garmentos

New Yorker “Tables for Two” entry by Leo Carey, June 13 & 20, about Al Fiori, a high-end Italian restaurant in a high-end hotel, the Setai (400 Fifth Ave. at 36th St.):

The restaurant is up a spiral staircase just inside the Setai’s entrance. Windows of fritted glass suggest that the establishment wants to have as little as possible to do with the neighborhood’s garmentos and electronics shops …

Garmento was new to me — but obviously not to many readers of the New Yorker.

The word (pronounced in English, with penultimate accent and final /oz/) refers to workers in the garment trade (though it could in principle refer to garments or to establishments in a garment district). A few other cites:

The Young Garmentos: The T-shirt trade becomes a calling (Malcolm Gladwell piece in the New Yorker, April 24, 2000; link)

Milton Glaser, Two Garmentos (Glaser telling a NYC Garment District joke on YouTube; link)

Analysis: Garmentos proclaim the end of denim dominance (link)

Los Garmentos at Style-Daddy (San Francisco firm offering t-shirts, scarves, etc.; link)

(If it were mock Italian, the plural would be i garmenti. For all I know, i garmenti is already available in real Italian for ‘garments’, ‘people in the garment business’, or ‘establishments dealing in garments’. Same for los garmentos in real Spanish. But we’re talking about English here — Garment District or trendy English, but English.)

Garmento is obviously a useful word in the ‘someone in the garment business’ sense (though I could fancy garmentchik or garmentnik in this sense — but I concede that garmento probably is more easily understood by more people than these alternatives).

One Response to “garmentos”

  1. stepantrofimovic Says:

    I don’t know whether the information could be useful to you, but there is actually no Italian word such as “garmento/garmenti”, nor anything even loosely related to the English “garment”.

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