So this happened. I still can’t wrap my head around this.

( You can click on the panorama photos and the full image will open up – in case you want to see them bigger that is. )

After lamenting all month during #EyesforNewYork that there isn’t anything affordable clothing that’s Made In America – and after shopping at American Apparel in New York – once I got to LA, I Googled for the closest American Apparel store here and stumbled across this. THE American Apparel Warehouse. There’s a factory boutique AND a flea market. I did want to shop more stuff – I’m really not into buying all the fast-fashion stuff and that’s pretty much all that’s available back in India. There are some designers who are trying to change that but it’s too slow – and meanwhile my wardrobe looks bare. I need those t-shirts and shorts and casual cotton dresses.

The American Apparel warehouse was about 4 kilometres from where I’m staying and there’s no better way to explore a city than to walk it. So there I was, in the burning Sun, walking toward Terminal Street via 8th Street. I walked through the Fashion District and the Flower Market and lots of street graffiti. ( Later on when I was paying for all the stuff I bought at the flea market, I asked the guy on the counter if I should walk back via 7th street – because I’d used 8th Street to get there and wanted to use a different street. He told he wouldn’t walk because it wasn’t safe. 8th Street or 7th Street and I told him he should visit India some time. A bunch of boy said hello when I was walking down 8th but that was it – walking the same distance in Delhi would’ve elicited 20-40 cat calls and idiots. )

The flea market has samples and defective goods but it also has perfectly fine stuff too – 90% of which is much cheaper than in their regular stores. It is a warehouse though so you can expect to rummage through tons of stuff. I spent three hours there. It’s usually crowded on the weekend, so go during the week if you’re interested. Apart from me, there were probably 4-5 other potential shoppers in the warehouse. T-shirts that cost $24 at their stores were going for $10 at the flea market. As was this beautiful green leather pair of shoes. A $250 wool / leather jacket was for $90 bucks. You get the picture. Most of the stuff I got has no visible defect except one – I can spot it but I doubt anyone else can.

There were a few people on the curb outside the building with a sign saying “Bring back Dov!” referring to Dov Charney of course, who has been surrounded by a ton of controversy. ( During my NYC trip, we were talking about it too. “We don’t want to shop made in China but we also don’t want to shop at a place with a CEO with a bad reputation! Where does one draw the line? If you don’t compromise at all, there really aren’t any options available for clothing and much else! )

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American Apparel : Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

( Not once has the brand responded to any of my social media updates when I’ve tagged them – but they do have a presence online and they post campaign updates. ) Many product racks at the flea market were covered in dust and a mix of dust and lint, which prompted me to think about how much the brand was really selling. If I’d seen a similar situation in India, I’d have presumed that the brand was dying, if not already dead. I’n not even an American citizen and I was appalled that while there was a lot of noise about getting more brands to “Make In America” and to buy “Made In America”, not many people seemed to buying whatever little is actually “Made In America”. Export / Import, International trade etc. is all good – there are things that are Made In India that are probably not possible to Make In America and vice versa – but as a tourist, when I travel, I prefer to buy local – it’s a nice way of supporting the place you’re visiting and the people who live there. It is a flat world and I could easily order American Apparel wares from their website for delivery in India but it’s not the same – I’d rather buy from Indian “Made In India” stores when I’m in India because I live there. But it is quite appalling to see that the only option I had, as a consumer, while in America, is American Apparel! their stuff is great, undoubtedly, but I’d really like more variety. Between cheap but ugly clothes by smaller local indie labels and horribly expensive, well-designed clothes by high end designer labels, there’s only American Apparel?! Holy smokes America! Holy smokes!

( You can click on the panorama photos and the full image will open up – in case you want to see them bigger that is. )

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