When the business of fashion was about the racks of rolling ‘merchandise’ and buildings full of piece-workers, the Fashion District worked perfectly. You could get anything, make anything and sell anything there. The street was an expanded version of the Lower East Side or the bazaar.
Now Fashion is branded, designed and sold in the Fashion District, but manufactured and distributed elsewhere. There is less need for physical presence in the district, but still a need for centralization for buyers and for the Shows. A Fashion District still makes sense, but the street has ceased to be the common ground of activity. The Fashion District needs to be stitched back together, but at the level where the activity now takes place; in buildings far above the ground floor.
Our proposal is the Horizontal Skyscraper. Composed of tower-sized buildings in repose, they connect the various showrooms, designers, sales forces and the occasional workshop while housing the most spectacular runway spaces in the world. The common ground connects the tops of the buildings rather than the bases, and the fashion world gets a home where it deserves one; far above the street, high in the clouds.
But these 6 sideways towers don’t just reconnect the Fashion District, they provide its Identity. The glass curtain wall patterns: polka dots, stripes, checks, plaid and even stocking mesh that adorn the buildings are visible throughout the city and even from satellite views! These stitches that reintegrate the District are both functional and iconic.
Finally, the additional 2 million square feet of space provides the convention center space NYC needs in a location that is actually accessible to mass transit and hotels. They would, together, comprise the most spectacular event spaces in a city that never seems to run out of an excuse to throw a party!
The Fashion District could once again become the place to be.