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Yesterday at noon, the best dressed group of people to ever carry protest signs congregated at 39th Street and Seventh Avenue for a rally to save the Garment Center. The crowd, made up of young fashion workers, even younger design students and markedly older factory workers and union members, joined together in unity and waved signs bearing slogans like "It's Sew New York" and the less witty, but more on point "Save the Garment Center." The goal: To encourage government officials to protect the city's shrinking clothing production district.
The crowd of a few hundred was addressed for over an hour by fashion industry types and politicians. The cause's founder, designer Nanette Lepore, scruffily resplendent in a leather jacket from her own fall collection, gave a heartfelt and inspirational speech about how important the Garment Center has been to her own career and to that of all the people she works with. Other speakers included Fashion Week organizer and Bravo Television regular Fern Mallis, Paper Magazine's Mickey Boardman, fashion event producer Judith Rice, Manhattan Borough president Scott M. Stringer, City Council speaker Christine Quinn, and mayoral candidate and Comptroller Bill Thompson. Not surprisingly, Mayor Bloomberg, who has not showed much support for the cause, did not participate.
Other New York fashion designers who came on stage in support of the Garment Center included Elie Tahari (who obviously was nowhere near his own sample sale), Charles Nolan and Michael Kors. Kors, who these days is often too busy to even appear on Project Runway, was on stage initially, but left shortly after the rally started. Donna Karan, Betsey Johnson, and Anna Sui are said to support the cause, but unfortunately did not appear. Of course, this is just the first of many actions to come. If you'd like to learn more or become involved, check out Save the Garment Center's website, here.—Bonnie Datt
· Nanette Lepore, Michael Kors and Others Rally 'Round the Garment District [Racked]
· Save the Garment Center [Official Site]