The brand American Apparel, which recently celebrated its 10-year anniversary, conjures up images of stylish and well-fitting fashion basics. It also likely brings to mind sassy advertisements featuring long-haired beauties in natural makeup posing in skin-bearing bodysuits and loungewear.
But what many don't know about the brand?despite its name and the slice of apple pie that comes with every purchase?is that all of its clothes are made in America. Everything from sewing and cutting to accounting and marketing happens in one building in downtown Los Angeles, and the rest occurs within a 30-mile radius. Not only that, every slim-fitting pair of pants, spandex bodysuit, and v-neck T-shirt is made in a sweatshop-free environment.
Plus, keeping everything in house means the company eliminates unnecessary and wasteful factors, such as shipping fuel and packing materials, as well as provides jobs to Angelenos, instead of outsourcing them.
Austinites love fashion, but they also love fair, sustainable business practices. The sleek, modernist South Congress location of American Apparel appeals to both of these concerns and more, with its well-made, well-designed products. Known for their iconic, sometimes-risqué ads, American Apparel provides simple daily basics for men, women and children, as well as their line of California Select vintage items. Not only does American Apparel manufacture their products in the United States and pay their employees a fair wage, they are one of the few companies able to actually export American-made clothing. Their manufacturing process integrates a number of green and energy-saving aspects, which combine to make them one of the most forward-thinking fashion chains in the nation.
At Nomadic Notions—a bead shop carrying more than one million types of beads from 20 different countries—teachers lead hands-on workshops on forging your own jewelry. Various teachers helm the Let's Make Earrings class, where they lays out methods for fashioning lobe ornaments using basic techniques. Students learn to wrangle wire and bend the will of beads with techniques including simple loops, wrapped loops, component selection, and adding chain. The instructor also provides design tips to coax earrings into aesthetically pleasing arrangements and aurally pleasing three-part harmonies.
Austin Shoe Hospital's expert menders have repaired men's and women's shoes and boots since 1906. Old, comfortable footwear gains renewed life at the shop with replaced heels and soles, saving patrons from outfitting old pumps with cardboard-box bottoms. Additionally, the cobblers skillfully repair luggage, handbags, belts, and briefcases with services ranging from zipper replacement to full dyeing and reconditioning.
Undergarments have come a long way from the days of mammoth wool bloomers and palm-frond panties, and Underwear's selection of designer and boutique sensual sub-clothing shows that humankind is currently living in the Golden (and White and Black and Meshed) Age of Underthings. Lend yourself support with a light-pink Stella McCartney Daisy Dreaming organic soft-cup bra ($110), or ignite intimacy with an Eberjey Prima Ballerina Vintage V camisole ($66). Bid for boudoir items such as panties ($18–$175), gowns ($161–$325), or loungewear ($52–$325), or prepare for post-ceremony passion with Underwear's collection of bridal specialties.