Garment District Tour in New York

Travels with Tish – Girlfriend Getaway Guide
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Garment District Tour in New York
March 15, 2007
Our two whirlwind days in New York began with an organized tour in the Garment
District with Tightwad Treks (Elegant Tightwad Shopping Excursions). As soon as we
stepped off our Midwest Airlines flight at La Guardia, we called Pam Parisi, the tour
diva, to arrange our meeting at the first
showroom, Linda Richards on West 38th
Here we found very high quality coats, suits,
jackets and more — bound for the biggest of
the big-name New York stores. Current and
next season items were available for
purchase — all at a substantial (I mean
SUBSTANTIAL) savings over retail. She also had
about 300 pairs of one-of-a-kind Bettye Muller
designer sample shoes selling for $75/pair instead of
the $300-$400 retail price. These are the kind of shoes
sold at Bergdorf Goodman and other top stores. (She
does not always have shoes. Her employees are not yet
“cutting” for next season, so the shoes were displayed
on the cutting table. But if they are cutting, you can see
them in action. Linda Richards, like the other designer
showrooms we visited, is not open to the public. But
she does offer a public sample sale during the week
before Easter and the week before Thanksgiving.
More Backroom Fashions.
We visited another 6 or 7 showrooms, most small
but most intriguing. None of them sell retail to the
public, and most do not want their names used.
But the styles covered a wide range from chic and
sassy to classic. Sizes available were primarily
sample sizes. One shop actually purchases
designer items from retailers, copies the designs
and then makes their own patterns to create copies.
A few shops had accessoires, belts and purses —
but for a better selection, take the Accessories Tour.
Back Fashion Cult. I think the most fun showroom was that of Back Fashion Cult,
owned by a very nice woman named Sihan. She had funky, chic and very fun clothing
and accessories, primarily French and Italian lines. A woman from Dallas was on our tour
with her 17-year-old daughter. Their mission was to find a memorable prom dress. Sihan
had dozens to show her and every dress the young woman tried on looked absolutely
terrific. No girl in Texas will have a dress quite like she will as Sihan’s clothing is
unique, sophisticated and totally unlike any traditional prom dresses you’d find on
department store racks.
One more workroom/showroom of interest
was M&S that made custom fabric flowers
for couture apparel, bridal, millinery and
home decor markets.
We loved the tour. Pam and her assistant
tour leader, Pilar, were wonderfully
accommodating as they tried to recommend
showrooms that suited the interests of the
people on the tour. I’d definitely take the
tour again!
NEXT: Shecky’s Girls Night Out
1) Plan Your Tour. If you have enough women, ask for a private tour. That way you can
go to the showrooms most suited to your style, size and fashion sense. But if you go with
multiple generations in your group (Grandma, 40-somethings and teenagers), you’ll find
that every showroom will not suit everyone in your group. Go with women of similar age
and taste and you’ll be happier.
2) Talk to Pam Before Your Tour. Give her an idea of what you might be looking for
— an evening dress, business suit, casual, funky, tiny sizes or mature sizes, etc.
3) A Variety of Tours. Tightwad Treks also offers an Uptown Consignment Crawl, an
Accessory Addict Tour, Vintage Clothing Shop Tour and a Downtown Diva Tour.
4) Tour Prices. Tour prices start at $45 for a 2-hour tour. Ours was $90 for a 4-hour tour.
Pam also gives information about current sales that you can attend on your own after the
tour. And she gives each participant a copy of her book.
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