Tuesday, October 28, 2014

A few notes about fabric shopping in NYC and Yinka Shonibare

Last Friday I went along on a fun field trip with other students & teachers from Bits of Threads, to the NYC Garment District.  Hard to believe how much is jam-packed into this 1/3 square mile.  Besides Elliot Berman & Mood, the notions shops are irresistible.  (I took one regular-sized backpack: when it was full, I stopped shopping & headed to the MoMA to see the Matisse cut-outs show again.)  And if you get tired of fabrics (or are traveling with a Roommate who might get bored), the Empire State Building & the main branch of the New York Public Library & Bryant Park are all close by.  NOTE: Bryant Park is especially fun this time of year with a Christmas shopping festival & an ice skating rink!  

Here is the Garment District's official map (in PDF form), if you're headed there yourself.

Right next to Elliot Berman, at 237 W 35th St, I found Butterfly Fabrics, and they had an amazing selection of West African wax prints, along with wonderful embroidered Indian silk, sari fabrics, and raw silk (reminded me a lot of being in a fabric store in Abu Dhabi).  I *only* bought 27 yards of the wax prints, and the only reason I didn't buy more was because I couldn't figure out how to carry it!


Speaking of wax prints, Yinka Shonibare has an interesting take on these fabrics and their meaning. He's a Nigerian-English artist, who uses West African wax prints to show the legacy of colonialism.  (Here's the page about him on Wikipedia.) I can't ever resist wax prints (as you've noticed), and love his use of them in his artistic commentaries!

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