A course with all the trimmings

Trimmings are not just for the holiday table. For students in Prof. Veronica Romano’s Professional Practice class, trimmings can cook up a design project par excellence. Romano’s Visual Presentation and Exhibition Design (VPED) students were ecstatic to find a great source of them at M&J Trimmings in the Garment Center.

VPED student Keri Collins with metallic bead trim, perfect for her display project.

“They were overwhelmed by vast NYC resources they never knew existed in the Garment District,” says Romano. “That’s so exciting to me.”

“The Garment District was once a center for industry. Today it’s one for specialty displays, props and materials,” says VPED Chair Craig Berger. “There’s a deep wealth of local stores and outlets of larger distributors. The garment industry left but the distribution of materials and products is still here. It’s wonderful for VPED students. There’s no place like it in the rest of the country,” says Berger, author of “Wayfinding: Designing and Implementing Graphic Navigational Systems.”

As of July, there were 134 trimming and button businesses in the Garment District, according to Ryan Daly of the Garment District Alliance.

“If you walk down 38 Street from Fifth Avenue to Eighth Avenue you’ll encounter 12 trimming stores on the ground floor,” says Daly. This doesn’t include M&J, which is also a hit with fashion tourists who kvell over the enormous inventory and lavish displays.  

Prof. Veronica Romano's Professional Practices class
Prof. Veronica Romano’s Professional Practices class outside M&J Trimmings at 10008 Sixth Ave.

“This trip meant the connection between the industry and classroom. It’s what I dreamed about for an education” said Christy Rappold who comes from North Carolina. “Going to school in New York is the most glamorous thing in the world. As we say ‘New York City, Holy City!'”

“How you design anything, that’s the fun part,” says Romano. “But it’s the sourcing, the execution, budgeting, scheduling, the install that’s equally as important. They’re designers but they’re also business and production people as well.”

For VEPD Prof. Mary Constantini, “Trimmings are the bling that make the beautiful details.”

Daysi Barahona, Anastasiya Malakhowskaya & Christy Rappold inspired by resources found in the Garment District.

“They’re learning how to take their concepts to production using the best resources New York City has to offer,” says Romano.


photos provided by Veronica Romano

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