One Woman’s Impossible Mission to Save New York’s Garment District
Samantha Cortes had a dream: to revive clothing manufacturing in Midtown Manhattan. Rapidly gentrifying NYC had other plans.
Photo by Jessica Bal
Three years ago, Samanta Cortes strolled through a conference center in Barcelona, where thousands had gathered for the International Textile Machinery Association’s exhibition, a trade show often called “the Olympics of the textile industry.” She walked by hundreds of exhibitors who spun thread and made fabric. Inspired by the array of equipment, Cortes began wondering why so many of the American designers she knew worked solely with basic sewing machines. After the show, Cortes returned home to New York City’s Garment District, where she ran a small company developing prototypes for designers. She had her hands full with her own business, but also had a new goal in mind: acquiring some of the machines she had seen in Barcelona and starting a school to teach others how to use them.
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