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.
Since 1989, Play It Again Sports has been keeping sports green, recycling gently used athletic equipment into new-to-you gear. Products from brands such as Nike, Adidas, and Wilson make up each store's enormous selection of new and recycled gear, which is replenished daily with goods for a wide selection of sports that ranges from baseball and football to snowboarding, skis, and ice skates. Treadmills and exercise bikes equip bodies with muscular suits of armor, and pintsize and adolescent equipment arms youngsters with protective padding until they eat enough bologna to grow muscles of their own. Knowledgeable staffers man each location, ready to answer questions, arrange gear deliveries or pick-ups, and even sharpen skates or wax snowboards. To ensure their stock remains robust, they also encourage athletes to collect their lightly used gear—including bicycles—and bring it into a local store to either sell or trade.
Depending on which wall you first look at when entering Motiv8 Skate Shop, it’s easy to think you’ve stepped into an art gallery. Hung along the wall like a painting exhibition, a collection of skateboard decks from lines such as Alien Workshop and Girl attracts shoppers with an array of colors and designs. Beyond that, a stock of longboards and BMX bikes and accessories inspires athletes to dream about conquering halfpipes or biking across the Atlantic Ocean. The staff also keeps the racks filled with a selection of clothing and shoes from designers such as Etnies and Emerica.
WLS-TV anchor Ron Magers, former Chicago Bulls center and coach Bill Cartwright, former Exelon Corporation CEO John Rowe, Chicago Cubs legend Ernie Banks, and author and attorney Scott Turow often find themselves reaching for the same suit. They do not share a closet, but the staff at Duru’s Custom Shirts and Suits claims to have tailored threads for each of them. The shop's clothiers, in fact, have draped Egyptian cotton and lightweight wool across the shoulders of numerous notable Chicagoans over the course of more than four decades in business. With the hushed sounds of tailor’s chalk on fabric and humming machinery in the background, the workers also alter wardrobes when patrons are accepting an award or trying to clothe the little guy on their award.
For more than 35 years, the music gurus, instrument-repair specialists, and educators at Perry's Music have equipped aspiring musicians with acoustic and electric instruments of all kinds. Visitors pick out a shiny new or gently used guitar, mandolin, or ukulele from brands such as Seagull or Godin, studying how to create beautiful music with them during sessions with knowledgeable teachers. Parents looking for a rewarding afterschool activity enroll their teens in Rock 'N' Roll University, where students learn to practice and record with band mates, write their own songs, and tackle the difficult second-album slump.
The blond-wood walls of the Perry's emporium bristle with acoustic and electric guitars, banjos, and accessories, whereas the shelves show off row upon row of new and used amplification and PA equipment. Amateur and professional musicians bring in their instruments and electronics for repairs at the hands of an in-house amp and guitar technician, and monthly acoustic open-mic nights find crowds of music lovers singing, playing, jamming, and making new friends.
Since establishing themselves as one of Chicago’s leading mattress specialty stores back in 1983, The Bedding Experts remain a trusted source of brand-name bedding backed by extended warranties. Their showrooms across the nation are filled with models from Sealy, Tempur-Pedic, and Stearns & Foster, many of which are constructed with modern technologies such as memory foam and reduced-motion coils. Shoppers can also accessorize their mattresses with bed frames, pillows, mattress covers, and under-bed forcefields that repel hiding monsters. Deliveries often happen the same or next day—including evening and weekend service—with teams often taking old mattresses and frames with them when they leave. If customers find their mattress at a lower price within 60 days of purchase at one of the store's local competitors, The Bedding Experts team will refund the difference.