How interns can save the garment district

By QC

While interns work extra hours and run endless errands, fashion interns could very well be the hope of the garment district that has conveniently gone unnoticed.

1. By putting a start to the conversation.

For most first-year fashion design students, the concept of production is likely to only go as far as swinging by the school campus supply store to buy pattern paper or running over to Paron Fabrics in search for the cheapest yardage of fabric.

However, the topic of the garment district and the idea of its disappearance could be enough to light up a conversation from intern to intern.  While the New York fashion industry is small, the fashion intern community is just cozy enough to get the talk started.

2. By observing and asking questions.

Young ambition not only has endurance, but it is also equally contagious.  Interns have the youngest and the freshest eyes in the fashion industry in the way that they’re dreams are fresh, more likely to be open to new ideas, and quick to jump for opportunities that come their way.  If the garment center needs anyone talking about the saving of the district, these social butterflies could have that powerful impact by using social media personal conviction, especially if they have any interest in producing their own lines in the garment center.

“Proximity is connected to creativity” –Yeohlee Teng

Interns can start observing and educating themselves by asking questions about production, sourcing, and above all- why make it in midtown?  Now more than ever, the garment district needs the younger generation to understand what is happening in the garment center.

Some facts:
There are 24,000 apparel manufacturing jobs in New York City that make domestic clothing production possible.

If made in midtown, it’s easy to correct problems during production and replenishing the supply if something is sold out.

The garment center offers an advantage to emerging designers by being able to produce small minimums.

3. By becoming mentees.

Hard labor is a shame to waste.

Instead of blindly jumping into an unpaid internship, those who are searching for internship experiences can do their research on the industry along with reading internship reviews and finding out what they’d like to learn in their experience.  Interns who are close with their mentors who know much about production in the garment center and can teach them the concept of producing locally are part of the future sustenance of the garment district.

While fashion students scatter their talents all around the city season after season in hopes to pin down an educational internship that could lead them into more promising opportunities, many simplify the idea of experience.  Many students do tons of internships, but there are other things they can do to be a part of the garment center community by talking to factories and discovering the best places to source things.

The image of internships has shifted and the exploitation of free labor in the fashion industry is common knowledge.   Interns can save themselves from blind experience and open themselves up to new and well-researched opportunities.

A few garment center resources:

AboutSources
Infomat
The Fashion Center @FashionCenterNY
GIDC @GIDC
Made in NYC @MadeinNYC
WeConnectFashion @ConnectFashion
Save the Garment Center @STGCnyc

 

 

written by Tiffany Ouyang, Editor

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© 2014 Quality Control

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