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Stoll America Knitting Machinery, Inc.

Stoll America Knitting Machinery, Inc. 1 Fabric Headquarters and Offices Garment District Hudson Yards Times Square

Founded and headquartered in Reutlingen, Germany, Stoll manufactures and sells knitting machines, providing a backbone to which many of our favorite fashions are affixed. Stoll New York, however, is a special Stoll, and does quite a bit more than that. The machines are available for use by designers, who can bring in their clothing ideas and, in concert with the in-house team, fast-track a small number of the garments for fashion shows or as a tester before deciding whether to produce the items in larger quantities. The who's who of fashionistas have come through these doors. Beth, acting as our tour guide, explained: "we work with our team to make their imaginations a reality." The machine room, where this alchemy happens, plays host to an air-puffing, churning scene of machines like old typewriters chugging away at their sartorial duties. These machines, though, can be complex, and take some instruction to use optimally. Thus, there are instructional classes offered on old-school manual Stoll machines from the '50s and '60s, educating designers on the particulars of different stitching techniques. Sammy, one of the male members of the Manhattan Sideways team was lucky enough to chat with a student who had just completed a day of class. She showed off the progress she had made on a scarf design in the span of one day. Sammy commented that it was considerable, and the herringbone pattern was impressive. He was then given the opportunity, himself, to put a couple of stitching lines into a scarf. He declared it "thrilling," but a surprisingly physically demanding experience.

In the technical room in the back, designers link different pieces of garments flawlessly, stitch by stitch. Beth showed us the linking lines on the sweater Sammy was wearing, and it began to hit home how much all of these intricate processes come together to shape the world around us. In a corner, archives of past Stoll-knitted garments exist as a resource for designers to peruse for inspiration, technical insight, and hopefully to encourage designers' artistry as well.

As Sammy said, "it was a lot for a fashion neophyte like myself to wrap my head around," but Stoll exists as quite the singular force in the Garment District: part educational, part manufacturing, part sales-focused, part inspirational, and wholly professional and full of joy. Sammy, upon leaving with a sweater keychain knit by a Stoll machine, announced, "it may immediately be the most well-made garment I have."

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Stoll America Knitting Machinery, Inc. 2 Fabric Headquarters and Offices Garment District Hudson Yards Times Square
Stoll America Knitting Machinery, Inc. 3 Fabric Headquarters and Offices Garment District Hudson Yards Times Square
Stoll America Knitting Machinery, Inc. 4 Fabric Headquarters and Offices Garment District Hudson Yards Times Square
Stoll America Knitting Machinery, Inc. 1 Fabric Headquarters and Offices Garment District Hudson Yards Times Square
Stoll America Knitting Machinery, Inc. 5 Fabric Headquarters and Offices Garment District Hudson Yards Times Square
Stoll America Knitting Machinery, Inc. 6 Fabric Headquarters and Offices Garment District Hudson Yards Times Square
Stoll America Knitting Machinery, Inc. 7 Fabric Headquarters and Offices Garment District Hudson Yards Times Square
Stoll America Knitting Machinery, Inc. 8 Fabric Headquarters and Offices Garment District Hudson Yards Times Square
Stoll America Knitting Machinery, Inc. 9 Fabric Headquarters and Offices Garment District Hudson Yards Times Square
Stoll America Knitting Machinery, Inc. 10 Fabric Headquarters and Offices Garment District Hudson Yards Times Square
Stoll America Knitting Machinery, Inc. 11 Fabric Headquarters and Offices Garment District Hudson Yards Times Square
Stoll America Knitting Machinery, Inc. 12 Fabric Headquarters and Offices Garment District Hudson Yards Times Square
Stoll America Knitting Machinery, Inc. 13 Fabric Headquarters and Offices Garment District Hudson Yards Times Square
Stoll America Knitting Machinery, Inc. 14 Fabric Headquarters and Offices Garment District Hudson Yards Times Square
Stoll America Knitting Machinery, Inc. 15 Fabric Headquarters and Offices Garment District Hudson Yards Times Square
Stoll America Knitting Machinery, Inc. 16 Fabric Headquarters and Offices Garment District Hudson Yards Times Square
Stoll America Knitting Machinery, Inc. 17 Fabric Headquarters and Offices Garment District Hudson Yards Times Square
Stoll America Knitting Machinery, Inc. 18 Fabric Headquarters and Offices Garment District Hudson Yards Times Square
Stoll America Knitting Machinery, Inc. 19 Fabric Headquarters and Offices Garment District Hudson Yards Times Square
Stoll America Knitting Machinery, Inc. 20 Fabric Headquarters and Offices Garment District Hudson Yards Times Square
Stoll America Knitting Machinery, Inc. 21 Fabric Headquarters and Offices Garment District Hudson Yards Times Square
Stoll America Knitting Machinery, Inc. 22 Fabric Headquarters and Offices Garment District Hudson Yards Times Square
Stoll America Knitting Machinery, Inc. 23 Fabric Headquarters and Offices Garment District Hudson Yards Times Square

