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 brim of a giant bowler hat shades the entry to the Village Hat Shop in San Diego’s Hillcrest district, a nod to the store’s decades in the headwear business. A tall display case full of ethnic headdresses just inside the door might give the impression that you’ve stepped into a museum, but the space beyond is filled with current fashions, each one for sale. There are shelves of bejeweled Arturo Rios’ designs with towering tropical feathers, or slip into a Stetson, a newsboy cap or peruse the shelves crammed with costume and knit caps, each rich in color and pattern. One corner caters to Steampunk style, another to historic recreations from years past. Informed and helpful assistants know intuitively which styles best flatter every face, and the sheer lack of headwear diversity has led Hollywood films, musicals and fashion shows to turn to the Village Hat Shop.
Though located on the edge of the historic Gaslamp District, Taste and Thirst draws in its clientele with a distinctly modern atmosphere. The lounge and bar's low lighting and flat-screen TVs cast patrons in a dreamlike glow as they revel from the morning until late at night. Early in the day, kitchen staff prepare breakfast with french toast, piquant omelets, and bottomless mimosas. They also craft traditional pub food such as burgers piled with cheese and house sauce, truffle fries and tater tots, and wings dressed up in nine styles of glaze. Throughout the day, illuminated by the festive white lights wrapped around the bar's pillars, bartenders sling drinks from a refreshing menu of domestic beers and cocktails.
Emitations.com jewelry emulates the designer fashions of celebrities and movie characters with more than 4,000 bejeweled designs, garnering attention from magazines and TV shows such as The View. Substituting cubic zirconia for diamonds and silver tone for silver, Emitations.com's designers attempt to exact a spotless imitation of Kate Middleton's imposing engagement ring ($34.95) to match every woman’s middle-class English accent. Bella's turquoise cuff bracelet ($20.99) as well as the interwoven engagement ring ($54.99) replicate designs similar to those seen in the film Twilight, and the Titanic-inspired Heart of the Ocean ($54.99) earrings make an ideal accent to any earlobe costume party.
The cliche says that diamonds are forever, and the same might be true for The Diamond Connection. The family-run business dates back to 1924, and has been passed down from generation to generation ever since.
The Diamond Connection's gemologists create custom jewelry—including the exclusive house brand, L'Orell et Cie—and tailor bridal rings to individual specifications. The sparkling, eye-catching collection also includes earrings, pendants, and rings from Tacori, Verragio, and Coast Diamond.
Bursting with beads and jewel-crafting necessities, South Sun Products' inventory equips do-it-yourself jewelers with the tools to craft delicate adornments at home or in myriad classes. South Sun Products manufactured jewelry for two decades before opening its enormous retail store, giving the public access to its colorful treasure trove of rare and natural gemstones and beads. The staffers also stock chains, earwires, and other necessary parts to help crafters easily affix their beaded creations to a loved one's wrist without painful hot glue. An ever-rotating schedule of classes keeps curious beaders enthralled with wire-working, beading, and other jewelry-smithing workshops.