If you have not been Downtown lately, we have FOUR reasons for you to visit the Los Angeles Fashion District. This small part of our beloved Downtown has evolved into the center of Fabrics, Fashion, Flowers, and Food. Alliteration aside, you can also find some of the hottest hotels and galleries…so I guess that makes 6 reasons.
We embarked on our tour of the LA Fashion District without a clue as what to expect. It has been years since we really explored the area. Sure, we sourced flowers for our own wedding, prima Bridget’s wedding and bought some fun vases and pompoms, but we never really took the time to look beyond the rainbow sprays of flowers spilling out onto the busy streets. So park your car (or scooter) and prepare for a lot of walking. Pack light, bring cash and plenty of shopping bags. The district expands 100 blocks throughout DTLA with independently owned shops, retailers and wholesalers. Let’s go!
Let’s start with FOOD.
The Fashion District has plenty to offer. Dozens of cafes, fast food joints, casual and upscale dining options. There are far too many to list here but the LA Fashion District website has all the details. We did a lot of walking so we felt justified in eating two lunches. South City Fried Chicken is a pop-up (Mon-Sat 11 am – 4 pm) located in the super chic Preux & Proper, a New Orleans inspired eatery. The indoor/outdoor space is packed nightly, but the food is Bib Gourmand good. The pop-up is not just a fried chicken joint, it’s more like a love letter to southern-style fried chicken. But don’t skimp on the sides because the mac & cheese and Dr. Pepper wings are delicious.
Next, we tried Cilantro Lime, a local foodie food-court favorite. Tacos, tortas, quesadillas and, for those who enjoy that sort of thing, you can easily add some crunch to any dish by adding flaming hot Cheetos. As I said, it’s not for everybody, but every trip should be an adventure.
CHECK OUT THE FASHION
Anchored on the NW side is the California Market Center, a place, nay, palace of fashion, bills itself as the hub for LA fashion and creative communities. This corner of the Fashion District (9th & Los Angeles) is where you’ll find showrooms and sample sales…yes, for men, women and everyone in between. And sizes. Check the LA Fashion District website for more info, but generally the last Friday of the month between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Most Angelinos know about Santee Alley, but in case you don’t, its about two blocks in the Fashion District that are packed with over 150 vendors. Cash is king here, so get ready to haggle over everything from sunglasses, hats, makeup, and clothes.
FASHION AND FABRICS – FABULOUS!
Fashion and Fabrics often get lumped together, but the fabric industry looms large here…see what I did there? According to the LA Fashion District website, “The LA Fashion District is home to the largest selection of textiles and notions in the United States.” This is wholesale and retail folks. So you can make yourself a dress or an apron for your favorite Latino Foodie…me. And what a selection! We stopped at Blue Moon Fabrics to scope out the material used in one of JLO’s dresses designed by Michael Costello. It is a METAL Mini Dress in Blue Moon’s Classic Scale Mesh. It’s not something I’d wear to the beach, but it is GORGEOUS.
GET THERE EARLY FOR BEST PICK OF FLOWERS
Flowing from fashion and fabrics, we followed our noses to the flowers! There are flower businesses everywhere, but we ventured into the California Flower Mall. These stores are open to wholesale and retail during normal business hours and require no admission fee. Free entry. Fresh cut flowers. Wholesale AND RETAIL. So you can walk in off the street and buy a single bouquet or place an order for beautiful centerpieces and stunning sprays. Mireya’s Flowers showroom was filled with white hydrangeas and delicate pink roses in elegant, towering wedding centerpieces that seemed to be holding the roof up. We were gifted pinkish-orange bromeliads, which brings up a good point. The flowers vendors also sell now flowering plants like cactus and succulents, but also anything green. Oh, and I almost forgot to mention: marigolds. Lots and lots of marigolds for all you Dia de los Muertos remembrances.
WHERE is this Shangri-LALA Land? Between Towne Ave. (but as far East as Griffith Ave.) and Broadway, from the 10 Freeway all the way up to 6th Street. You’re definitely going to want to check out the LA Fashion District’s website to scout out your trip. And their Instagram account for some great finds.