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Steinlauf & Stoller 1 Fabric Garment District Hudson Yards

Steinlauf & Stoller

Since 1947, Steinlauf and Stoller has been devoted to selling sewing notions. I stopped in and spoke with Dan Stoller, the grandson of the founder, who explained that as the years passed, the store's reputation and the charisma of the Stoller family kept the business afloat as the garment district around it largely struggled. Today, this store continues to sell the merchandise it has been peddling for over sixty years: thread, scissors, shoulder pads, bra cups, anything needed to make clothes other than fabric. The old-school approach is evident the minute I walked in the door.Equally apparent: the influential presence of Nancy, a wildly popular figure in the area who puts on snaps, grommets, rivets, and the like. Signs in the front window advertise her presence and the limits on times when folks can utilize her services. I was puzzled at first, but I quickly understood why: she is an amazing human being. From the first word we shared, she was familiar, benevolent and kind. Nancy began work in the garment district in the late 1960s and has been at Steinlauf & Stoller for sixteen years. She has perfected her craft beyond many others. Her longevity gives her some perspective on the changing times, and she chatted with me about the garment district as she sewed on snaps. The changes have disturbed her (as they have many, presumably): "I've never seen so many vacancies as in the past few years." Those vacancies, of course, are quickly filled by "banks and restaurants," and the district is losing a bit of its flavor. "It's dying out, it's scary to me," she reported, alongside tales of friends out of work whose jobs have flown elsewhere for the long winter. Of course, change happens, but it is poignant to see a fashion district lifer so affected. I must encourage others to find something that needs Nancy's attention, and come chat with this lovely personage.

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Mood Fabrics 1 Fabric Hudson Yards Garment District

Mood Fabrics

I could not resist getting caught up in Clare's enthusiasm as this Manhattan Sideways team member spotted Mood Fabrics, a second floor shop on 37th Street. Having never watched "Project Runway", I was clueless about this business, but eager to share in her excitement as we ascended in the elevator. Walking the aisles with her, I decided that there was no one more appropriate to do a write up than this adorable college student from California:When I visited Manhattan with my mom a number of years ago, the hit TV show, "Project Runway", was our latest obsession, and we made visiting Mood a high priority on our to do list. Project Runway is a reality show for aspiring designers to compete for the chance to show a collection at New York Fashion Week. The series uses Mood as its source for all the fabrics and materials the designers need to create pieces for the various challenges over the course of the competition. My mom and I eagerly explored the countless aisles of Mood, admiring the gorgeous colored fabrics and vast assortment of buttons and ribbons.We certainly stood out as tourists among the many knowledgeable people strolling the floors asking for "ten yards of this" and "eight yards of that," but we made an attempt to blend in by buying a yard of what we thought was the prettiest ribbon in the store. We also could not resist buying a T-shirt printed with Project Runway mentor Tim Gunn's famous phrase "Thank you, Mood," and I am guilty of taking a photo with Swatch the dog, who has many guest appearances on the show.Visiting the store again a few years later, I still had just as much fun getting lost in the maze of roll after roll of fabric stacked up to the ceiling. Watching fashionable design students measure out just the right amount of material made me wish I could make lovely clothes to show off on the runways at New York Fashion Week! My second time around at Mood, I was also thrilled to learn a bit of the history behind the famous fabric store.Much more than just a business whose popularity expanded outside of the fashion world with the airing of Project Runway, Mood Designer Fabrics began with designer Jack Sauma in 1991. He grew up in Lebanon and Sweden, and moved his family to New York, opening Mood originally as a fabric wholesaler. It was not until 1993 that Mood started to do retail sales, and once it did business grew so quickly that by 2001, they had to move into their current space of 40,000 square feet.Mood has another location in Los Angeles, however the Manhattan location remains the flagship of the business, drawing a constant flow of customers - from students in fashion school to designers, to people who simply love to sew. Currently, Mr. Sauma's two sons oversee Mood and its online retail site. I could not help picturing the Project Runway competitors running frantically up and down the stairs of Mood in search of the perfect material as I wandered through the store, and I felt compelled to imitate Tim Gunn as we headed towards the elevators with a wave and an approving "Thank you, Mood!"

