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.
United Apparel Liquidators' fashion-savvy buying team compiles an immense stash of brand-new clothing and accessories from acclaimed designers, slicing 70–90% off their original retail price before featuring them on the boutiques' shelves. The stores—which have garnered press from fashion magazines such as Lucky and InStyle over their 30-year history—brim with men's and women's attire, shoes, and jewelry from prominent high-end labels such as Alexander McQueen, Chanel, and Marc Jacobs. Staffers aim to keep the vast collection current and up to date, harnessing their knowledge of the fashion scene to scope out threads from emerging designers and time-traveling thrift-store owners.
Established in 1912, King Jewelers has proudly styled jewelry and timepiece aficionados from around the world. A pioneer among independent couture jewelers, King Jewelers has built an outstanding reputation steeped in quality, value and first-class customer service.
Melding vintage glamour with modern razzle-dazzle, the owner-designer trio at Fox, Vixen & Co. transforms antique jewelry into new wearable art. Instead of letting customers dip their hands in a mixture of tar and gold tooth fillings, the crew uses heirloom jewels to create sparkling finger baubles ($19–$39). Though handy for luring admiring looks, a textured hammered-steel cuff ($24) can also be used to detain midnight refrigerator raiders. After browsing Chanda earrings ($20), customizable glass-bead necklaces ($65 for a 60” strand) and dental grills, tooth fairies, and other gift seekers may collect faux-croc wallets ($16–$19) in a taupe-satin Clover handbag ($54).
Since first stumbling upon them as a child in Colorado, Susan Russell has been enthralled with rocks and fossils. The law offices she found herself in for the first 23 years of adulthood, however, were a far cry from the natural surroundings that first catalyzed her imaginative passion. "I wanted to get back to doing something more creative with the remainder of my years," she told The Tennessean in 2010, which is why she supplemented her daytime gig with classes in metalworking, silversmithing, and repurposing tin cans into airplane propellers. By congregating jewelry designers, glass blowers, potters, and painters, Susan has fulfilled her creative ambition at Atelier, where the artisanal ensemble handcrafts original, oft-customized jewelry and art from real gemstones, exotic pearls, and hand-forged sterling, silver, and gold. Each craftsperson builds their designs around the natural materials personally selected by Susan, ensuring that their pieces emphasize the color and attributes of their coral, fossil, tiger eye, or Peruvian opal centers. The store, voted Nashville's Best Jewelry Store by Nashville Scene readers in 2011, ships every creation in a covered and cotton-filled box that you can gift without additional wrapping to an important person or mannequin in your life.