Live Olive: Save The Garment Center

I know at this point you must think all I have been doing here at Fashion Week NYC is gallivanting around rubbing shoulders with fabulous people and looking pretty.

But, really, that’s not all folks, I swear!

The fashion industry is built on much hard work and creativity and love and sweat and tears. Designers have to be committed to succeed and a huge part of why they are able to produce such well crafted and stunning pieces has much to do with the sewers and suppliers who help make their visions reality.

You’ve heard me talk quite a bit this week about Save The Garment Center, but really, I can’t say enough about the importance of this organization!

I am so very pleased to introduce a lovely lady who can tell us all a much, much more about SGC,  than I. Ladies and gents, introducing Erica Wolf, Executive Director of Save The Garment Center.

Can you tell us a bit about the history of the Garment Center?

West 35th Street to West 41st Street, and Fifth Avenue to Ninth Avenue today roughly bind The Garment Center.  This area has played a vital role in New York City’s fashion industry and economic history over the last 100 years.

In the late 1800s, an influx of immigrants came to New York and many worked in the apparel industry.  The industry took advantage of the local seaports by bringing in supplies such as fabrics from European and New England mills, and accessing major markets overseas.  As Manhattan’s Lower East Side drew the majority of early immigrants, the neighborhood subsequently became an early center of garment production.  The city’s garment industry continued to grow rapidly, expanding from 562 manufacturing firms in 1880 to over 1,800 firms in 1900, effectively establishing New York City as the hub of the nation’s ready-to-wear industry.  Over the next few decades labor movements and government action pushed garment production out of the cramped working conditions of the Lower East Side.  Residential and retail developments lead the factories further uptown, and the industry ultimately settled in what we know today as NYC’s Garment Center. (Source: Municipal Arts Society)

What factors have contributed to the potential loss of the Garment Center?

For the past several decades a decline in domestic manufacturing has lead to a great loss of businesses and jobs in New York City’s Garment Center.  Designers began producing clothing overseas at a much lower cost, and garment industry jobs have continued to move overseas at an alarming rate until recently.

Real Estate pressures also contributed to the loss of jobs in the Garment Center, and a 1987 zoning law was put into place to combat these development forces.  Over the past few decades, factories have begun to feel the real estate pressures once again with landlords harassing them in their place of work, and cutting short their leases.  Landlords have been complaining that the zoning is outdated and the regulations need to be changed.  A change in the zoning would be the complete loss of the Garment District as we know it.

 Why is important to save the Garment Center?

The Garment Center is a research, development, and production hub.

Emerging designers come from all over the world to take advantage of this district.  Its 10 block radius is a cluster of factories, fabric and trim suppliers, showrooms, and countless other resources.

The local factories afford emerging designers the ability to start small and grow their production as orders increase. Domestic production allows for more thorough quality control, easier management of inventory, and a quicker turnaround time to fill orders and meet spur-of-the-moment trends.

If we lose our manufacturing infrastructure, we risk losing future generations of emerging designers, and losing our status as a leader in the world of fashion. The newness of these designers is what draws the buyers and press from all over to come for markets and fashion week.

We can only sustain a future for American fashion by supporting the American manufacturing base, and fully utilizing its potential. Consumers have enormous power to signal their desire for more Made in America garments with their purchases. We need to encourage established American designers to bring some manufacturing back from overseas. By buying American and asking your favorite brands to manufacture more in the USA, and New York City, you can help ensure a future for jobs in American fashion.

 

Live Olive: Ready to Report FNO

Oh what to wear, what to wear? I am bustling about today, getting a fire-engine red mani-pedi, putting my hair up in smooth and elegant bun and standing in front of my shoe closet, pondering the life’s great question; which pair to show off this evening?

Because my dears, this is a very special evening. I am all a flutter inside with butterflies, as it is only a few mere hours before I host my very first ever, (and hopefully not last!) Fashion Night Out event!

So, should I don my sparkly Jerome Rousseau’s? My feathery Chrissie Morris’? And don’t even get me started on what to wear from there. Each and every one of the designers who will be by my side tonight are incredible in their own right.

Maybe I should bring an outfit from each and make a quick costume changes every 10 minutes?

These are the dilemmas a gal like me has!  But really and truly, I think I’m going to enter with one outfit and exit with another, just to be amazing – twice!

But don’t think for a minute I’ve gotten too wrapped up in myself not to remember the most important thing about tonight and that is to help the fine folks of the Garment Center keep designer duds made right here in the Big Apple!

But also, I DO have to look divine…I will be sure to keep you all abreast of the fabulousness occurring this evening.

Don’t forget to follow me, as I’ll be tweeting away!

Live Olive: Maximilla

Today, my dears, I’d like to introduce you to the lovely Miss Maximilla Lukacs – filmmaker and visual artist of the highest order and a sweet gal to boot.

Like moí, Miss Maximilla is a gypsy wanderer, an adventuress of land and sea and sky, and an explorer of the outer worlds and the inner mind.

Take seat ladies, and listen up!

Q: What inspired you as a child artistically?

