Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Shopping the Fashion District - As Seen Through the Eyes of a NYC Virgin!

Arriving in the Big Apple was exciting and a little overwhelming! The first thing I noticed was how much smaller LaGuardia is than the airport in Atlanta! I was out of there in about 10 minutes! In Atlanta it would have taken that long just to find my way out of whichever terminal deck I was in! My taxi driver was from Russia with a strong accent. He regaled me with NYC news stories, and his favorite recipes! He has a fear of motorcycles and helicopters. But not of NYC roads. He got me to my hotel without incident, unfortunately, my room was not yet ready, even though it was almost 5 p.m. So in their kindness, the hotel management gave me a voucher for a free breakfast. How sweet of them. Somehow I have the feeling that most all guests receive them.  I got unpacked and immediately set out on the streets of New York City - on my own! The streets were easy to navigate, being all straight and even, numbered or named. I walked about 10 or 12 blocks, going in and out of a few stores, then headed back to my hotel. I stopped at a deli outside the hotel and grabbed a bit to eat up in my room. My room was very small - but then how much room does one person really need, anyway? I slept pretty well, except for the hard as rock pillow that gave me a headache. Saturday morning I woke early enough to make sure I had time to walk the 8 or so blocks to the rendezvous point earlier agreed upon by my fellow PR'rs. These are women I had never met before, but had engaged in cyber-talk on We were all supposed to meet at Starbucks at 8th and 37th, but as I knew I wouldn't recognize any of them, I grabbed a bite to eat and headed to our first store. First up was Metro-Textiles. Normally closed on Saturday, Kashi was sweet to open his store just for our group! Our group had grown to such a large number that we decided to split into 2 groups. At Metro Textiles I found 2 'finds'! The first - the true find of the trip! - is a soft gray felted wool. It will be perfect for the vintage jacket I've shown with it -
 I also found a beautiful piece of Chantilly black lace, which I plan to use for a lace jacket - very simple.
The next store we went to was Elliot Berman, which was also normally closed Saturdays, but opened special just for us! Unfortunately, I didn't find anything there that I couldn't live without. Some gorgeous fabrics, but nothing I felt I had to spend my $$ on. We stopped to have lunch at a deli, rested our already tired bodies, and got a chance to visit and get to know each other a little better. Then we were off to Mood!
This was the store I would have to say I enjoyed the most! Although, I wasted way too much time looking at the designer fabrics. I was looking for a specific fabric - a silk chiffon in black with large red/purple flowers spread sporadically across it. This is for a formal dress I need to make for myself for our annual ICAS banquet/ball in Vegas in December. I finally decided the expensive designer fabrics were really way too expensive for me! I moved on to the silk chiffon that wasn't designer. I had to ask for help, because I just wasn't finding what I wanted, and in a store that size, I knew my fabric had to be there! Sure enough, I found what I was looking for - exactly!!! Then I moved on to find the black silk charmuese I will use under the sheer chiffon.
Here is the sketch I made for this dress -
I also bought a MOOD t-shirt for my designer student daughter, Brittany (who recently met Anthony from last years Project Runway).

I got one more piece of fabric - at Paron Fabrics. By the time we hit this store, we were all getting pretty tired. But this store had some great pieces, also. Lots of beautiful woolens, lots of knits. But I found a lovely purple and black silk jacquard. I found a silk lining to use to make another vintage jacket. This one is a pattern from Eva Patterns. It is an Audrey Hepburn pattern - can't wait to make this one!
Our group, as I mentioned, had to split up, but I did get a photo of the group I ended up in -

All in all, my day of shopping in the fashion district was not only a lot of fun, but successful in a business sense, also. At both Metro-Textiles and at Parons, the owners encouraged me to leave my card, and sent me away with theirs, telling me they look forward to hearing from me in the future, and that they will be happy to send me samples of anything I may need. Being that the only fabric store we have here is Gail K Fabrics, that is very good news. I left my new friends feeling so grateful to have come up to NYC to spend the day with them. There are almost no seamstresses in my circle of friends and acquaintances, but now, even though they are many miles away, I have many!
You may notice that I am wearing my Silk Dress that I recently painted! I wasn't sure about whether I really loved it or not; but my new friends all gave me such sweet and generous compliments on it, how could I not love it!
It was the perfect dress to wear for this shopping trip. It was so comfortable, cool and I felt good wearing it. Would have looked better with beige heels (you are right Cheryl!) but I refuse to do heels when shopping! Have to be comfortable.
By the time I returned to the hotel, I was pretty exhausted. Crashed  into bed and didn't wake up til about 8:30. I dresses, ate my free breakfast, and hit the streets of NYC again! I walked from 32nd and Broadway all the way to Central Park (they are preparing for Fashion Week, so I took a few pictures of these street 'decorations'),

 then through the park to the carousel,  on up 5th to the Museum, where I wandered into the gift shop, then back down 5th where I wandered through a few no-touch stores, found my way back to Broadway, and followed it back to my hotel on 32nd. It was 5:30 when I walked back into my room. My legs were so sore I could hardly move. My feet were fine, but ohh! the legs! After soaking in a hot bath, I fell into the bed and watched the Emmy's and fell asleep. Monday was an early and uneventful trip back to Georgia. I was ready to be home, and after my most enjoyable weekend away, I conclude that although New York City was/is a fascinating, wonderful, exciting place to visit, I would never want to live there. I sure am envious of all those fantastic fabric shops though.


  1. Candice how nice this is! That would be the trip of a lifetime for me! Especially to top it off with a trip to Mood! I've obviously never been to one and plan to someday! I truly envy you getting to do what you love for a living and pray I get to one day! Beautiful painted silk dress, looks great on you too!!

  2. Hello Candice,

    your blog is very nice and interesting to follow. I will follow you from now on. I have a question to you. in your archive in the 'shopping the fashion district' you talked about a textile which you bought from Metro Textiles a gray felted wool. I m looking such well designed original felted textiles. I live in Turkey, and ı wander that where ı can buy such textile and how much you paid for it?( approximately ıf you remember of course:)thank at at all.Sema ( to reply)