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Our Elegant Neighbor: Elegant Fabrics

Written by Fashion Publishing | Nov 28, 2011.

New York Elegant Fabrics

by Mary Helma, AAS Fashion Design

Let’s be honest: How many of you have entered Elegant Fabrics and left without taking a swatch?  If you’re a Parsons student, chances are you have been to the two story fabric store on 40th Street, and you’ve probably taken a swatch– or ten.  Did you know that you have to pay for them?

Having owned the store since 1980 makes store owner Sue appreciate the store’s high quality standard, but she sure wishes students would pay for their swatches.  Since coming here from Korea 35 years ago, Sue admires the moral values of the United States, in particular honesty.  This is why she wishes students would be thankful for the 5 employees she hired whose sole occupation is to cut swatches of fabric.  Yep, 15 employees work there to help and assist students, all of whom have been trained in fabric kinds and construction, and regardless of their background she gives every one of her employees a chance.   Good customer service is one of the hallmarks of Elegant’s business model.  Roughly 100-300 people a day will come into the store, and many are students, who Sue says she loves helping.

Three of us from Fashion Publishing (Laura, Mary and Alex) took a stroll to Elegant to interview someone in the neighborhood, but of course ended up buying fabrics.  We were impressed by the selection, and Laura, who had never been before, was grateful to not have to fight for a 2 inch swatch of fabric, unlike most other fabric stores.  Mary had been to Elegant many times before and has paid (and not paid) for swatches, but was always happy with the fabric she purchased. Alex admits to taking more than a few swatches in her time at Parsons, but also makes sure to patronize the shop for its selection and service.   “It’s so easy.  I live downtown and it’s my go-to store instead of any other place on Canal Street.”

All in all, Elegant Fabrics is a great store for Parsons students and their wallet, due to the 10% student discount and the great location.  Knowing there is always someone there to help you out and seeing the hard work that goes into the swatches, we think Elegant is a store worthy of checking out.

p.s. If you take more than 10 swatches they’re 25 cents a piece, which will be deducted from your next fabric purchase.

Elegant Fabrics

222 West 40th Street


Weekdays: 9-8pm

Saturdays: 10-5pm

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