The Los Angeles Fashion District spans almost 100 blocks, from 6th St. down to the Santa Monica Freeway, about eight block east of Broadway. This area is home to such label manufacturers as American Apparel, Ed Hardy and Christian Audigier, and while wholesale business dominates, there's plenty of retail for shoppers to check out in the neighborhood.
Most retail businesses are open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, with heaviest traffic coming on Saturdays but about two-thirds shutting down on Sundays. Contact individual stores directly to confirm their hours. The bargain-hunters paradise is found along Santee Alley, with 150 small stores and vendors selling anything and everything between Santee Street and Maple Avenue, from Olympic Boulevard to 12th Street. Santee Alley never closes; check out more at www.thesanteealley.com.
Throughout the district, sample sales are usually held the last Friday of the month from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The California Market Center, Cooper Design Space, Gerry Building and The New Mart, all located at the intersection of 9th and Los Angeles Streets, are major hubs for such sales.
Looking for on-the-spot advice? The free Downtown LA Walks Podcast Shopping Tour touches on the Fashion District's features and other downtown shopping areas. Those looking for more personal help should check out Urban Shopping Adventures, experts in offering themed tours for crafters and quilters, birthday parties, holidays, bribes and bachelorettes.
According to fashiondistrict.org, the official website of the LA Fashion District, here are some tips and terms the fashionably savvy should know:
* Many stores are wholesale-only. Signs reading "Solo Mayoreo" or "Wholesale only" will be posted on the outside if they are not open to the general public. A few open to the public on Saturdays; when in doubt, ask.
* Many stores do not accept credit cards and only take cash. There are numerous ATMs located throughout the district; see the LA Fashion District map guide for exact locations.
* Bargaining is encouraged. Store owners are more likely to lower the prices if you buy more than one item.
* Most stores do not have formal dressing rooms.
For the complete list of tips, check out http://www.fashiondistrict.org/retail_shopping/Shopping_Hints.html.
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