Tour of the Los Angeles Fashion District
The Los Angeles Fashion District is a design, warehouse, and distribution nexus of the clothing, accessories and fabric industry in Downtown Los Angeles.
The Fashion District spans 90 blocks and is the hub of the apparel industry on the West Coast of the United States.
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Although the majority of business in the LA Fashion District is dedicated to wholesale business, retail shopping is a vital part of the District’s landscape. The LA Fashion District is a bargain hunter’s paradise, with over 1,000 stores that sell to the general public at wholesale discounted prices. Shoppers can expect to find bargains of 30% to 70% off of retail prices on apparel and accessories for the entire family.
The thriving district spans from Santee Street on the West, to Central on the East. 8th Street on the North to 16th Street on the South. You will find the most productive areas to shop are along 12th, Pico, Santee, Maple, Wall, and San Julian Streets. As you move east toward San Pedro Street and on to Towne and Crocker Streets the area becomes more upscale, but most of the businesses on this end are wholesale only.
The retail stores are located more on the west end, though you will find retail fashion stores scattered throughout the district. Often stores saying wholesale only on the door are willing to sell to you directly if you have cash. Note, many stores in the district are cash only. The bargains are unheard of. I have two beautiful silk shirts I obtained at a store on Maple Street for $15 each, and a faux leather jacket I picked up in the Santee Alley for a mere $25.00. Do beware if shopping for major brand names and the price seems too good to be true. Several stings have been run in the area busting retailers for selling knock offs.
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Sample Sales: Incredible bargains can be found on high end fashion brands on the last Friday of each month when the wholesale fashion showroom buildings are opened to the general public and designers sell their end-of-season samples to the general public at bargain prices. Fashion designers in these normally closed to the public showrooms are some of the world’s most high-end, contemporary fashions as seen on the pages of fashion magazines and film.
Shops in the district tend to be open from 10 am to 5 pm seven days a week, though only about 30% of the shops are open on Sundays. Saturday and Sunday can be exceptionally good bargain days when farmer’s market or flea market style tents and tables line many of the streets and alleys.
Low cost parking lots in the area are abundant. But beware. Some have sign wavers out front advertising $3.00 parking, but once inside the lot an attendant will tell you it is only for the first five minutes and try to gouge you for $20. If so, just leave and go to another lot. Most charge what they say out front.
You might also want to check out the Los Angeles Flower District that is right in the same neighborhood.
Video: Mark Stout Photography
Music: Guiro para Elegua by SONGO 21 Attribution License.