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.
Born in Taxco, dubbed the silver capital of Mexico, Tis * tik's owner Perla Brito Cuevas spent her youth rubbing shoulders with local designers at her family's jewelry store. From there, Perla’s love of artisanal jewelry manifested itself in the creation of a Boston boutique where she imports wearable works of art from Mexico's most creative designers, many of whom share her Taxco birthplace. Named for a Mayan term meaning, "a warm welcome to you," Tis * tik amasses the masterpieces of artisans such as Pavel Perez, who twists pure silver into intricate earrings and rings, and Leticia Rayas, who molds real fish scales into colorful necklaces that fit into decorative boxes hand-painted with birds and flowers. Perla rounds out her accessory arsenal with vibrant handbags, some of which have been molded from recycled candy wrappers by jail inmates as part of a rehabilitation program.
The Baak Gallery is an independent art gallery where the finest works from area artists have been on display since its inception in 1976. This philosophy of cultivating and selling the finest masterpieces continues to this day and has expanded to the world of artistic jewelry. Baak is home to gold creations such as intricate earrings ($75+), necklaces, and bracelets (up to $2,000), while the gallery's sister store, Abrano Silver, is keeper of all things silver.