour.

Back Fashion Cult. I think the most fun showroom was that of Back Fashion Cult, owned by a very nice woman named Sihan. She had funky, chic and very fun clothing and accessories, primarily French and Italian lines. A woman from Dallas was on our tour with her 17-year-old daughter. Their mission was to find a memorable prom dress. Sihan had dozens to show her and every dress the young woman tried on looked absolutely terrific. No girl in Texas will have a dress quite like she will as Sihan’s clothing is unique, sophisticated and totally unlike any traditional prom dresses you’d find on department store racks.

Custom Fabric Flowers — Showroom and WorkromOne more workroom/showroom of interest was M&S that made custom fabric flowers for couture apparel, bridal, millinery and home decor markets.

We loved the tour. Pam and her assistant tour leader, Pilar, were wonderfully accommodating as they tried to recommend showrooms that suited the interests of the people on the tour. I’d definitely take the tour again!

NEXT: Shecky’s Girls Night Out

TIPS:
1) Plan Your Tour.
If you have enough women, ask for a private tour. That way you can go to the showrooms most suited to your style, size and fashion sense. But if you go with multiple generations in your group (Grandma, 40-somethings and teenagers), you’ll find that every showroom will not suit everyone in your group. Go with women of similar age and taste and you’ll be happier.
2) Talk to Pam Before Your Tour. Give her an idea of what you might be looking for — an evening dress, business suit, casual, funky, tiny sizes or mature sizes, etc.
3) A Variety of Tours. Tightwad Treks also offers an Uptown Consignment Crawl, an Accessory Addict Tour, Vintage Clothing Shop Tour and a Downtown Diva Tour.
4) Tour Prices. Tour prices start at $45 for a 2-hour tour. Ours was $90 for a 4-hour tour. Pam also gives information about current sales that you can attend on your own after the tour. And she gives each participant a copy of her book.

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Entry filed under: New York City, NYC Sales.

New York Is a Candy Store (and we’re drooling) Fabrics, Buttons, Sample Sales in New York

10 Comments Add your own

  • 1. rita booke  |  May 22, 2007 at 10:29 pm

    Hick from mt going to nyc..I have a small retail store in mt. We are going for some great deals on Canal street. Just thought you might know of some places that I may go to with a business lic that I may get some unique items at a good price. Clothing,shoes,sunglasses ect…any other info that could be helpful would be much appreciated.

    Reply
  • 2. tish  |  May 23, 2007 at 8:53 am

    Rita — I don’t specifically know where someone with a business license can buy. BUT, if you’re looking for clothes, you can check out the Garment District area and perhaps call Pam Parisi of http://www.The ElegantTightwad.com which I referred to in one of my NYC posts on the Garment District. That’s the area in which all the big store buyers come to select pieces for their stores.

    You can try 30th and Broadway area — also referred to in one of my NYC posts where I bought a Brighton lookalike suitcase set for $80 — which by the way has held up wonderfully on my travels and still looks brand new. There are a lot of small shops there with purses, luggage, costume jewelry and perfumes. All very reasonable. The perfumes are real and good prices. LOTS of costume jewelry stores. Whether you go there or Canal Street, HAGGLE, HAGGLE, HAGGLE.

    But I think if you surf the Internet, you should be able to find the wholesalers that sell to these shops and get an even better price.

    Good luck on your trip.

    Reply
  • 3. Gabriel  |  July 26, 2007 at 5:32 pm

    I love M&S Schmalberg. The business has been around for about a century and looking around tthe showroom and production area (that’s right, they actually make this stuff in the middle of manhattan!) is a lot of fun.

    Reply
  • 4. tish  |  July 27, 2007 at 8:57 am

    Gabriel — I can’t find a web page for this business — just a business description regarding dried and artificial flowers. Can you tell us more about M&S Schmalberg? I assume they have a shop that’s open to the public? What kinds of things can you buy there and how are the prices?

    I see they are located at 242 W. 36th Street (#7) — which is between 7th and 8th Avenues. About 2 blocks NW of Penn Station.

    Thanks much.

    Reply
  • 5. Retro Fashion  |  October 12, 2007 at 6:38 pm

    All the old stuff I wore as a child is coming back. Kinda scary and makes you feel old, but it looks great most of the time.

    Reply
  • 6. crystal  |  March 27, 2008 at 4:03 pm

    Hi,
    I’m looking for places where I can buy costume jewelry wholesale or in bulk. I need to get a few sets for bridesmaids in a wedding. I remember going somewhere in manhatten where I had to buy packages of 10 and the sets were very nice. Actually it was a whole street of stores with jewelry. I just cant remember where. Can you help me out.

    Reply
  • 7. milliana  |  June 1, 2008 at 8:28 pm

    New York city has some of the best clothing and jewelry in the world. It’s is awesome for shopping – besides shopping online!

    Reply
  • 8. Edie  |  June 3, 2008 at 6:36 am

    I am looking for knockoff/designer inspired hanbag wholsalers in the nyc garment district to buy quantity from. Or NJ.
    I found one or two places on the web but they were out of state and I want to see what I am buying.

    Thanks

    Reply
  • 9. diane peterlla  |  September 16, 2008 at 11:26 am

    How do you get a guide to take you on the garmet district tour of shops/ Coming into NYthis Sat and want to shop in the garmet district.

    Reply
  • 10. gwen walton  |  July 6, 2009 at 9:21 am

    I am in my mid-30’s. I would like to come some time in July/August. I have every other Friday off. Therefore, I would like to come on a Friday. I am trying to find something dressy, sexy, classy, and elegant for the CBC in September. I might also be interested in some sterling silver jewelry.

    Reply

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