Judith Weller, a Jewish Israeli sculptor who immigrated to the United States in 1960, completed the Garment Worker sculpture in 1984 to honor the thousands of Jewish people who worked in the garment industry in New York in the early 1900′s. An estimated 60% of the Jewish community of New York worked in the garment industry while 75% of the garment companies were owned by Jewish people. Tens of thousands of primarily poor Ashkenazi immigrants from Eastern Europe came to New York at the turn of the century and would contribute enormously to the creation of an American style. Said Abraham Cahan; a Lithuanian Jewish person, editor of the Jewish Daily Forward, and novelist, in 1917:
“Foreigners ourselves, and mostly unable to speak English, we had Americanized the system of providing clothes for the American woman of moderate or humble means. The average American woman is the best-dressed woman in the world, and the Russian Jew has had a good deal to do with making her one.”
The Garment Worker sculpture can be found in New York City on West 7th Avenue between 39th and 40th street in the Garment District.