Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Archer Global Zipper & Trim

We are back in New York. Goodbye cousins, we miss you!

I am still severely jetlagged. Andor and Anna are getting up at 6 a.m. every morning, and we are all a bit disoriented--but happy to be home. I was very proud of my kids for sitting still the entire time in the plane. We did not get the bulkhead, but the man in front of us didn't even know he had kids behind him, that's how quiet they were! :-)

Since I have my computer back, I now have access to the photos I took before I left for Germany.

I visited one of the coolest stores I have seen so far: Archer Global Zipper and Trim, on 39th street (244 West 39th Street, between 7th and 8th ave, New York, NY, 10018, 2nd floor, 212 354 6111, http://www.zippersandtrim.com/). I took the elevator up to the second floor and stepped into a large warehouse-looking space with lots and lots of shelves, all filled with--you guessed it--zippers!

Rory, the owner, was talking on the phone with a friend when I walked in. He is one of those great loud-mouthed New Yorkers who say exactly what they think. After he was done we talked about, well... zippers. I loved being in a place that sells only one thing, but in so many variations. I had no idea there was such a variety. Rory told me he has coil zippers, brass zippers, molded vislan, nylon, jaquard zippers, and invisible zippers (and that's not even all of them). You can order in bulk from him, but you can also buy one zipper. He will create whatever you are looking for. His shelves are full of boxes that anyone can rummage through. Rory says it's easier that way. He'd rather walk after people and clean up than have to walk along with every customer. You can spend hours browsing, looking at colors, textures, weight...

When I knit, I use zippers for jackets and coats, but sometimes also just for decoration. Besides having zippers made out of all kinds of materials, Rory also carries various decorative metal pieces for closing the zippers.

The most important thing when choosing a zipper for a knitted piece of clothing is to take a fine, flexible one, especially if you end up wearing it on your skin. Harder, sturdier zippers can pull the garment, or make it hang strangely (because they are heavy). I mostly recommend zippers for heavier yarn. In lighter yarn, a zipper can make the knitting seem stiff. The easiest zipper to integrate is probably the "invisible zipper", a very fine zipper that dissappears inside fabric and is nearly undetectable from the outside. With some coats, especially a floor length knitted coat, zippers can have a stabilizing effect. They will keep the wool in shape. In that case I would recomend a sturdier kind.

It was really nice to be in a store that has very outspoken staff. Everyone was joking and teasing each other. I could not stop laughing. The staff is very experienced and will help you with anything you need (unless they are working on large orders--then they might ask you to come back on a different day). In a separate part of the store, Rory also sells belt buckles, steamers, sewing utensils and many other things. To find out all of the items, you really have to go to the store--it's pretty eclectic.

Rory told me he started on Lower Broadway, working for one of those old garment stores that I wrote about a few weeks ago (see P&S Fabrics). He used to work thirteen hour days when he first started out, in a company that produced sportswear. "They worked me to the bone," he said, "but it was great training. I learned everything I know in that store." After the garment center moved away from Broadway, Rory continued to work in the industry. His last job was in a zipper store that no longer exists. When it closed, he started his own business on 39th street.

Thanks again to Greg from Stitch and Bitch Cafe. This was another one of his recommendations. :-)

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