A: Drawing mostly. I loved to draw so much as a child that I drew all over my parents’ hallway in communist Budapest, Hungary. Huge scribbles as tall as I probably was at the time. All over their nice wallpaper. I guess I needed to express myself and I guess in a show of support they left the drawings up for a long time.  As a child the thing you love to do the most is create imaginary worlds. So for me not much has changed. I have found a way to make that my job.

Q: What do you love most about the filmmaking process?

A: I really love that through films you can take entire worlds that are imagined in your head and turn them into a reality that you can share with others. It really is magical. And through the process you get to collaborate with so many other talented artists that end up making that world even richer and more beautiful.

I started off painting and drawing which is a very lonely, isolating process but you have control over every minute detail. With filmmaking there is a beautiful chaos to it that over time you learn to surf and sculpt. So strangely the thing I love the most about the filmmaking process is those chance elements that come with working with others and working with nature and light and music. Bring on the beautiful chaos!

Also, there is something of the unspoken, unwritten. There is an experiential quality to film that can only happen in that medium. Those moments of watching a film that make you feel something so specific yet it cannot be described in words. I love that! I strive for that.

Q: Favorite women filmmakers? 

Sadly there are not too many women filmmakers to point to.  They are more absent from the film dialogue as makers than almost any other art form. But I know that is changing as we speak.

My favorites are Maya Deren and Vera Chytilova. Maya Deren’s films offer such a unique and feminine vision that I feel is lacking from the language if film in general. Her surrealist vision and the way she plays with time and with movement is incredible. She is a true visionary!

And Vera Chytilova made one of my favorite films of all time “Daisies”. There is so much experimentation going on in the film in terms of her craft.  But also the main characters in the film, two young girls who are so defiant and show a side to girls that I don’t think had been properly portrayed in film up to that point. (It was banned upon its initial release due to its depictions of wasting food!)

In the film the girls decide that since the world has gone bad they are going bad and the adventures that unfold are truly amazing antics. There is some really experimental storytelling going on in the film.  She uses the tossing of flower wreaths to transition from one scene to another in a way that is so gracefully psychedelic.

Now this brings me to the next person I want to talk about who I think is doing amazing work today and that is Lena Dunham who directed “Tiny Furniture” and is now doing the TV show “Girls”.

I think she is showing a side of young girls that is so honest and refreshing and completely absent from mainstream culture.

I think women need to enter the very important cultural dialogue of film. I think the world needs a prismatic point of view in 2012 and women and people from more impoverished cultures with fewer resources are part of that.  Culturally we need a full spectrum representation of the human experience. Film plays a crucial role in that. It is a mirror we must hold up to ourselves as a species. Our films tell us so much about what is going on with our collective soul. With our collective consciousness. I think this is a very exciting time to be alive!

Wren F/W 12 “Beware of Young Girls” from Maximilla Lukacs on Vimeo.

Live Olive: Interview with Cat Solen

Today is yet another very special day my dearest online readers, because I am oh so lucky enough to be interviewing one of my very favorite artists and filmmakers – the beautiful Cat Solen.

This gal has some seriously incredible talent, so sit back and behold! The maker of magical films, music videos and visual art, Cat has the kind of boundless imagination that inspires and excites and thrills.

Take a close look at the endless array of whimsical, lovely and heartbreakingly beautiful images that come out of her clever mind and you will be as smitten as I!

Miss Solen shares a few of her secrets below…

Q: What inspired you as a child artistically?

A: I think it started with a combination of my grandmother encouraging me to draw, and my parents showing me old movies. I didn’t come from a household full of avid art lovers. My folks, and their folks are very working class. I was lucky enough that they just happened to love classic cinema. As a kid, my Dad made me watch Citizen Kane, Mr. Smith Goes To Washington, and National Velvet. My Mom made me watch musicals. I would go hang out with my grandmother and paint while watching soap operas. When I was finally old enough to be up late by myself (I was about 9 or 10) I would stay up all night watching Nick-at-Nite and drawing. I loved drawing so much that I started taking all types of art classes. I kept taking them until I graduated from The School of the Art Institute in 2003.

Q: What do you love most about the filmmaking process?

A: Making movies is all I want to do with my life. I love every single second of it more than I love anything in the world. I think that drawing storyboards and planning a look for a piece are my favorite parts of pre-production. As far as actual production goes I love being on set more than anything, it’s absolutely incredible to watch a group of experienced people on set. Everyone becomes a cog, a crucial part of a big machine. It’s very provocative and beautiful. It’s like things that I think you can only really see in nature. Like a beehive. Everyone is so focused on making this one thing work one tiny piece at a time, all with the bigger picture floating thickly in the air around everything. It’s truly the best thing in the world, to me.

In post, you get to the edit room and you get to make it all work! It’s like when you finally get to mop the floor after a giant spring-cleaning, or moving day. It feels like everything is settling perfectly. Like everything is going to be ok. Whenever I finish a project I think, “Man! That took so much of me! How did I do that? How will I ever do that again?” I go home, I fall asleep… And I wake up the next morning dying to start something new.

Q: Desert island movie?

A: Definitely Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. Every time I see that movie, it’s like seeing it for the first time.

Diana Joy – The White Loop

 

CSS – Let’s Make Love…