Studio Seven Arts, voted Best Art Gallery of 2011 by Diablo magazine's readers, is bedecked in one-of-a-kind fine art, handcrafted jewelry, and eclectic crafts, fostering an inspiring backdrop to their custom-framing services. The staff members curate a collection of American art pieces, including locally made creations, displaying handcrafted fine jewelry and skillfully made crafts that can be both functional and decorative—much like a scarecrow in a sundress. The gallery’s in-house framing artisans draw upon 25 years of experience to build custom frames for such treasures as paintings, photos, diplomas, and mirrors of any shape or size. Frames can be outfitted with wood to match any room’s décor, and with a variety of glass options that can block the bleaching effects of sunlight and scribblings of pets who feel they ought to be in all the family photos.
Lauded by style magazines, Chinese Laundry’s array of footwear frames feet in styles ranging from elegant to everyday using eye-catching lines and innovative materials. Complement cocktail dresses by slipping toes into a choice of evening items, such as angelic, gold Willy Shimmer heels ($49.95) and dark and racy Haughty suede heels ($29.95), or wear one of each to engage gams in existential debates about good and evil. A range of daytime togs such as wedges ($29.99–$170), flats ($14.99–$89.95), and sandals ($14.95–$150) pair with jeans, shorts, and sundresses effortlessly, and sleek stiletto Faith boots ($59.95) drape legs in luxury while keeping out wind, rain, and subliminal messages instructing feet to do the mashed-potato.
A frequent winner of Diablo magazine’s Best Maternity Couture Shop in the East Bay award, Stork’s Nest delivers a chic bundle of maternity and baby clothes and nursery accessories. Maternity clothes in a variety of styles, from seersucker dresses ($96) to vertigo pants ($64), snuggle up to their baby-size offspring. In addition to chromosome-specific Baby Brother onesies ($33) and Toni Tierney bluebird dresses ($51), gender-neutral clothes such as Trumpette knit hoodies ($27) keep both boys and girls stylish and un-naked. Stork's Nest also carries a cozy collection of nursery accessories from chenille baby blankets ($32–$64) to mobiles that sing nightly Metallica lullabies.
When Vicki Lapp first started her business in 2003, she taught beading classes out of her home, selling accessories, tools, and beads. Strongly rooted in the philosophy that every person can tap into their creativity, she eventually transformed her small business into a legitimate brick and mortar store: Bead Inspirations. There, in addition to jewelry classes, visitors will find pre-assembled kits to craft necklaces, bracelets, and earrings, or a variety of beads, clasps, and other materials for creating beautiful, hand-made wearables. Fun classes foster a positive, welcoming vibe for crafters to express themselves.
Almost anything could happen to a chicken wing in PS Eatery’s kitchen. The culinary team could crisply fry it and dunk it in buffalo spices, or prepare it Asian-style, tossing it in fish sauce. The eatery specializes in comfort food with a twist, adding flavorful touches and Asian influences to its classic platters. The mac and cheese, for instance, comes crowned in Japanese-style panko breadcrumbs and mixed with spicy tuna. Grilled pork loins arrive sided with tasty tangles of spaghetti chow mein, and even the humble veggie burger is reinvented with six layers of yellow squash, eggplant, and zucchini, rather than the standard autumn leaves.
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.