Now that I’m settled down from Sweden, a story this morning from the Wall Street Journal’s Ralph Gardner Jr. fanned the fire under my buns to get back to my reporting in the Garment District. I’m glad he put designer Bibhu Mohapatra in the lede, or he might have lost me with his paragraph-long flashback of watching supermodels strip backstage in the ’80s. Gardner (who professed being foreign to fashion) said the word incubator made him picture “a climate-controlled box,” and many involved with the CFDA’s glossy-floored corridor of 12 glass-walled studios on 38th Street seem take issue with the name. Even a mailman in the elevator there told me, “it sounds like a place for growing aliens.”
A Bibhu Mohapatra gown at his F/W 2010 show in February
These designers may be, um, growing, but they’re well on their way to being established names in the fashion world. Bibhu has been one of my favorite ones to watch. In the months since reviewing his Fall 2010 show (pictured above), I’ve spent some time with the designer and his staff, as they moved from their studios uptown to their new space in the Garment District.
The Designer in his former Upper West Side studio, March
At work in the new space, April
As Bibhu and his hall-mates have been settling into their new workspace on 38th Street, I’ve been settling into mine on 40th, which was also referred to as “the incubator,” before being rechristened The Center for Journalistic Innovation. From here, I’ll keep reporting on the Garment District, and amass material for a project to address the garment industry’s relationship with our city. Stay tuned this summer. Both in fashion and in media, it’s going to be an exciting run-up to Fashion Week in September.