1st Annual Trimlabstagram Social Media Contest

Thanks to all our friends and customers who attended TrimLab’s Mardi Gras Celebration. A great time was had by all. We had many participants in our 1st Annual Trimlabstagram Social Media Contest. We were impressed not only by the use of our prescribed hashtags:
#trimlabmardigras – #trimwit – #trimriffic – #ziptastic – #zipperdeedoodah – #trimlabstagram
We were thrilled by the creativity demonstrated by our “mardigrasdians” such as:
#trimmingainteasy – #weloveaghbob – #trimlabrador – #waytoomuchwine

The contest rules were as follows:
1. You need to use at least three #’s
2. Need to tag TrimLab in caption and photo
3. You must use an original photo – no re-posting or combining posts

We are pleased to announce that the winners of our contest are actually winners in other endeavors in our industry. Designers Sonjia Williams, @sonjiawilliams and Samantha Black, @samanthablacknyc placed 1 & 2 overall in our social media contest. Both designers had been featured on Project Runway as well as this past season of Project Runway All Stars. Congratulations to you both and to all the other “mardigrasdians” who had the guts to participate.

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Gideon’s Triumph

Gideon's Triumph Patent 2

At TrimLab, we work one-on-one with established and emerging fashion designers to customize and ensure the correct application for trimmings and fasteners of all kinds, from zippers and buttons to interlinings and specialty threads. These fasteners and trimmings make many of today’s most beautiful fashion designs possible. But did you know they play an important role in fashion history as well?

The zipper, for example, wasn’t patented until 1917, when a Swedish-American electrical engineer named Gideon Sundback designed what he called a “Hookless Fastener” (eventually known as the “zipper”) with two facing rows of teeth that pulled into a single piece by a slider. Before Sundback, the existing “zipper” design was based on hooks and eyes and, therefore, had a strong tendency to pull apart.

Looking carefully at Sundback’s rendering below, you’ll notice the specially shaped “bump” of one tooth nests perfectly into the “hollow” on the bottom of the next higher tooth of the opposing row. This design gives the fastener great crosswise strength, preventing it from opening when flexed. The design remains basically unchanged to this day. This was Gideon’s Triumph!

Gideon's Triumph Patent

The zipper’s invention followed centuries of simpler techniques for fastening clothing. Cave men used slender bones to fasten skins. Romans invented brooches and buckles based on straight pin designs to fasten togas. Buttonholes to capture buttons evolved in the 13th century and hooks and eyes appeared in the 16th century. By 1900, the only fastenings were the safety pin, metal snaps, hooks and eyes, and buttons and laced fastenings.

With the mass production of ready-made clothing and shoes came world-wide competition among inventors and firms to make fastening clothing and shoes quicker and more efficient.

After working as a draftsman at the Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company, Sundback was hired by the Automatic Hook and Eye Company in 1909 as head designer. The patent awarded to Sundbach in 1917 was for the fastener he called “Hookless #2.” He also designed the machinery to mass produce them. The name “zipper” caught on after 1922, when Sundback worked with the B.F. Goodrich Rubber Company to design rain overshoes with the new fastener. Goodrich called their novelty boots “zippers” in their advertisements. The boots were best sellers.

By the late 1930s, the zipper was successfully incorporated into manufacturing men’s trousers and women’s clothing. The cloth tape of the zipper allowed it to be easily attached to apparel. The zinc alloy metal of the modern zipper could be stamped out in one operation and would not rust when laundered. Sundback’s invention had become the basis of the world-wide zipper industry.

We pay homage to Sundback’s invention with a sculpture in our showroom based on Sundback’s drawings. By artist Paul Roy, the mahogany, maple and acrylic sculpture reminds us each day of the brilliance of Sundback’s design that plays such a large role in our industry today. And we soon we hope to display similar works of art inspired by our other fasteners and trimmings, each with a fascinating history of its own.



About the artist:

An artist/craftsman with a degree in engineering, Paul Roy works with wood, metal, glass and plastics to create aesthetic and functional pieces. Commissions for individual pieces such as “Gideon’s Triumph” have been the foundation of Paul’s work for more than 30 years. Whether it’s an art piece or custom furniture; interior layout design or the unique cabinetry to occupy it, Paul has the ability to bring creative ideas to life!

Contact Paul at 508-347-1504, 774-452-0767 or normapaul@charter.net

Our Neighborhood, The Garment Center

TrimLab is a proud tenant of NYC’s Garment Center, so it seemed only “fitting” (pun intended) to begin our blogging journey by looking back on the history of our Manhattan neighborhood, between Fifth Avenue and Ninth Avenue from 34th to 42nd Street, which has been at the heart of the American fashion industry since the beginning of the 20th Century.


NYC’s Garment Center (also known as the Garment District, the Fashion District, or the Fashion Center) has roots in the early 1800s, a period that marked the beginning of the production of “ready-made” garments for the masses. Americans had previously made their own clothing, or if wealthy, had their clothing “tailor-made.”

The mid 1800s brought NYC a surge of immigrants skilled in fashion-related crafts and trades, which also coincided with America’s growing desire to keep up with the ever-changing European fashion trends and styles. The growing workforce and increased demand necessitated the construction of high-rise factories and showrooms, setting the stage for the Garment Center to produce 70 percent of American women’s clothing by 1910, with the highest concentration of garment manufacturers in the world by 1931.


World War II cut off America’s access to European fashion trends, leaving American designers to develop their own signature styles and silhouettes. Demand and consumption continued to increase, with the Garment Center at the heart of it all. And by its cultural and economic peak in the 70s, our neighborhood had become a self-sustainable ecosystem of designer showrooms, manufacturers, and resources.


Fast forward to today, however, and less than 50 percent of our neighborhood’s businesses are in the fashion industry. Furthermore, once occupying 7.7 million square feet of space, just 1.1 million square feet is now dedicated to garment manufacturing. As a result, top designers such as Nanette Lepore and Anna Sui have waged a battle to help support the Garment Center and preserve NYC as the fashion capital of the world.

Like Ms. Lepore and other Garment Center advocates, we believe the Garment Center is a vital part of the city’s economy, and is essential for young and emerging fashion design companies because of the proximity it gives them to manufacturers and resources.

A huge part of the impetus behind our TrimLab concept is a commitment to nurturing emerging and established fashion designers in the execution of their fastener and trim ideas, from concept to development. We are also committed to seeing a resurgence in the Garment Center, so it not only remains at the heart of the fashion industry, but also continues to enable young and emerging design companies to thrive and be successful.

If you’d like to learn more about the Garment Center, check out these sites:

Save the Garment Center

Save the Garment Center’s mission is to promote, preserve and save NYC as the fashion capital of the world. As a non-profit organization, STGC supports factories, suppliers, and designers through education and advocacy.

Garment District NYC

Garment District NYC serves New York’s storied Garment District, in the heart of Midtown Manhattan. Working in partnership with local building owners and businesses, they improve the quality of life and economic vitality in this authentic New York neighborhood.

Manufacture NY

Manufacture NY’s mission is to reawaken and rebuild America’s fashion industry, foster the next wave of businesses, and create a transparent, sustainable global supply chain.

Images: 1. Design Trust for Public Space 2. Margaret Bourke-White, 1930, via Time Inc. 3. Walter Sanders, 1960, via Time Inc.