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.
The eyewear experts at Sunglass Gallery outfit customers' delicate visual organs with high-end sun-shielding spectacles designed to block UV rays while making a bold fashion statement. Squinting-weary patrons can gawk at and try on more than 30 brands of darkened lenses from designers determined to make eyeballs so stylish that earlobes burn with envy. Make your eyes the talk of the ophthalmologist’s office with sightseers from Tom Ford, Versace, Gucci, Diesel, and more. Or, arm orbs against the glare of daylight or flashbulbs with more moderately priced shades from Levi's (starting at $29.95) and New Balance (starting at $39.95).
Bead Bar's bead baristas guide jewelry crafters with a wealth of bauble knowledge, provisioning projects from the amply stocked store. Students can bring their own spirited refreshments to make sessions merrier, journeying past bead-bedazzled walls and cascades of clasps to reach the workshop, where they'll discover the basics of jewelry creation during basic stringing and crimping classes (click here to view the schedule). After pupils choose one of five bracelet kits—which include a clasp, four fire-ball beads, finishing beads, wire, wire guards, and a strand of firepolish beads—instructors model foundational stringing techniques and imbue new crafters with a sense of symmetry and color combinations. Bracelet makers learn how to highlight feature beads and artfully select accent beads, then take an oath to use filler beads only for fighting crimes of bare-wristedness. To bring closure to both classes and adornments, the staff imparts advice on selecting clasps to make sure bracelets can't leave wrists or ankles without asking permission first.
Judith Ripka Jewelry intertwines the rich glaze of gemstones with signature beading and rope twists of exclusively alloyed gold and sterling silver. Fingers searching for natural elegance can snuggle up into the ambrosia stack ring, a sterling-silver affair that decorates the pink crystal of an oval stone with double hearts of white sapphire, symbolizing that the heart is not only unbreakable, but has a backup if needed ($175). The linked silver heart charm bracelet with signature lobster claw coddles a canary crystal heart charm ($195), and the small eclipse earrings entice the ears and frame the face with the dark, rich tones of tastefully shaped black onyx stones ($200).
The judicious jewelers at Avalon Park Jewelers adorn extremities with fine metals, gems, and watches from renowned brand names and extend their expertise to custom designs and on-site jewelry and watch repair. A Skagen watch ($199) promotes time awareness, helping wearers to never be late for an important appointment or stamp-licking convention. Shoppers can embellish eavesdroppers with a pair of diamond-studded earrings ($199+) or shackle wrists in Shamballa bracelets ($36+). They can also propose to significant others or a particularly handsome parking meter with a dazzling engagement ring ($499+). Worn-out wrist clocks and maimed treasured trinkets receive tune-ups via on-site jewelry-repair services, many of which are completed within the same day.
Precision Time’s mall kiosks brim with trained watch repair technicians and display cases stocked with timepieces from manufacturers such as Casio, Invicta, Fossil, and Sottomarino Italia. Use today's deal toward men's or women's watches from Fossil ($65+) or peruse an extensive collection of clearance timepieces. Festoon wrists with durable plastic Rave watches ($29.99+) aglow in vibrant shades of blue, green, and pink that match with outfits or display solidarity with a feuding crayon box faction. Long-delayed exercise plans are jump-started with Timex’s sporty Ironman Basic 10 Lap Digital watch ($39.95), and the dressy stainless steel T2H281 ($39.95), marked by a genuine leather strap and classic white dial background, guarantees entry to fast-food restaurants’ velvet-roped VIP rooms.