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.
At Jerry’s Artarama, resident artists draw on personal experience and channel the shop's four decades in business to help create works in nearly any medium. Shelves bravely bear the weight of multitudinous tubes of paint ranging from traditional oil paints made from 150-year-old processes, to easy-to-use acrylic pigments. Artists can wield a Mejillo TruColor palette to serve as a launching pad for paints, or take up PrismaColor colored pencils to add vivid pigmentation to sketches. For more specialized projects, customers can stock up on the store's street-art supplies and screen-printing kits.
Meanwhile, the framing professionals at Jerry’s Artarama navigate a bounty of glass, mats, mounting, and moulding options to personalize the framing of photos, watercolor landscapes, and napping bats. Frame options include the warm whorls of wooden frames as well as silver, black, or gold aluminum frames to complement any work's color scheme.
The experienced tour guides at Segway of Scottsdale lead fleets of two-wheelers through one of two scenic Arizona cities during an extensive schedule of rides. Guests gear up for either of the 90-minute tours by hopping aboard a segway, whose self-balancing technology allows riders to tilt handlebars gently for turns or quickly for back flips. Each session begins with a 30-minute orientation, followed by a narrated jaunt past the towering opulence of the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort in Scottsdale or around the city-flanked oasis of Tempe Town Lake. During the summer months, groups traverse the town's bridges and boulevards at dusk, stopping by landmarks such as Arizona State University and Sun Devil Stadium, whose eponymous student-athletes practice under solar-powered stadium lights to escape the chill of night.
The Shoe Mill has specialized in snug European footwear for more than two decades, earning the title of Best Comfortable Shoes from the Phoenix New Times in 2010. The store is in historic downtown Tempe, tucked inside the Casa Loma building. More than 100 years old, the structure was once inhabited by a hotel, and before that, a saloon for unaccompanied Keds and miscreant loafers.
With its origins as primarily a Birkenstock store, The Shoe Mill has since grown to stock shoes and handbags in such high-end brands as Mephisto and Ecco. Israeli-made Naot shoes benefit from the wisdom of millennia of sandstorms and leather crafting to protect feet from the elements and clumsy camels, while Baggallini handbags are perfect for travel.
Lance Muzslay has completed 20 Ironman triathlons, and his tally keeps on ticking. This means that, in races alone, he has swum 48 miles, biked 2,240 miles, and run 514 miles—the equivalent of a car-less road trip. At Sole Sports Running Zone, he applies his expertise toward outfitting runners with the garb, gels, and kicks they’ll need to pound the pavement. Muzslay works alongside a team of equally passionate runners at locations in Tempe, Scottsdale, and Glendale. Though the franchise has peddled its wares for five years, the Glendale location opened about six months ago and has the sharpest new-shoe scent. In 2011, the franchise clinched Phoenix magazine’s vote as the best athletic-shoe retailer in the valley.
The artisans at Tempe and Arizona Yarn & Fiber cultivate a pair of educational atmospheres where creativity flourishes amid inventories of top-shelf yarns, fibers, and equipment. Largely stocked by local suppliers, the two studios house classrooms where pupils learn to knit, crochet, spin, weave, and dye fibers. Instructors well versed in the fiber arts ring in classes that teach skills such as beginning knitting, gradually progressing to more complicated maneuvers such as patching up a hot air balloon in motion. Teachers also allow students to set their own pace during project-help sessions, offering pointers as needed.