FILM – Schmatta: Rags to Riches

Inside look at the decline of New York garment manufacturing



After his successful docu-series Brick City about the struggling city of Newark, director Marc Levin shifts his focus slightly east in geography to tell the story of the rise and decline of the New York garment manufacturing industry in his latest HBO documentary Schmatta: Rags to Riches. The film is told through the stories of workers, designers, and industry leaders looking back to a time when a few blocks along 7th avenue were bustling with work in comparison to today where only a few small manufacturers are left. Over a 40 year period clothes manufacturing went from 95% to only 5% leaving the middle class garment worker out of options. Levin explores the reasons behind this looking at how the industry itself pushed for increasing profits and spent more on advertising while offering lower prices. For me watching this film was a huge affirmation on how much power the consumer has in making choices that affect others. Netflix should be getting a copy of this for you to enjoy soon.


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