The Fashion District, formerly known as the Garment District, is a 90-block area located between 7th and 16th Streets and Los Angeles and Wall Streets. (It extends outward from there in all directions, but this is the basic rectangle.)
Clothing, accessories, fragrance, costume jewelry, luggage, textiles and more can all be easily found. Looking for a gown for a special event? It's there. Prefer to cuddle up with some new athletic wear? You'll find it there. Wish you could find a truly unique and glamorous fabric for your tablecloth and chair covers? It's there!
Check out the two-block area on Pico Boulevard between Main and Santee Sts. for higher end, European labels. But don't miss Morrie's at 934 S. Maple, where you'll find famous makers like St. John's, DKNY, and BCBG.
Show up in an Academy Award winning gown for your holiday party, at a price you can afford. Glamorous choices can be found at Fenucci Design (934 Santee Street, 213-622-7602) as well as further down Santee Street, past Pico Boulevard. But don't miss Tabu (1336 Santee Street, 213-749-8228)
There are several retailers to choose from, but I've found Scent-Sation at 906 South Los Angeles Street to have everything I needed. You'll even find those tiny sample bottles for sale.
The retail shops here are small, but filled to the brim with the latest fashions in costume jewelry. Among others, the walls of Jasmine Jewelry at 926-3 Los Angeles St. are covered with selections of everything imaginable.
Rolls of fabrics falling out of storefronts and lining walls from floor to ceiling provide options you've never imagined. One of the most popular retailers is Michael Levine's, with two stores offering distinctively different types of fabrics. While one store specializes in apparel fabrics, the other store located across the street, specializes in home fabrics. I didn't find bargains here, but I've never walked away disappointed. You'll find some of the most fashionable and unique fabrics available. (920 S. Maple Street, 213-622-6259)
Two of my favorites are Home Fabrics (910 Wall St, 213-689-9600) and LA Freds (411 E. 9th St., 213-622-9826). While Home Fabrics is far larger, both offer the latest fabrics and trims in a well-organized environment. Buyer Beware: Check fabric for flaws prior to purchase. Many fabrics are seconds and non-returnable.
If you still haven't found that special tablecloth fabric, don't despair. There are literally hundreds of stores to shop. If you'd like to cover up an ugly sofa, consider stopping at one of the small shops across the street from Levine's. They offer fabrics as low as $12/yard for 108" wide. A little tucking and pinning can get you through your holiday entertaining.
Rugs can hide the most hideous or stained carpeting. Whether you want a decorative rug for the kid's room or an area rug for the living room, you'll no doubt find it at Rug City (840 S. Santee St., #106-107, 213-689-0499). Other rug retailers are located in the area.
ACCESSORIES AND OTHER FUN STUFF
A stop to the district would not be complete without walking through Santee Alley (between Santee St. and Maple Avenue and Olympic and Pico). Vendors hawk their wares, "Any handbag, $5!" as you stroll through the excitement and pick up bargain after bargain. You may even find something you set out to purchase.
DIAMONDS, SILVER AND GOLD
When you're in the Fashion District, you're only a few blocks from the Jewelry District. It is said to be the least expensive place to purchase jewelry in the United States.
A FEW TIPS
All sales are final. Check fabric and products carefully for flaws.
You'll find yellow uniformed cyclists equipped with radios patrolling the area, which is very well maintained.
Restaurants and Restrooms:
The best I've found are in the California Market Center lobby, 110 E. 9th St. A couple of fast food restaurants can be found in the area, although most claim not to have a public restroom. If you're in the mood for Chinese food, join the business crowd at New Moon (112 W. 9th Street), just a couple of doors down from the California Market Center. They also have public restrooms for their customers.
Take Hwy 5 South to the 170 South, which becomes the 101 South. Take the 110 South to the Ninth Street off ramp. Follow Ninth Street to Maple Street. If you park between Olympic Blvd. And 12th Street, you'll be right in the middle of the Fashion District.
Returning to Santa Clarita, take 8th Street back to the 110 North to the 101 North to the 170 North to the 5 North. OR, take 8th Street back to the 110 North to the 5 North.
WARNING: Park in a parking lot. Los Angeles police are liberal at handing out parking tickets and parking signs can be confusing.
If you don't wish to fight the traffic, take the metro link. Start at one of the Santa Clarita stations, on Soledad Canyon or Newhall, for a 50-minute ride to Union Station. From Union Station, continue on the subway to the Financial District Metro Station at 7th & Figueroa. Then catch the Dash bus, Line E, which will take you through the Jewelry District to the Fashion District. You can get off at Maple & 9th, although there are several stops within the district.