A few weeks ago I showed you my fabric haul from the garment district in Dallas. So today, I thought I’d show you pictures of one of the warehouses while I blab about stuff.
There are 4 fashion capitals of the world. Milan, Paris, New York, & London. This is where the textile industries thrive. All the major fashion houses are there, so it’s natural that textile producers send their goods there first.
There are 5 fashion “capitals” in the U.S. These are the entry points for textiles into the United States, and also serve as huge distribution hubs. They are New York, LA, Chicago, Miami, and Dallas.
Justine from Sew Country Chick wrote a post about the L.A. Garment district. I haven’t been there in a decade, but her photos and description are exactly as I remember it. I want to go back one day, but in the meantime, Dallas is only a 3 hour drive!
Dallas was lovely, and different than I expected. In the L.A. garment district, you have blocks of little shops, street vendors, even stuff out on the sidewalk.The fabric shops have garage doors with chains over them that they raise up during business hours. They are mostly smaller shops, and the building tend to be connected or crammed pretty close to each other. You couldn’t see it all in a day. I would pay to park somewhere, then hoof it. The sidewalks are buzzing with people, and the shop owners would call out to you to come look!
In Texas, I’m not sure the locals call it a garment district. I think they call it the Warehouse District. It’s basically one U shaped street with a little over a dozen shops. I didn’t count them, but definitely less than 20. Most of them aren’t little shops though…they’re HUGE warehouses! There are big warehouses in L.A. as well, but many are distribution points only, and not open to the public.
It didn’t seem crazy busy like LA. The buildings are spaced out a little more. You can park right in front of each warehouse, or park and walk around. This was around closing time on a Saturday.
Here, there is a primarily secondary market. Most of the warehouses carry stock from bankruptcies, close-outs, and liquidations.
The textile manufacturing industry is almost dead in the United States. Most of our fabric is now coming from China. Many of the independent fabric shops in Dallas have closed.
I promised myself I wouldn’t get all political. But I have to squeeze this bit in- There are economic, social, and environmental reasons why we should know where our fabric comes from. It’s almost impossible to find American made fabric. Even if its American grown cotton, it’s often manufactured overseas. Likewise, the rare fabric produced here is typically made of imported fibers.
The best I can do is know where my fabric is coming from. I try to support countries that have higher labor standards. I do shop at Joann’s & Hobby Lobby…but as little as possible. The majority of my purchases come from a local vendor who picks up textiles from estate sales, etc.
If you have time, read about which countries use child labor. China is new to the textile market, and have been huge competition to India, who previously dominated the market. In turn, India is trying to reform their labor laws. I know I’d pay a little more for fabric made by adults. I bet a lot of companies internationally feel the same way. Lets keep an eye out for what happens in India.
See the photo below? These warehouses have rows & rows just like it. I really had to hurry, because I didn’t want to miss anything.
I should’ve took a few photos of the district as a whole. I couldn’t concentrate on blogging though. Did I tell you Steve has 2 separate button rooms? That’s right. Rooms. Full of buttons. It was amazing! I can’t wait to go back.
Update: I haven’t been shopping here in about 18 months! I want to share this useful comment from Cynthia:
“Actually, it’s all on Perth Street. From I-35 East, exit Walnut Hill. Go east about a mile until you intersect Harry Hines. Turn right (south) on Harry Hines. About a few hundred yards down is Perth Street.
There have been some changes – Wearhouse fabrics has expanded into the old Best Fabric building on the corner of HH and Perth, and Best Fabric has moved across the street. You could walk it.”
So if you get a chance, shop!!