It comes as no surprise that Los Angeles, a town of red carpets, sidewalk runways, and the infamous question of "Who are you wearing?" has an entire district named after and dedicated to fashion. What may astonish visitors is that the hub of the apparel industry on the West Coast does not refer to the chic boutiques of Beverly Hills and Rodeo Drive. Located in downtown Los Angeles, the LA Fashion District is 90 blocks of heaven for retailers, wholesale buyers, designers, stylists, fashion students, and bargain shoppers.
Primarily, the Fashion District is a place of commerce with 80 percent of the district comprised of wholesale-related business. Los Angeles is often looked to as a trend-setting city in the fashion world, and the who's who of the fashion industry gather at the Fashion District to facilitate this process. The showroom buildings of the area called the Intersection hold five market weeks a year. Located on 9th and Los Angeles, this region of the Fashion District boasts "more fashion per square foot than anywhere else in the universe."
For those just looking to score a hot pair of jeans or sassy shoes at wholesale prices, the Fashion District has become a sort of nucleus in which one can keep up with the latest trends without breaking the bank. With over 1,000 stores that sell to the general public at discounted prices, it is bargain-buyer bliss. The stores in the Fashion District are independent, not the chain stores that you find in a typical shopping mall, but shoppers can expect to find merchandise — many times brand-name — discounted from 30-70% off retail prices. The retail shopping area is open seven days a week from 10 am. to 5 pm., but Saturdays are the busiest as many wholesale-only stores will sell to the general public on that day. Santee Alley is a particular area of interest for visitors due to its festival-like atmosphere. This most popular area of the Fashion District is an actual alley (located between Santee Street and Maple Avenue, from Olympic Boulevard to 12th Street) with over 150 vendors selling anything from apparel and accessories, to toys and perfume.
For those looking for something a bit more fragrant than clothes, the Fashion District is home to the largest wholesale and retail flower selection in the United States. Located along Wall Street, between 7th and 8th Street, shoppers will find nearly every variety of cut flower, plus potted plants, dried and silk flowers, and floral supplies. The LA Flower Market is open for business hours seven days a week, but has special hours for the general public, with a small admission fee.
The LA Fashion District also has the largest selection of textiles and notions in the country. Mostly though, the LA Fashion District offers an incredibly unique shopping experience, allowing consumers to purchase cutting edge styles at a fraction of the price, all set in the creative core of the fashion world.
A few good things to remember when shopping:
- • Not all stores are open to the public. Look for the signs. "Solo Mayoreo" means Wholesale Only.
- • Many shops do not accept credit cards, so have cash handy.
- • Bargaining is encouraged. The more you buy, the better deal you may get.
- • Many stores don't have formal dressing rooms.
- • Merchandise is always changing, so if you see something you like, buy it. It may not be there later.
- • Choose items carefully. Many items are sold "as is."
- • Wear comfortable shoes!
- Retail Stores: 10am to 5pm
- LA Flower Market: Monday, Wednesday, Friday: 8am to 12pm, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday: 6am to 12pm
- Retail Stores: Free
- LA Flower Market: Monday through Friday: $2; Saturday: $1
- Downtown Los Angeles, primarily between 7th Street on the East and 405 Freeway on the West, Main Street on the North and San Pedro Street on the South.
- For a comprehensive look at hours and maps of the Fashion District go to www.fashiondistrict.org