Hot Schmatta

I was doing some side research for Globalization Communication recently and came across this article found on the Jerusalem Post. Apparently HBO is airing a documentary on the Garment District in New York, “Schmatta: Rags to Riches to Rags.” Schmatta, yiddish for rags, was used to coin the booming tailor, clothier business in the golden age of the Garment District in NYC, when many Jewish immigrants came to America, in the 40’s and 50’s. One, not quite astonishing, figure from the article was of the dramatic decrease in actual clothing production in the USA from 95% in 1965 to only 5% today. I wouldn’t be surprised if out of that 5% domestic production, American Apparel was 2.5%, not really. I watched the spiel tonight and it is a fantastic, historic look at how Fashion Avenue came to be and how it’s being replaced with high rise, luxury hotels as garments are increasingly being made overseas in places like Bangladesh. The film has appearances by Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein and Dian Von Furstenburg, but the true stars are the founding fathers who came to America with a dream and a machine, a sewing machine that is. They called the Garment District the “Ellis Island of Fashion.” See how America came from rags to riches, to rags again, and as the film conlcudes, how we’re right “back at 1911.”
On a fun side note- for the top ten yiddish phrases you should know, click here.


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