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Offsite 1 Event Planners Event Spaces Tenderloin Garment District Midtown West

Offsite

There are intriguing spaces sprinkled throughout the city that invite corporations to utilize their facilities, but stepping inside Offsite is a unique experience designed specifically for the business meeting clientele. The brainchild of Patrick Everett and Shawn Kessler, they have created a stunning turnkey facility where all day conferences can be held. Companies are invited to bring their employees together for a productive 9am-5pm meeting in the three levels of fully equipped space, which can then be flipped effortlessly into an appropriate venue for an evening event. The rooms are configured so that some forty people are able to sit around one gigantic table or be rearranged into smaller units. Attendees never have to feel confined to one space, as they can move around freely on each floor, dividing up into smaller breakout sessions, when necessary. The rooms are versatile and technology oriented, fully outfitted with AV equipment - as Patrick referred to it, "plug and play." Endless pens and pads, drinks and snacks, including large jars of enticing candy, are provided throughout the day. The partners have paid attention to every detail, taking into consideration exactly what they believe their clients will require, including a small executive office that allows for a private phone conversation and a myriad of white walls that are actually whiteboards. Offsite works with some of the terrific catering facilities in the area to provide top lunches and dinners for groups, and everything is served on their attractive dishes. While being given a tour, Patrick told me that he had been an event planner. When he discovered that there was something important missing in the corporate world, he found his niche. As he began to imagine the possibilities, he worked diligently on his concept with Shawn. Basically all one has to do is book the space, and the rock star team at Offsite will handle the rest.

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Horticultural Society of New York

In 1902, many major companies in Manhattan - such as JP Morgan and Tiffany – had collections of exotic plants and intricate gardens. They formed the Horticultural Society of New York as a forum to exchange information and trade practices in the science of horticulture and the care of these botanical treasures.By 1914, the organization began hosting what might be considered the equivalent of today’s film festivals or fashion weeks: flower shows, where the most modern and extravagant plants could be displayed. “Every state had a flower show at their horticultural society,” explained Executive Director Sara Hobel. “There were competitions at the shows and all the ladies in the suburbs led their own flower clubs.” In addition to the flower exhibitions, the society took on bigger projects, namely the reforestation of French land after World War I.With time, the original aims of horticultural societies lost their appeal; flower shows became less popular, and as people farmed or gardened less and less on their own, their need for information declined too. The times were changing, but the HSNY was determined to change with them.In the 1990s the organization began centering its efforts around social service and urban issues. Their employees work in the field as teachers, therapists and builders – some visit schools to educate the younger generations on urban blight and the role plants and gardens play in society, others use therapeutic gardens to help inmates at Rikers Island or struggling ex-offenders, and some build gardens for places that cannot afford it themselves. Although the Horticultural Society operates mostly in the field, the headquarters on 37th Street still houses a library and organizes workshops and lectures to educate the public on the imperative role of nature and gardens to the community. “Especially for the less well off, who may not be able to afford to plant or eat greens, it is important for us to bridge that gap. We all need to help heal nature,” Hobel says.