Hauling clothes in the Garment District in 1955

Around the time this 1955 photo was taken, the vast majority of clothes for sale in the United States was made in the states too.

Specifically, they were made in the square mile south of Midtown long known as the Garment District.


Today, only 5 percent of clothes are made in America. And while you still see factories and showrooms in the Garment District, the narrow, dark streets here compose a ghost town compared to what they were 60 years ago.

At least some faded ads continue to hold their own on former factory buildings.

[Photo: LOC/Al Ravenna]

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7 Responses to “Hauling clothes in the Garment District in 1955”

  1. Carolyn Lalli Says:

    My mother worked in the garment district back in the 1950s. This entitled her to purchase samples at reduced prices. Once a year, we would visit a particular warehouse where the samples were arranged on racks. Mom would sift through the garments, selecting 1 or 2 dresses, deeply discounted. One fashionable trend at that time, was for mothers and daughters to dress alike.

  2. Ina Says:

    Great old photo! So sad this country no longer does any manufacturing.,,it is all a “lost art!”

  3. Timothy Grier Says:

    That photo also reminds me that shoe repair is also becoming a lost trade. Most youngsters have no idea what a “cobbler” is.

  4. RM Says:

    My Grandmother was a union delegate in the ILGWU and was also one of the best dress finishers – worked personally with Yves St Laurent and many others. She was so proud of her job and the quality her team brought, she was the embodiment of the American can-do spirit. Now there are just ghosts…. and ATMs…
    As a kid I remember racks of clothes being ferried through the streets, it was an icon of the garment district. Many good memories visiting this area as a kid. thanks guys!

  5. The Big Bluff – (1955) – [Public Domain Movies] | mostly music Says:

    […] Hauling clothes in the Garment District in 1955 […]

  6. Seventh Avenue as a dark, mysterious canyon | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] I’m not sure exactly where we are, but it looks like the Garment District. […]

  7. All the different business districts of Manhattan, according to a 1939 magazine | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] in the West 20s, still has a few holdout wholesalers. Garments continue to be manufactured in the Garment District, but the output is nothing like it was in the 1930s, when this area from Sixth to Ninth Avenues […]

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