Podcast: New York’s Fashion Industry Runs on Immigrant Labor and Creativity

Pakistani student in the Fashion MFA program at The New School. (Photo: Carmel Pryor)

Pakistani student in the Fashion MFA program at The New School. (Photo: Carmel Pryor)

By Tatiana Galzy and Carmel Pryor

Fi2W is featuring stories by students in the Feet in 2 Worlds journalism course at The New School.

Designers with immigrant roots are at the forefront of American fashion. No other industry has been so deeply molded by successive waves of immigration and on so many levels. From the old time rag trade and garment production in Manhattan, to the design studios that have made New York a fashion capital, the stories of immigration and fashion are closely intertwined.

Listen to the Podcast Here:

In this podcast, Carmel Pryor and Tatiana Galzy discuss the new generation of clothing designers, many of whom are immigrants or the children of immigrants, with an emphasis on the rising influence of Chinese immigrants on American fashion. Notable Chinese-American fashion designers include Anna Sui, Vera Wang, Vivienne Tam, Alexander Wang, Jason Wu, and Phillip and Carol Lim.

On display at the Museum of Chinese America until September 29, the exhibition “Front Row: Chinese American Designers” features the work of several Chinese-American designers. Carmel and Tatiana spoke with Herb Tam, curator of the museum and Dr. Hazel Clark, professor in Fashion Studies at Parsons The New School for Design, about the role of immigrants in the fashion industry.

Fi2W is supported by the David and Katherine Moore Family Foundation and the Ralph E. Odgen Foundation.

AboutFeet in Two Worlds
Feet in Two Worlds brings the work of immigrant and ethnic media journalists from communities across the U.S. to public radio and the web. Since 2005, this award-winning project has expanded the diversity of voices and stories on public radio by presenting the work of journalists representing a broad spectrum of immigrant communities including Arab, Bosnian, Brazilian, Chinese, Haitian, Indian, Irish, Latin American, Pakistani, Polish, and Russian immigrants. Feet in Two Worlds reporters appear on nationally-distributed public radio programs including PRI’s The World, Studio 360, and The Takeaway, American Public Media’s Marketplace and NPR’s Latino USA, as well as on public radio stations WNYC, New York Public Radio, and WDET in Detroit.