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A Guide to L.A.'s Fashion District

A Guide to L.A.'s Fashion District

Join us as we strut down L.A.’s Fashion District and find yourself the right pair of shoes to conquer the world.


4 min read

October 08, 2021

Spread across several blocks, creative minds of interior designers, marketers, wholesalers, and shopaholics come together in L.A.’s Fashion District, the place to flaunt it if you got it—and in case you don’t have it, this is definitely the place to get it. Inside repurposed buildings (a few over a century old), you’ll get to see masterminds in action, cultivating ideas in fashion, media, arts, sales, and publishing. In return, you’ll get plenty of trendy insight. Seems like a fair trade, right? If you agree (which you totally should), join us as we strut down L.A.’s Fashion District and find yourself the right pair of shoes to conquer the world.

The Los Angeles Fashion District, previously known as the Garment District, is a business improvement district in the City of Angels.

All You Need to Know About The History of the Los Angeles Fashion District 

History is woven into Downtown L.A.’s fabric, especially when you take into consideration the evolution of costuming and design. The 90-block zone stacked with pre-war commercial buildings and a few striking modern towers is now home to more than 5,000 companies. Moreover, D.T.L.A. employs roughly 50,000 people and accumulates roughly eight billion dollars per year. When you visit L.A.’s Fashion District in the earlier hours of the day, you’ll truly marvel at how this bustling world captures the essence of fashion. Mannequins stand in rows, waiting to be dressed, as a thousand boxes are swiftly shipped in. It’s chaotic, sure, but there’s something incredible about how this area operates, and that’s exactly what we’ve set out to explore.

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Aptly named the Garment District in its earlier days, the Fashion District began developing in the 1920s when the Cooper Building started construction at the corner of Los Angeles and Ninth Streets. Warehouses that specialized in both men’s and women’s clothing quickly sprouted up, with the Cooper Building soon becoming the hub for fashion showrooms. 

In 1909, a group of Chinese and Japanese vendors founded the city’s central produce distribution market, the Los Angeles City Market. This complex has been shaped and reshaped many times, but with each slight alteration, history remains intact. If you’re thinking of exploring this place, you most definitely should. Here, you’ll discover so much you didn’t know, whether it’s about Fashion District’s history, development, or business associated with the Chinese community.

The neighborhood caters to wholesale selling and has over 4,000 retail and wholesale businesses selling apparel, footwear, accessories, and fabrics.

How to Find the Los Angeles Fashion District 

Easily accessible from the 110, 101, 10, 5, and 60 Freeways, the L.A. Fashion District has a bunch of all-day parking available on nearly every block. Rates range from $8 to $15, and metered street parking is also an option.

Conveniently, there’s also the L.A. Fashion District Parking app—available both for iPhone and iOS—that provides parking information based on your current location, allows you to save your parking location, and look up shops and businesses within a 100-block radius. The app also features a downloadable parking tour, driving directions, and a general crash course on the district.

The Santee Alley is a famous flea market featuring a range of vendors selling clothing, handbags, accessories, and street fare.

L.A. Fashion District Stores 

Shop Till You Drop at The Santee Alley

A La La Land staple, The Santee Alley is famous for its crazy bargains scattered across a dizzying amount of retailers. Open 365 days a year, this buzzing open-air market has everything from trendy apparel and accessories to toys and perfume.

Explore City Market South

You might want to set everything aside because even a quick trip to City Market South can easily turn into an all-day extravaganza. The market encompasses 75,000 square feet of vintage and brick warehouses, unifying top-notch dining, exclusive retail, and Class-A creative office space.

The menswear area offers jeans, casual and business shirts, cowboy and western shirts, shorts, polos, athletic wear, and more.

Check out Menswear

An entire sub-district of L.A.'s Fashion District is dedicated strictly to menswear, because why should girls have all the fun? Bordered roughly from Los Angeles Street to Maple Avenue, the menswear area offers everything from jeans, business, and western wear to polos, T-shirts, and athletic clothing.

And Don’t Forget The Flowers

Bring the outdoors inside with the kaleidoscopic blooms at the Los Angeles Flower District, a six-block collection of wholesale and retail flower vendors located along the 700 block of Wall Street (between Maple Street and San Julian Street). Here, you’ll find the Original Los Angeles Flower Market—a 50,000 square-foot space that’s the largest flower market in the country—as well as the California Flower Mall. Daily shipments come in all shapes, sizes, and fragrances; simply iris-istible. 

About 80 percent of the L.A. Fashion District is dedicated to wholesale business. However, retail shopping is an integral part of the district.

Tips for Shopping at the L.A. Fashion District 

If you’re a first-time visitor glancing at a mountain of stores flooding the 100-block area, it’s natural to get a little intimidated. You’re probably looking at a map right now thinking, “If only 

there was this all-knowing guide that could tell me all the dos and don’ts of the Fashion District…” Oh wait, that’s exactly what we’re here to do. Here are a few tips that’ll get you shopping like a pro in no time.

1. Bring cash: Many of the stores in the Fashion District are strictly cash only, so make sure to keep an eye out for an ATM.

2. Merchandise turnover: If you see something you like, you’d better get it fast. With the insane turnover rates, you may not be able to find that item again.

The Fashion District is a bargain hunter’s paradise, with over 1,000 stores that sell to the general public at wholesale discounted prices.

3. No dressing rooms: In the majority of the stores, formal dressing rooms are going to be hard to find.

4. Solo mayoreo: A huge chunk of the stores in the Fashion District are wholesale-only (solo mayoreo) and they’re not open to the general public. These kinds of stores are going to have signs outside and some will on occasion sell to the public—it never hurts to ask.

5. Shop more to spend less: A lot of store owners are likely to lower the prices if you purchase more than one item.

6. “As is”: If merchandise says “as is” that means all sales are final, so before buying, make sure to examine the items carefully.

7. Get comfortable shoes: The Fashion District is large and you’re going to be doing a lot of walking around, so make sure to bring your comfiest pair of sneakers.

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