The History of New York State
Book II, Chapter V
Part II

Editor, Dr. James Sullivan


The Clothing Industries--It is rather a leap from the making of newspapers to the making of clothes, but the leap is justified in New York, for this latter is the major industry of the city. New York sets the fashion for the United States. It picks its motifs from Paris models of the preceding season and to these the New York designers add ideas of their own. The great French designers, the couturiers, usually show their designs in Paris in February. When the Riviera season opens dresses based on these models are worn by all the ladies of fashionable Europe. By the end of spring these fashions have become known and copied. The American buyers usually go over in the spring to see which have "taken" and they bring these models back with them. They are usually made in New York for the season that follows. In Europe the racing season, which is in July and august, determines what is to be worn in the autumn and the winter.

At the beginning of the twentieth century the wholesale manufacture of clothing in New York had passed into the hands of the Jewish part of the population, who raised it to first place in values of products among the industries of New York. Skill in design and workmanship, the use of select materials, and standardization of measurements made the ready-to wear garments turned out in the metropolis the best in the world. Practically all the domestic silk sold in New York is woven in mills located within Port Authority District, chiefly in Paterson and West Hoboken, New Jersey. Brooklyn also has a large silk mill. Many of the silk companies have their headquarters in New York, as, for instance, H. R. Mallinson & Company, who have one mill in Astoria, in New York City, and others in Paterson, Trenton, and West Hoboken, new Jersey, and in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Considerable quantities of ribbon are made in New York. Very little cotton piece goods is woven in the city, though cotton mills in other parts of the country are owned by New York corporations or are controlled by them. The same may be said of woolen piece goods. In the last twenty years hundred of establishments, large and small, have sprung up for the manufacture of knitted fabrics. These include Jersey cloth, in silk, wood, and cotton, glove and sweater fabrics, and materials for underclothing in silk, wood, cotton and artificial silk. The greater part of this material is partly or entirely shaped in the knitting machines and is for the most part made up on the premises. Woven trimmings of all sorts and materials required for garment finishing, such as tapes and silk labels, are also made.



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