I have no qualms in considering myself an expert in everything involving the garment district in NYC. From fabric, notion, and trimming stores to where to get the best food and drinks I know this little corner of midtown like the back of my hand. Up until last summer I had worked for almost 7 years in NYC as an Apparel Product Developer. I worked for a few different high end and contemporary brands you have most definitely heard of if you care anything about fashion of that level. Because of those jobs I have spent more than my fair share of my time in the garment district (like days and nights and nights and days, the work schedule can be rough come fashion week prep!). Since I was just back in NYC I thought it would be perfect to share all my “insider” knowledge! I can say I am very excited to share all the best spots for shopping for your next sewing or craft project when you visit NYC and since I know for a fact one can not sustain themselves on sequins and chiffon I have included a variety of spots to eat and drink when you have shopping fatigue!
I will be the first to say that the garment district is probably one of the more (if not most) ugly areas of Manhattan. It is not a place you come to sight see, though it is between Times Square and Herald Square. Basically all the buildings in this area are full of small garment factories, fashion companies, or other related business making it a place you come to get work done or shop for supplies. Wandering around the garment district can bring you head to head with rolling racks of production ready clothing being loaded up onto moving trucks, interns frantically rushing about trying to get all the last minute supplies needed to finish a brand’s next collection, to a myriad of other assorted people. It is an area that is full of life and commerce that is a true dive into what working in NYC is all about. The garment district is also situated right in between Times Square and Herald Square (ie where Macy’s is on the way to the Empire State Building) so it is easy to access if you are doing all the stops on what I like to call the tourist trail in NYC. The official garment district boundaries are 42nd to the North, 34th to the South and 5th & 9th to the East and West respectively but at the edges the neighborhoods really become blurred. I guess there is also a free walking tour sometimes if you look in advance? If you are really interested in the history it could be something cool to check out!
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
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NYC GARMENT DISTRICT FABRIC AND TRIMMING STORES
This list of fabric, trimming, notion, and bead stores in the garment district is by no means exhaustive as there are ton of little shops scattered about but these are the best stores. These are the stores frequented by interns from the fashion houses, students from FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology for those of you who are not up on your fashion lingo 😉 and it is F-I-T not fit like in shape) and Parsons. These stores are not your local fabric and craft stores. These are stores that cater to the fashion industry so some be prepared for some notable differences from your local fabric shop. The people that work in these stores can be kind of gruff but just roll with it, remember they deal with hundreds of people a day bothering them about all sorts of things so don’t take it personally. Also don’t ask questions unless you really need to. These shops are not for answering questions they are for buying the supplies you need. Also these stores as they are in the fabric district cater to garment creation (and some home decor) so don’t expect to much for quilting and definitely do not ask for a Fat Quarter to be cut for you, that’s not going to happen. That all being said these stores are all amazing for their selection and prices for a lot of things (especially notions!!!) so walk in with confidence and get your sewing or crafting on!
225 W 37th Street 3rd Floor | New York, NY 10018
If you have ever watched an episode of Project Runway you are already familiar with the now infamous Mood Fabrics. It is well known for a good reason, you can buy most of what you need at this multi floor fabric superstore. A lot of well know designers (often who’s offices are in the garment district) sell their extra fabric to Mood so when you spot a tag that says “from brand name” it really is from that company. Mood can be a bit complicated to navigate as the ground floor store front is only the home decor fabric, if you need to access the apparel and other fabric for your sewing projects enter into the lobby of the building and take the elevator up to the 3rd floor. The elevator ride is a bit of a flash to the past it’s self as there is an attendant who will always guess right that you need the 3rd floor ;).
New York Elegant Fabrics
222 W 40th Street Ground Floor | New York, NY 10018
For whatever reason this is one of my favorite fabric stores. The store is kind of dark but large with a vast selection. It is not as busy as Mood but still has a fantastic selection.
525 7th Ave 2nd Floor (corner of 38th Street)| New York, NY 10018
Not cheap but full of wonderful fabrics. If you are looking for something unique or for a special occasion you can find it here.
Spandex House Inc.
263 W 38th Street, Ground Floor | New York, NY 10018
There are a lot of spandex/ active wear fabric type stores in the garment district. Spandex House is one of the main stores to check out for all your stretch fabric needs.
Spandex World, Inc.
253 W 35th Street, Ground Floor | New York, NY 10018
If you still need more stretch in your life Spandex World also does not disappoint with their stretch fabric selection.
257 W 38th Street #1, Ground Floor | New York, NY 10018
In my opinion this is the best notion store as it is easy to shop yourself and the prices are great. They have all sorts of zippers for a reasonable price (around a $1 or less a piece for invisible!), thread, items like sewing needles, and more. Going into a Joann Fabrics or the likes for needles after buying a pack here is hard on the wallet!
Panda International Trading of NY
247 W 38th Street Ground Floor | New York, NY 10018
This is another notions store that is a little less shopper friendly as it is a smaller space. I always am going here with a purpose so I end up needing to be shown where what I need is. That being said if Sil doesn’t have what you want Panda probably does!
