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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Fashion Week Fastener/Trim Favorites

Fashion week always seems to fly by. Like your birthday, it’s here and gone before you know it.

If you follow us on Instagram (here), you’ve seen our favorite looks from the Nanette Lepore and Milly NYC shows. One of the reasons we love Nanette and Milly is their attention to detail. As purveyors of fasteners/trim (zippers, thread, and more), the “details” are what we do. The details are what we live for!

We browsed Style.com and, in terms of fasteners/trim, a few things stood out to us. Namely: Colorful zippers at Alexander Wang. Embroidered dresses at Hugo Boss. Asymmetrical zippered sweat tops and skirts at Rag & Bone. And last, but not least, belts with snap closures at J. Mendel.

Don’t the details make all the difference?

Alexander Wang Zippers
Alexander Wang via Style.com
Hugo Boss Thread
Hugo Boss via Style.com
Rag Bone Zippers
Rag & Bone via Style.com
J Mendel Snap Belts
J. Mendel via Style.com

History of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week

It’s here. Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. Twice a year, more than 80 designers debut collections to more than 100,000 industry experts from around the world, including buyers, editors, retailers, celebrities and more. It’s an especially exciting time for us at TrimLab. After months of collaborating with many of these designers on their custom fasteners and trim (from zippers and zipper pulls to embroidery thread and interlinings), we finally get to see their hard work come to life on the runways for all the world to see.

While we’re all familiar with the buzz that surrounds Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week today, many of you might not be aware of the event’s fascinating origins and history. NYFW has come a long way in the past couple of decades. Scroll below to see how it’s evolved over the years!

(…and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as we share our favorite fastener/trim applications from this week’s runways.)

Image via Fashionologie
Image via Fashionologie

It all began in the early 1940s, when World War II made it impossible for fashion journalists to attend the fashion shows in Paris, which was then the world’s sartorial capital. As a result, prominent fashion publicist Eleanor Lambert saw an opportunity to give American fashion an international audience, and founded “Press Week” to showcase American designers for the national and regional media. Thereafter, prominent magazines like Vogue increasingly began to feature American as opposed to only French fashion.

Image via SeeHeardKnown.com

For the next three decades, designers continued staging their shows throughout the city until, in 1994, key players in the fashion community made a collaborative effort to move the event to a permanent location in a series of large white tents at its former site in Bryant Park. (For a fascinating behind-the-scenes look, check out “The Tents” movie.) With designers like Donna Karan, Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren taking part, suddenly Fashion Week began to attract swarms of not only editors but also celebrities and other VIPs, with a throng of onlookers accumulating outside the tents for a glimpse at the action.

Image via NYTimes.com
Image via NYTimes.com

Eventually, it became clear that Bryant Park could no longer accommodate the rate at which Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week was growing. And in September 2010, the event was moved uptown to its current location at Lincoln Center – a move we hope will allow the event to continue to grow and prosper.

Stay tuned as the festivities take place February 6-13. For more information, visit mbfashionweek.com.

Image via NYMag.com

The House of Schiaparelli and the Zipper

The fashion world is abuzz this week after the house of Schiaparelli’s return to couture with a show in Paris under the helm of its new creative director Marco Zanini, prompting us at TrimLab to remember Elsa Schiaparelli’s (1890–1973) visionary use of zippers in the body of her work.

Schiaparelli was one of the first couturiers to embrace zippers as a style element in fashion design. She incorporated brightly colored zippers on sportswear in 1930, and worked oversize decorative zippers into her collection of evening dresses in 1935. While other designers thought of zippers simply as a fastener and tried to hide them, Schiaparelli proudly flaunted them to create visual interest. And they eventually became an iconic indication of her artistic design sensibility.

Image via Rainbow Valley Vintage

Schiap Lightning Fastener Ad001

Pictured below at left, Elsa Schiaparelli, who ran in the same circles and Salvador Dalí, embraced surrealism and displayed bold irreverence in her work, which is indicative in her brave use of zippers.

After perusing Marco Zanini’s collection for Schiaparelli in Paris this week, we are happy to note he was able to successfully capture the whimsical spirit of the brand’s legendary founder in a fresh, modern way. Scroll down for vintage Schiaparelli designs on the left, each paired with Zanini’s modern take on the right.

Schiaparelli 1
Images via Christie’s and Style.com
Schiaparelli 2
Images via Met Museum and Style.com
Schiaparelli 3
Images via The Philadelphia Museum of Art and Style.com
Schiaparelli 4
Images via Victoria and Albert Museum and Style.com
Schiaparelli 5
Images via Met Museum and Style.com

City Source New York / A Fashion Manufacturers Showcase

Join TrimLab for The City Source New York / Fashion Manufacturers Showcase on January 14th at the Fashion Institute of Technology’s conference center! TrimLab is excited to take part in this exciting event, which was created to give fashion designers and brands the opportunity to meet 65 of New York’s premiere fashion manufacturers, including TrimLab, all in one location.

Admission is free and the following workshops will be offered:
Sample Development
Working with Sewing Contractors
Ancillary Resources
Selling and Marketing Private Label Products to Retailers
Manufacturers Forum

If you’re a designer or fashion brand in NYC, this event is not to be missed. We look forward to seeing you! Click here to register and for more information.


Tuesday, January 14th
10AM to 4PM


Fashion Institute of Technology Conference Center
Enter on 28th Street
(btw 7th and 8th Ave)
New York, NY 10001


Special thanks to the Council of Fashion Designers of America for teaming with FIT and The Garment District NYC to support this annual showcase.

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.

TrimLab’s Grand Opening in NYC’s Garment Center

Welcome to the TrimLab blog!

Based in NYC’s Garment Center, we’re a fastener/trim showroom and high-tech product development center serving established, emerging, and start-up fashion designers. This blog is our place to share fashion industry news, particularly as it relates to fastener/trimmings, as well as an insider’s look at our products, services, and operations in NYC’s Garment Center. Click here for our contact information and to learn more about what we do and how we can help you and your fashion design company put the finishing touch on your designs.

In the meantime, scroll down for snapshots from our Grand Opening on November 19! We welcomed apparel/accessory fashion design companies, and others in the fashion community, through our showroom doors for a fun evening of fashion, food and fun touring our 1,200-square-foot space and learning about the unique new TrimLab concept. If you weren’t able to make it, contact us and we’d love to welcome you for a private visit.