The LA Fashion District

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The Fashion District on the West Coast serves as a hub of apparel production and is an attractive venue for wholesale buyers, shoppers, stylists, and designers. In addition, its vibrant arts scene, street food offerings, elevated drinks offerings, and global cuisine add up to make an excellent shopping and dining experience.

This downtown district’s more than 2,000 independent shops specialize in fabrics and notions for clothing, crafts, and home decor projects. Shoppers can find unique bargains during market weeks when showrooms sell their end-of-season samples at significantly reduced rates.

Getting There

The Fashion District spans 90 blocks in Downtown Los Angeles and is the focal point for wholesalers, fashion students, and Hollywood stylists who come here for all their shopping needs. You will find formal attire (often fresh off the runway), jewelry, shoes, and fabrics at prices far below retail.

Arriving in Los Angeles’ fashion district can be intimidating for first-time visitors, but don’t panic: most stores and buildings in its fashion district are open to the general public (with some designer showrooms being reserved exclusively for trade). Shops selling children’s clothing are located along Pico Boulevard and 12th Street; Main Street and Santee Street offer womenswear, while Wall and Maple Streets between San Pedro and Olympic offer menswear shops.

One of the most fun things to do in the fashion district is shop at Santee Alley, a pedestrian-only shopping bazaar offering fantastic clothing and accessories at bargain prices. Plus, haggling is encouraged; try asking merchants to lower the cost until you reach wholesale-level pricing as close as possible!

Fashion District, Southern California’s epicenter for textiles and notions, boasts the largest selection of materials and ideas in Southern California, featuring wholesale and retail fabric stores specializing in everything from trim to beading thread, embroidery thread to European upholstery fabric. Designers, stylists, and crafters converge here regularly to source supplies – especially during events like the Textile Trade Show at California Market Center.

Reaching LA Fashion District is easy via Metro Rail, with Pershing Square Station as its starting point. DASH buses run throughout the area at 50 cents (35 cents with a TAP card). Car access is also readily available with several parking garages providing daily rates from $5-15; or download the Moovit app, used by over 1.5 million users worldwide, to quickly find information on fares, schedules, and directions.

Shopping

The LA Fashion District serves as the west coast center of the apparel industry and serves as a mecca for wholesale shoppers, retail shoppers, fashion students, and Hollywood stylists. In downtown Los Angeles, this district houses over 2,000 wholesale businesses selling everything from designer clothes and textiles to textile notions and notions. Santee Alley and California Market Center (CMC), two popular shopping spots where LA Fashion Week events and tradeshows occur frequently, also comprise this shopping destination.

Some wholesale showroom buildings within the district are for trade use only, but most retailers and Santee Alley are open to the public. Every last Friday of every month is an ideal time to visit for sample sales when many showrooms sell end-of-season samples at drastically reduced prices.

Visits to the Fashion District should include visits to its various fabric and trim stores for an in-depth and professional experience. From simple cotton fabric stores, European silks, beaded trim, and more – designers, stylists, and crafters all depend on this fabulous collection to realize their visions – and most fabric stores can be found within four blocks from 8th Street down Olympic Boulevard between San Pedro Avenue and Maple Avenue.

Fashion District is an inviting and walkable area, yet it can become overrun and overwhelming. To maximize comfort while shopping in this bustling marketplace, wear comfortable walking shoes and break up your experience by visiting one of its numerous restaurants or food vendors. Also, be prepared with cash, as many vendors do not accept credit cards.

Dining

Shopping can be exhausting in the Fashion District, so taking a quick break for lunch or drinks at one of its numerous eateries and bars is always welcome. You’ll find everything from sushi and burgers to Middle Eastern specialties – you won’t go hungry here. Additionally, LA Fashion District BID was founded here back in 1996.

The Fashion District BID relies on binding assessments on local property owners to fund maintenance and security efforts within its district, creating a cleaner, safer, friendlier place for work, shopping, living, and social gathering. Furthermore, this helps boost its brand and image, making it more desirable among businesses and tourists.

The Fashion District in Southern California is the hub of fashion commerce. Buyers from around the globe come here to check out new designers and see clothing lines that might soon make it to Saks or Neiman Marcus stores; for startup entrepreneurs, this district may provide their gateway to fame and fortune.

Therefore, this area boasts over 100 wholesale and retail fabric shops. Many have been family-run for decades, boasting low prices, quality products, and vast selections. Indeed, the fashion district offers one of the nation’s most extensive offerings of textiles and notions.

Shopping destinations that stand out for shoppers include Santee Alley’s two blocks, which offer both bargain hunting and an energetic atmosphere. Other places where finished apparel can be purchased are Main and Los Angeles streets between 7th and 9th or Pico Avenue from 12th to 16th streets.

The Fashion District is an economically and socially diverse community with a longstanding history in fashion. While not as glamorous as New York or Paris, the district remains a popular starting point for new designers hoping to break through. Notable labels like Trina Turk or Tarina Tarantino began life here.

Events

The Los Angeles Fashion District boasts an expansive economy that caters to everyone. Whether searching for Quinceanera dresses in Santee Alley or buying fresh flowers from downtown flower district shops, there is always plenty to see and do in this vibrant downtown neighborhood.

Fashion District is an epicenter for the textile business, featuring hundreds of wholesale stores along Santee Alley and at California Market Center. You’ll find everything from tulle and satin to exotic silks and faux furs at bargain prices – you may even come across some beautiful hand-loomed fabrics!

Retail stores in the area are almost all independently-owned and operated, providing nearly everything you could ever need – from designer-inspired clothing and shoes, lingerie, makeup, and children’s clothes – right down to makeup for children. Some popular retail corridors include Pico Boulevard between Main and Santee Streets and Wall and Maple Streets between Olympic and San Julian Streets.

But retailers in the district are also struggling, with many fearing they’ll be forced out by new apartments that are popping up in old warehouses and office buildings downtown. “This is a community we have worked very hard to foster over 20 years,” according to Mary Price, who works with local manufacturers and runs her own fashion label, Ocean + Main.

Price reports Fashion District showrooms have an 18% vacancy rate, and she fears developers are forcing garment workers to relocate in their rush to convert downtown buildings into housing. With the city’s new Downtown Community Plan increasing the areas where developers can construct housing developments – and making Fashion District factories vulnerable – Price voices her concerns that developers will push out garment workers as part of this change process.

Garment industry advocates won some protections under the new plan, including requirements that future housing developments include space for sewing operations. But critics contend it still falls short; they want the entire downtown core redeveloped with housing and jobs for working people as part of an equitable mix. Meanwhile, they’re calling on politicians to protect Fashion District from becoming another high-rise neighborhood like Downtown Los Angeles’ Arts District.