Steinlauf and Stoller
239 W 39th Street Ground Floor | New York, NY 10018
If you need specialty tailoring notions or other related sewing supplies this is the store for you!
1008 6th Ave, Ground Floor | New York, NY 10018
Most visitors stop at M&J Trimming and Mood Fabrics because they are the most “user friendly” if you will. Both stores are well illuminated and have relatively helpful staff and large selections. I personally do enjoy M&J Trimming but their prices are a bit higher than some other stores in the area though their ribbon selection is vast.
218 W 38th Street, Ground Floor | New York, NY 10018
Pacific Trimming is a great spot for nice metal zippers, buttons, ribbons, and all other sorts of various trims. This is always a good spot to check out when looking for a specific thing. Pacific Trimming carries a wide variety of zippers but most notably they carry Riri Zippers, a high quality metal brand.
263 W 36th Street, Ground Floor | New York, NY 10018
Botani Trimming is know mostly for buttons and high quality metal zippers. They have a large selection of all kinds of buttons and a plethora of colors of zipper tape and teeth for Lampo Zippers.
230 W 38th Street, Ground Floor | New York, NY 10018
Another place for buttons in the garment district 3G Trimming also sells and applies grommets and snaps.
251 W 39th Street, Ground Floor | New York, NY 10018
Another trim store with a variety of ribbons and novelty trims for a reasonable price.
149A W 36th Street, Ground Floor | New York, NY 10018
Your go to for sequins, feathers, and any other speciality trim.
109 W 38th Street, Ground Floor | New York, NY 10018
Like all the other stores Joyce Trimming carries buttons and ribbons and the like. They most notably, though, carry hot fix (ie iron on) rhinestones of various qualities including Swarovski.
162 W 36th Street, Ground Floor | New York, NY 10018
Shindo is a Japanese company and is one of my all time favorite ribbon and trim stores because they just have a lot of cool stuff and great quality basics.
137 W 38th Street, Ground Floor | New York, NY 10018
Mokuba is another Japanese brand that carries a wide variety of interesting trims. I do believe you have to be either a student or business to purchase from them but you can still pop by the showroom for inspiration.
990 6th Ave #3, Ground Floor | New York, NY 10018
Toho Shoji is a Japanese bead store that carries a wide variety of seed beads, metal findings, chains, and other unique items.
57 W 38th Street, Ground Floor | New York, NY 10018
A mecca for all your beading needs. From seed beads, to specific stones, to novelty items, to basic findings, Beads World most likely has what you need.
34 W 46th Street 3rd Floor | New York NY 10036
Okay, okay, I know, this one is not actually in the garment district BUT it is too cool of a store to skip. If you make jewelry you can buy basically all the supplies you need here. As per normal NYC fashion you have to wander up some random stairs or elevator to get to the store but it is worth the effort for all your jewelry needs
FOOD AND DRINKS IN THE GARMENT DISTRICT
When it comes to the Garment District everything is take what you can get, food is no different. While there is a lot of different restaurants in the area these are the ones I can vouch for being solid food and popular amongst the fashion employee crowd. I left out the obvious chain restaurants because if you want Chipotle you know how to find it (on 7th ave btw 37th and 38th that is). Also all cheekiness aside there is actually a bunch of good places on 9th Ave but that is like the very very edge of the garment district (its kind of really Hell’s Kitchen…) so I only included a few from there.
Best Bagel & Coffee
225 W 35th Street, Ground Floor | New York, NY 10018
There are better bagels sure but guess what in the garment district this spot is one of the best for a quick sandwich for breakfast or lunch and at a good price too. I like to get a BLT on a bagel, its good.
207 W 38th Street, Ground Floor | New York, NY 10018
This is a Korean Fried Chicken chain and is delicious. It is not super cheap but if you want some super tasty wings, this is the place for you. They also have super spicy ones!
221 W 38th Street, 2nd Floor | New York, NY 10018
This place has been around forever and is a fixture of the old school fashion crowd. The pizza is that delicious thin crust New York Style (of course) and is worth a stop in.
2 Bros Pizza
557 8th Ave, Ground Floor | New York, NY 10018
Now when you want to spend basically no money and get a quick eat (anywhere in the city really) the @ Bros Pizza chain comes to your rescue. The dollar cheese slice is better than pizza you will get at most places outside of NYC so don’t knock it till you try it!
Go! Go! Curry
273 W 38th Street, Ground Floor | New York, NY 10018
This off shoot of the Japanese Chain serves you guessed it Japanese Curry. It is pretty cheap and good if that is your sort of thing.
Dean & DeLuca
620 8th Ave, Ground Floor | New York, NY 10018
The famous grocery store has a location at the tip of the Garment District (almost Times Square) if you want some more healthful options. If you are not familiar with Dean & DeLuca it is not the cheapest option but sometimes it is just the place to go.
