The Garment District

LA-1Vacation day two. The morning after Joshua Tree we were up early and on the road back to LA. See, the Taschen Book Store was having a big 50% – 75% off sale on damaged and display books, and it was mission critical we get there early to see what was what. This was a big deal because they put out cool books, we already have a few of their titles, and given we receive their catalog Julia already had a few in mind to look for. We headed to the Hollywood location (the other one in the area is located in Beverly Hills) which is located in this swanky little indoor/outdoor mall thing called the Farmer’s Market. We scored some books (about 30# worth, actually, all but one or two being pretty smutty), ate donuts and drank coffee, people watched, and I went down 0-2 in creepy child encounters (1 at Joshua Tree, and 1 harrowing experience in the restroom here).

From there we headed to the Garment District in downtown Los Angeles. Wow. What an experience. Julia was looking for some particular fringe for a project she is working on. The movie business may be what LA is famous for, but if you want to see where the rubber really hits the road, this is where you go. All manner of wild fabrics on display, mass produced garments for sale that come in from all over the world and go OUT all over America, etc.

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Then it was off to the warehouse district, where there are warehouses and distribution for just about everything you can imagine. Produce. Pinatas. I knew the factory where American Apparel makes their stuff is in the area, so we went looking for it and found it. I make my living moving around in the manufacturing sector, but damn if I wasn’t blown away too. By then we were hungry; perfect time for some hole-in-the-wall tacos.

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We went looking for the late, great Al’s Bar, which is in the Arts District. We found where it used to be, which is now a location of some magnificent street art. I’m going to safe those images for a post of their own. Julia got to chatting with a couple folks out smoking cigarettes in front of the Art Share LA building, which was just across the street. This led us to getting a tour of the facility from a guy named Terry Ellsworth. It was a beautiful space, and what they are doing is very cool.

We plunged back into traffic headed west for Long Beach and a reunion with our friends —  Angela Davis and her crew of young men — vowing to return for more district exploration before our trip was over.

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Author: Chris

Chris La Tray is a writer, a walker, and a photographer. He is an enrolled member of the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians and lives in Missoula, MT.

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