B-more Cloth: Exploring small businesses and creative makers in Baltimore’s new garment and textile industry.One of the liveliest blocks in Manhattan is 39th Street between 7th and 8th Avenues. A last vestige of the garment industry in New York, one is overcome with the energy of small business and the bustle of humanity on 39th. It feels, maybe, the way the Lower East Side did when teaming with immigrant merchants in the early 20th century. It’s a sweet spot where any class, race, sexuality or gender feels welcome. It is alive, a buoyant and breathing slice of American culture. There are parts Baltimore that feel this way: Eastern Avenue in Highlandtown, Lexington Market, and Greenmount Avenue near 33rd Street, to name a few. At B-more Cloth, we think part of this living city magic is the garment industry and we want to tell the stories of the people who make it happen in Baltimore. Artisans and designers in the new garment industry could be the most intimately tied to our humanity. These ancient trades are connected to the things we carry, our bodies’ adornment, and the architecture that communicates our innermost selves to the world. We want to celebrate the people behind the products.Tailors, cobblers, drycleaners and jewelers have long been an important part of healthy communities and walk able blocks. At this moment, Baltimore’s creative community is exploding with clothing designers and garment makers. B-more cloth is about finding the connections and exploring the parallels between these two communities.Small businesses surrounding the garment and textile industry are a part of Baltimore’s DNA. Garment manufacturing is intrinsically linked to Baltimore’s past. M.S Levy and Sons, for example, once made Baltimore the center of the American straw hat industry. Artisans and craftspeople have historically been the backbone of the entertainment industry as well. We hope to discover tales of some of the crazy talent that went into creating costumes for the musicians and performers at the Hippodrome and the Royal theatres.All of this is to say that B-more Cloth aims to explore the vast and varied world of Baltimore’s current garment and textile industry, its connections to the past, and its future. We have big ideas about small businesses and how they promote healthy cities and sustainable communities. We believe that the creative act is life affirming and are in awe of the patience, talent, and expertise it takes to execute designs. Mostly, though, we want to chat with and get to know our favorite people in the world: creatives, makers, and designers.
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