SCHMATTA: RAGS TO RICHES TO RAGS

October 18, 2009
By Sheryl Blasnik

SCHMATTA POSTCARD

HBO Films brings the reality and history of the NY Garment District to cable television.

SCHMATTA (meaning “rags” in yiddish) is a documentary speaking to the rise and fall of the fashion industry.

The garment district in it’s 7 block radius is a microcosm of the world around us and our changing economic climate.  In 1965, 95% of american clothing was manufactured in the US.  Now that number has slipped to a mere 5%.  With the demands of labor unions it has simply become more cost effective for even seasoned designers to outsource the work to other countries.  Unlike the auto or finance industry the garment industry has not been handed a government bailout.  The only handout of recent has been pink slips.  In an industry that once gave immigrants a bright future and hope it is now an industry hanging by a thread.

As Fashion Week draws to a close in NY and Europe and our eyes were glued to the eye candy that walked the runways on beautiful models does anyone take the time to stop and think about all that went on to produce that 20 minute extravaganza of bright lights and musical accompaniment?   This film tells shows the plight of the workers, labor organizers, designers, fashion execs and manufacturers who built their careers in the Fashion District of New York.

Director Marc Levin says ““before we were making cars we were getting dressed.

Now might be a good time to take a hard look at the label in what you are wearing right now…  Is it manufactured in the USA or overseas?

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