Arts & Culture
Master of Arts (MA)
After the majority of clothing production jobs left the US for Asia in the 1990s, a new market of smaller factories that employ mostly immigrant women in their forties and fifties to create high-end clothes with a “Made in the USA” label emerged. But as factories struggle to survive in New York, large numbers of workers still endure long hours, on-job injuries, and lack of overtime pay in the name of homegrown fashion — often with little oversight.
Bondarenko, Veronika, "Still Here: Life in a New York Garment Factory" (2016). CUNY Academic Works.
Garment workers make samples at 247 W 38th Street.
Photo_2.jpg (1797 kB)
While the garment industry shrunk dramatically over the last two decades, more than 200 garment factories still operate out of Midtown Manhattan.
Photo_3.jpg (1692 kB)
Most present-day garment workers in New York are over 40 and of Chinese, Latino or Korean background.
Photo_4.jpg (1486 kB)
The Garment Industry Day Care Center opened in 1983 for the children of garment workers. Even today, the industry is known for its low pay and long work hours.
Photo_5.jpg (3668 kB)
New York’s Garment District has a long history of steady jobs and worker exploitation.
Photo_6.jpg (1506 kB)
Garment workers often risk on-the-job injuries.
Photo_7.jpg (3034 kB)
The local garment industry largely replaced mass production with high-end pieces.
Photo_8.jpg (1616 kB)
Most sewers at Sunrise Studio are well past their forties.
Photo_9.jpg (3244 kB)
Industry violation enforcements have trailed off dramatically in the last decade.
Photo_10.jpg (1927 kB)
Many garment factories lack any significant assets.
Photo_11.jpg (677 kB)
Numerous garment factories are based at 247 W 38th Street.
Photo_12.jpg (1626 kB)
Design Incubator refused to allow photos of their factory.
Photo_13.jpg (1728 kB)
New York Embroidery Studio has workers from 13 different countries.
Photo_14.jpg (5154 kB)
Each step along the garment production process affects the industry overall.
Photo_15.jpg (1546 kB)
The garment industry has an ongoing and controversial history in NYC.
Photo_16.jpg (1128 kB)
The Chinese Staff & Workers Association displays the sign of a garment factory some of its members protested against in the early 2000s.
Photo_17.jpg (1573 kB)
In 2016, thousands of garment workers still produce clothes right here in NYC.
Photo_19.jpg (84 kB)
There have been many recent efforts to bring garment jobs back to Midtown.
garment_factories_5.csv (41 kB)
This is the raw data for a map of current Midtown garment factories. The interactive map can be viewed in the link posted.