Stitch in Time: NYC Garment District Inspires Archer Hotel
The New York City Garment District is home to the first Archer Hotel. Cutting a modern figure on West 38th Street, this lux Midtown Manhattan Hotel is a boutique property claiming the neighborhood’s styled history as the design muse and literal foundation for the undertaking of Archer’s great project: a return to the offer of gracious city living and sincerity in service.
Choosing the right location in New York was paramount to the launch of the ambitious service project. Archer had to choose a neighborhood with important history and robust energy in order to present a property that means to reach back and shake hands with what was good about past eras. The Garment District provides the perfect foundation.
The history of The Garment District, which is typically considered to be the portion of the Manhattan borough of New York City from 5th Avenue to 9th Avenue between 34th Street and 42nd Street, includes an industriousness-meets-creativity-meets-opportunity story that is iconic in the telling of modern American history.
In its early years (as far back as early 1800’s and before individual sewing machines), men’s clothiers produced tailored items and mass amounts of uniforms in the district. The neighborhood was later the birthplace of what we now call “American style” and the home to our country’s first marked effort at personalizing and maintaining availability of fashion and tailoring for men and women in the United States. While American women didn’t all have substantial means, they wanted nice clothing produced with their active lives in mind.
Paris was the place Americans usually looked for fashion authority, and even most American-created fashion was based on French guidelines before the fashion houses of Paris became strained during World War II. During that time, a true seam was sewn in the New York Garment District between readily available skilled labor, ambitious designers and business people, affordable space for production, and a willing purchasing public. Branching out from uniforms and menswear, designers and production houses began creating women’s ready to wear and the United States’ own version of high fashion.
550 5th Avenue
Beginning in the 1940’s, there was one address in The Garment District eliciting the most respect. 550 5th Avenue evoked confidence in any garment it produced. Designers from different design houses like Norman Norell (called “the rival of Paris”) and Claire McCardell (the acknowledged creator of “The American Look”) helped solidify the address and the neighborhood as the center of American fashion. Those who worked or lived in the area treasure images of men rushing down the avenue with sample racks throughout the business day.
Current District Trends
Today, The Garment District is part design center, part fashion capitol, part fantastic trim shops, and part new industry. Tech start ups, upscale food and beverage outlets, arts centers, and are beginning to become part of the fabric in the neighborhood right alongside fashion design schools and design houses. Many are concerned about the lessened use of the district for garment production, while many are excited to bring new industry in.All agree that maintaining the vitality of the neighborhood is a shared goal. With respect and regard for the historical rise of the Garment District as a fashion design center, and with vibrating enthusiasm for the future of the neighborhood, Archer Hotel New York becomes one of the neighbors and part of the Garment District story.
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