Carbone Ristorante Italiano
331 W 38th Street, Ground Floor | New York, NY 10018
A small but good Italian restaurant, usually not to crowded at lunch.
472 9th Ave, Ground Floor | New York, NY 10018
I honestly think I’ve only eaten at the restaurant once but have had more than my fair share of take out from here. The food is pretty good and reasonably priced
520 8th Ave, Ground Floor | New York, NY 10018
I really only am mentioning this because I have had to order take out for the sewers I’ve worked with so many times. It is decent Chinese food in a large restaurant, so if that is what you are in the mood for take a stop in.
557 8th Ave, Ground Floor | New York, NY 10018
Pretty good ramen in a convenient location what more can you ask? Do note the actual sit down area is quite small so be prepared to wait if you want to sit at lunch time.
522 9th Ave, Ground Floor (corner of 39th Street) | New York, NY 10018
Seriously this place is sooo good. I had never been before but it ended up being my last meal in NYC this trip and it was great. The lunch special is different everyday and consists of dip or soup + a skewer for $18.95. While the price can seem a bit high for lunch the amount of food and the quality is well worth it. You will be leaving more than satiated for sure.
1407 Broadway, Ground Floor (corner of 38th Street) | New York, NY 10018
A sandwich chain from Tom Colicchio (you might know him from Top Chef amongst many more esteemed accolades) that serves fantastic sandwiches and salads made from responsibly sourced ingredients. This location is one of the newest ones and has some other great spots opening nearby soon. Pro Tip: Stop by after 3pm for Coffee Happy Hour all coffee and tea beverages are half off!
So as the theme goes the Garment District is not the hip part of town so your hip and good coffee options are limited. These are my favorite two when I wasn’t just grabbing a cheap coffee with my bagel or from a breakfast cart man.
200 W 39th Street, Ground Floor | New York, NY 10018
There are a few locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn all have the same rules about no laptops so don’t come here trying to do computer work. That being said if you want a good coffee and pastry this is a great place to stop. I came here almost daily for a good long stretch of my employment on 37th street and they roast their own beans in Brooklyn.
247 W 36th Street, Ground Floor | New York, NY 10018
72 W 38th Street, Ground Floor | New York, NY 10018
There are 2 locations both basically in the garment district. Once my coworker and I discovered culture it became my favorite. They serve beans from various small roasters and have THE MOST AMAZING CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE. No joke. I am not usually one to buy cookies from places that are not unique cookies but man I tried their chocolate chip cookie once and was hooked. It also doesn’t hurt that the coffee is great. The 36th street location has more room and usually is less crowded.
The Garment District is void of a lot of cool places. I mean it is midtown manhattan and really close to Port Authority, Times Square, and Herald Square so it kind of goes with the territory. This list includes my recommended spots and some more “interesting” ones if you want a more unique experience.
District Tap House
246 W 38th Street, Ground Floor | New York, NY 10018
This is hands down my favorite bar in the NYC garment district. So much so that one of the bouncers and bartenders most definitely knew my co worker and I during a pretty rough run of work. The food here is pretty good and there are a lot of beer selections which is great. It gets super crowded right after work hours (around 6-7 pm this is the garment district, leaving at 5 is rare!) but is worth a stop by if you want a bite to eat and some drinks.
Stitch Bar & Lounge
247 W 37th Street, Ground Floor | New York, NY 10018
There is nothing special about stitch other than its location. The food is alright and the drinks are fine and that is about all you can ask for in the garment district. This is a popular spot for a quick after work drink or going away parties. You never know what assorted group of fashion industry folks will be in here saying good bye to one of their beloved (or maybe not) co workers. I personally can’t count how many going away parties I’ve been to hear as I worked right across the street for a good 3 years and there were many departures during that time.
Scallywags Irish Pub
508 9th Ave, Ground Floor | New York, NY 10018
Happy hour till 8pm, do I need to say more? Its a pretty standard pub but the food is not bad and the prices are reasonable.
200 W 39th Street, 30th Floor | New York, NY 10018
If you want to feel highly underdressed and totally uncool this is the place for you. Okay I kid, kind of, this is a place to go when you have money to spend and want to rub shoulders with the fashion elite. It is a known spot where creative directors and other NYC business types will come to have a cocktail after a day of work. The decor is mid century modern and very swanky and there is a good view of NYC from the bar so it is worth a stop if you want to feel oh so chic. Also do note that you do have to take an elevator up through what basically feels like a freight entrance to a building don’t be dismayed as this is the only part that feels like that.
Distinguished Wakamba Lounge
543 8th Ave, Ground Floor | New York, NY 10018
This is not on this list because it is a nice place, this is not on this list because it is a place I have been more than once (once was enough, maybe too much?), this is on this list because if you want to see some old school weird sketchy NYC kinda sorta maybe a tiki bar? this is the bar for you. It is a strange, strange place that harks back to NYC’s seedier days. Anthony Bourdain speaks highly of the grit and grime and interesting clientele here so take that as you will.
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