Tour Garment District Icon Mood Fabrics

Even on a snowy morning in January, Mood Fabrics is humming by mid-morning with designers, interns, dressmakers, and production assistants seeking fabrics, zippers, and notions.

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Danielle says many brides-to-be have been buying silks for bridesmaids' dresses in varying shades of single colors, like the lilacs and pale pinks pictured above. One recent customer had 14 attendants to dress. "Well, that's your first problem!" she laughs.
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Jenni Avins/ThreadNY
Even on a snowy morning in January, Mood is humming by mid-morning with designers, interns, dressmakers, and production assistants seeking fabrics, zippers, and notions.
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Jenni Avins/ThreadNY
One could easily take the stairs to Mood Fabrics, on the 3rd floor at 225 West 37th Street, but getting a lift with Walter, the elevator operator, is part of the experience. “They’re always busy,” says Walter, of the destination fabric store. “That’s like the California Gold Rush.”
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Jack Sauma began Mood’s retail business twenty years ago at the suggestion of his sons. His business has expanded from a 400 square foot space to the three-story superstore, now famous thanks in part to regular appearances on "Project Runway."
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"I’m afraid I’m going to miss something if I call out sick,” says Danny of his job watching Mood’s door. He says he’s seen celebrities like Phylicia Rashād, Jason Giambi, Courtney Love, and Taylor Momsen at work -- and has also been asked to watch the odd toddler.
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Many designers and fabric mills sell their leftovers to Mood at the end of each season. Denis, who works among Mood's specialty silks, pulls a favorite Alexander McQueen print.
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Several of Mood's employees, like Jozsef Alor, are also designers themselves. He took a two-year hiatus from fashion after the economic crash, but has recently relaunched his contemporary womenswear line.
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Mood's liberal swatching policy -- which means sales associates will cut small samples of fabric free of charge -- makes the store a favorite among students. "A million dollars' worth of swatches!" laughs Mood's founder, Jack Sauma.
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"Betsey Johnson has been swatching lace like crazy here," says Danielle, a costume designer for New York's Amato Amore Opera, who also works in Mood's lace and brocade department. She says metallic laces like the one pictured above have been a recent favorite for brides and designers alike.
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Jenni Avins/ThreadNY
Danielle says many brides-to-be have been buying silks for bridesmaids' dresses in varying shades of single colors, like the lilacs and pale pinks pictured above. One recent customer had 14 attendants to dress. "Well, that's your first problem!" she laughs.
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Jenni Avins/ThreadNY
Irene Cherniaokovsky, the venerable dressmaker of the uptown tailor shop Silhouettes & Profiles, picks up some fabric to line a sheer top for a conservative customer.
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Some come to Mood in search of fabric swatches. Others bring their own, in hopes of finding a match. Here, Kathryn Hitchcock, an intern for M.Patmos, shows the sort of stretch wool she needs. Once she finds the right fabric, she'll purchase a few yards for a sample pair of trousers.
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Jenni Avins/ThreadNY
The search continues: a Mood associate helps Kathryn Hitchcock find her elusive breed of charcoal stretch wool.
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They might not look special, but a sales associate in the knit department says the novelty of bamboo knits has yet to wear off. "People still go, 'What do you mean, bamboo?'"
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Digital printing technology -- favored by many Italian designers -- layers colors and images on silks, lending them a photo-realistic appeal.
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Jack Sauma, who runs Mood with the help of his sons, Philip and Eric, says he knew one day his store would be a huge success. "With all the hard work we put in? Forget it."
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