“Schmatta: Rags To Riches To Rags,” a documentary about the rise and decline of New York’s garment district — and the efforts to preserve what remains of a sector that played a vital role in the American Jewish experience during the past century — premieres October 19 on HBO. Its director, Marc Levin, recently sat down with the Forward’s senior writer Nathaniel Popper to discuss the Jewish workers, employers and gangsters who shaped the fashion industry; how the garment district influenced designers like Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein and Donna Karan, and what the Torah has to say about what we wear.
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Podcast editor: Gabrielle Birkner