Yesterday morning, I took a visiting college friend to the Fashion District, via a circuitious route through Silverlake, Echo Park, Angelino Heights, Elysian Park, Chinatown and Little Tokyo. My friends from Vancouver all seem to be infected with the Bay Area virus that causes them to see L.A. as a hellhole, so I have to prove that we do have some lovely parks, we do have some beautiful neighborhoods, and L.A. isn’t all pre-fab malls and chain stores.
So we eventually got down to the Fashion / Toy District border zones, and parked at Los Angeles and Fourth, and started walking. And after we passed the tenth store offering men’s multi-piece suits for under $100, my friend remarked, “Is this place all stores just selling the same thing?”
“Mostly,” I said. “Wait until you see the twenty stores all selling the same cheap shoes.”
My friend then pointed out a very valid question – is there really so much of a demand for these items that all the fashion district stores are able to make a profit, selling the same items for similar prices? How is it that a dozen stores, all selling the same pimpin’ suits, manage to make a living? And, more importantly, if we had a suit district, and a shoe district, and a toy district – did we have a hammock district?
That said, I love Santee Alley. We found LED belt buckles, and faux-rhinestone’d 50 Cent logo bling necklaces, and knockoff Adidas sneakers. And it’s a total wake up call, that a LOT more of the world’s urban population shops in places like Santee Alley, or Broadway, than in places like 7th & Fig. And it’s the largest source of bootleg Chanel purses outside Canal Street in North America, so I’m just waiting until this year’s purse trends hit the stalls to go buy one.
How many people go to the Fashion District from the Westside or the Valley or the other mall-based, middle class areas of L.A. though? Most of my friends haven’t ever been down there. It’s not like it’s a really scary neighborhood or anything, but it just doesn’t seem to register as existing. Am I too far Westside, or is this part of town overlooked by most of the L.A. population that usually keeps their shopping to malls?