fashion history + the silk city

Secret history geek that I am, I loved this little video with a brief history of the fashion industry and Fashion Week here in NYC, more than a little bit in comparison to the NYFW madness going on around me.  I was psyched to see a video from a publication that addressed fashion history in terms beyond what the biggest designers sent down the runway and the richest, whitest women wore to the most public events; it’s easy for us to forget the sheer number of people participating in the fashion industry, the large majority of whom cannot wear any of the clothing actually produced, and also of the extent to which the development of an American fashion industry is closely intertwined with the development of both American and NYC identity and history, on all levels from labor organization to architecture. 

Which got me thinking historically about things I’d forgotten — much of my family hails from Paterson, NJ, nicknamed the “Silk City” for its heavy silk an textile production in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and a huge percentage of my family worked in the textile and clothing industries in various ways, from working in the silk mills to working at the now-defunct Meyer Brothers department store, which is taking epic amounts of internet research to find anything about ANYWHERE, alas! (My grandfather is full of stories of working in the “dye-house,” as he calls it. He was probably, like, 14.)

And so: Lil’ history lesson after the jump! So you can stop looking at everyone’s iPhone shots of the runway for 10 minutes!

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Jersey shore trashiness somehow is more endearing when it’s 15 years old, and when everyone and everything in it basically looks like MY CHILDHOOD. Sort of. 

Also: that girl with the shoulders cut out of her button down shirt talking about how she beat up some bitches and then screaming for someone when the public phone rings since, like, calling the boardwalk phones was apparently a way to reach people who might be hanging out there in pre-cellphone days? I know she’s probably, like, painting nails in Bayonne or Nutley or something these days, but seriously, I need that shirt.  [Thanks Heidi for the link.]