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The Fashion District in Downtown Los Angeles

The Fashion District in Downtown Los Angeles

The Fashion District spans over 90 blocks of downtown Los Angeles and is the epicenter of fashion industry activity. Offering designer dresses and trade showrooms exclusively dedicated to fabric lovers alike, it attracts designers and fabric lovers.

Mary Price owns a small local garment manufacturer here and is concerned about a proposed community plan that doubles the areas where developers can build housing developments – it could push away garment workers and fashion brands.

The History

Fashion District, situated at the core of Downtown Los Angeles, is a bustling commercial center comprised of vintage brick and concrete warehouses housing top-of-the-line restaurants, exclusive retail, and Class-A creative office spaces.

Since 1882, the Garment District has been home to manufacturing and wholesale businesses. Beginning with FIDM opening its doors, more clothing companies began moving into the district based on what type of clothing they produce; Santee Alley remains a famous bargain hunter’s destination, with everything from dresses and shoes to accessories being sold there.

The Fashion District is home to numerous designer showrooms. Although most are catering mainly to trade professionals, the public can visit certain times for sample sales and events – one such example being during September/October’s annual Fall Sample Sale event where tickets can be bought online.

Fashion District businesses tend to be small and local, making the district unique. Mary Price owns Ocean + Main boutique apparel company, which employs about 20 people in downtown Portland. She wants the Fashion District to continue growing while also wanting city officials to protect active garment manufacturers.

The Fashion District is home to a Business Improvement District (BID), intending to improve the neighborhood’s economic environment by raising public awareness, stimulating business activity, increasing property values, and drawing additional investment into the area. Funding comes via an assessment levied against district property owners with oversight from a 15-member board. As part of their mission statement, The BID believes it essential to support locally owned businesses that contribute significantly to its history and character, yet some worry that development plans in Fashion District could stifle these small local enterprises over time.

The Shopping

Rodeo Drive may get all the glory for LA shopping, but in its downtown zone lies another noteworthy shopping district called Fashion District, with over 1,000 independent retailers selling everything from couture formal attire to swimwear and denim. This bustling walkable enclave of fashion, flowers, and fabric is a hub of apparel production on the west coast and allows bargain hunters to purchase all types of styles at wholesale prices.

Fashion District is home to wholesale businesses, but retail shopping remains integral. Many family-owned shops provide merchandise ranging from affordable trends to upscale luxury; its vibrant neighborhood also contains the largest flower market and textile market in America.

Fashion District provides something for everyone, whether searching for Quinceanera dresses in Santee Alley, special-occasion gowns from Larchmont boutiques, or couture pieces from local designers. The area is safe, and the staff is friendly and helpful. Be sure to bring a luggage carrier or stroller and plan time for lunch at one of the numerous cafes or restaurants within its confines.

Chances are, you could catch one of those showroom sample sales on Friday, where end-of-season garments and accessories are sold to the general public at a fraction of their original cost – up to 70% less than their retail prices! Otherwise, expect 30-70% lower savings at boutiques or specialty shops.

While much of the Fashion District caters exclusively to wholesale business, some specialty stores sell to the general public, offering items such as lingerie, wedding gowns, and vintage clothing. There are also textile and notion stores selling everything from trim and beading supplies to imported silk fabrics and European upholstery fabrics at discounted prices, perfect for designers, stylists, and crafters seeking bulk quantities at reduced rates – especially between 8th Street and Olympic Boulevard between Maple Avenue and San Julian Street.

The Nightlife

The Fashion District is an iconic American institution. Sewing machines hum while workers sew new Ocean + Main dresses or French seam silk caftans. Each day, this 90-block zone of prewar commercial buildings and modern towers houses over 5,000 companies that employ over 50,000 workers while taking in $8 billion each year.

After dark, however, the area transforms into an exciting and delightful hub of top-tier dining, exclusive retail, and Class-A creative office space. City Market South (a 75,000-square-foot mix of vintage warehouses with top-tier dining) serves up high fashion retail alongside fine dining experiences while neighboring Santee Alley serves up fabric to perfume to toys for shoppers to explore.

Many of the 2,000 independent businesses here specialize in wholesale clothing sales, while on every last Friday of each month, showrooms open their doors to the general public for bargain-price end-of-season sample garments. Furthermore, this district hosts five primary market weeks each year within its showroom buildings that cater only to trade representatives.

No doubt New York and Paris boast more extraordinary glamour, yet even without the high-profile designers they offer, this district attracts over 1.5 million visitors annually and boasts an even broader selection of merchandise than either.

Fashion District stores typically serve other retailers and fashion entrepreneurs during the day; at night, however, Santee Alley becomes a lively pedestrian walkway offering everything from clothing, accessories, perfume, toys, and perfume at deeply discounted prices.

The Los Angeles Fashion District is easily accessible by freeways 110, 101, 10, 5, and 6. Parking options range from surface lots and structures on nearly every block to metered street parking spots. Downloading the Los Angeles Fashion District Parking App on iPhone and Android will provide parking information based on your current location and let you save your parking spot and search businesses within 100 blocks radius.

The Food

Shopping for Quinceanera dresses at Santee Alley or fabric at the Downtown LA Fashion District Fabric Center or enjoying some delicious cuisine in Dama, world-class restaurants in this area make an experience. The Fashion District features established favorites and up-and-coming hotspots to give visitors an unforgettable shopping and dining experience.

Dining at the Fashion District is like shopping for clothing: there’s something to suit all budgets and tastes. On a tight budget? Head straight for the International Food Court, where they’ll find Mexican, Chinese, seafood kabobs, and pho. Those willing to spend more can treat themselves to gourmet fried chicken at Poppy + Rose or enjoy an indulgent brunch in City Market South at Best Girl – both provide fantastic value options!

Dama is a Latin-inspired restaurant and bar in the former Pacific Banana Company building in Los Angeles’ Fashion District, boasting a deco-tropical design. Pablo Moix created an outstanding cocktail menu, while Antonia Lofaso offers flavor-forward dishes inspired by her travels through Spain, Latin America, and Caribbean countries. If you are hosting an event, Dama’s team would be more than happy to accommodate catering requests; their venue can seat up to 150 guests for indoor and outdoor events.