Photo courtesy of Eric Demarcq, Flickr
By Meredyth Wilson
The world’s eyes feast on film and television made in LA, but the hands of Angelenos create more than just movies. In such a distinct, diverse city, creativity comes in all forms, from the tools of entertainment to the stuff of a sustainable future.
Designed and manufactured in Los Angeles since 2000, “Sevens” quickly became a hit with Hollywood elite. 7 For All Mankind brought the world’s eyes to Los Angeles, the capital of casual, cool. Chic and wearable, their unique use of fabrics and washes set them apart from your grandpa’s denim. Not to be overlooked, these jeans are also well recognized for making one’s rear the talk of the town.
What to shop for: Straight Leg with slashed pockets and crystals for a sizzling night on the town.
A vocal proponent of local production, American Apparel’s vertically integrated Downtown location does more than put their money where their mouth is, they also take countless yards of fabric and turn them into simple stylish fashion. Whether you’re looking for their staple (a jersey T-Shirt available in almost fifty colors) or a fashionable faux leather hoody, you can build the foundation of a solidly stellar wardrobe here.
What to shop for: Zip-up unisex hoody, the perfect laid-back look for those who don’t have to flash cash to hold court.
1619 West Burbank Blvd.
Burbank, CA 91506
A haberdasher to dash to, these fellows have been making hats for more than 75 years. They’ve covered the heads of so many stars it’ll make your head spin, John Wayne, Marlon Brando, Madonna, Marilyn Manson and Prince, to name just a few. A visit to their boutique is not just a jaunt to a hat store, but a journey into the history of Hollywood. Whether you want a hat from “Gunsmoke” that fits you just right, or your own custom creation, you simply cannot go wrong here.
What to shop for: The “Cliffhanger,” a hand-made-to-order classic 1940s style Fedora just like the one they made for Harrison Ford in “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.”
photo courtesy of Max Santa Cruz
2724 East Cesar E Chavez Ave.
Los Angeles, CA. 90033
For three generations a family has poured their heart and soul into the making of some of the world’s most beautiful and sweet sounding classical, acoustic, flamenco and mariachi guitars. Played by some of the finest musicians, these handcrafted, in LA, instruments sing the songs of the hearts of their players with trueness of tone and richness of meaning. Famous musicians, such as Andres Segovia, Los Lobos, Ozomatli, Arlo Guthrie and Jackson Browne, have purchased Tomas Delgado guitars.
What to shop for: Flamenco Algeria, a brilliant tone resonates aged wood honed by meticulous hands.
3337 West Sunset Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90026
The sugar isn’t the only thing that is refined at this “new classic” bakery. Though it’s only been open since 2007, Lark is a go-to spot for locals in search of a special cake or a simple sweet treat. Inspired by the “bohemian modern” in Silver Lake, Lark reflects a sophisticated palate with a homemade feel. As much as possible, they source ingredients from local purveyors and always keep their milk hormone free.
What to shop for: Sara’s Famous Chocolate Mousse Cupcake, just indulge in one or two.
130 West Bruno St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012
A silkscreen shop, a bakery, a café, a dream. Their motto: Jobs not Jails. Homeboy Industries puts action first by providing job training and other services to at-risk and formerly gang-involved youth so they can become positive and contributing members of society. What do you get out of it? Amazing baked goods, an excellent meal and clothing custom embroidered and printed by people who care about what they’re doing.
What to shop for: “Homeboy” T-Shirts and M’JAS con SALMON Y PAPAS, scrambled eggs with crisp tortillas, shredded salmon, potatoes, onions and roasted tomato salsa. Served with choice of black beans, salad or homegirl potatoes. Mmmmm.
31740 Mulholland Highway
Malibu, CA 90265
Surf, sand and exquisite taste make Malibu Wines the place to truly experience Southern California in a bottle. Nestled high above the Malibu coastline that has enchanted both the famous and the fabulous, this seductively serene tasting room invites you to sip along with Malibu locals. Guests may select one of the many full-bodied wines locally harvested and produced from this legendary terroir or opt to have a "flight" of wines, featuring four varieties each.
What to shop for: Try the Semler Sauvignon Blanc or Cabernet Sauvignon, grown right across the street!
Plaza San Antonio
737 Lamar St.
Los Angeles, CA 90031
The San Antonio Winery has crafted fine wines for ninety-three years and counting. Enjoy a complimentary wine tasting or an Artesian flight right in the winery. The restaurant, situated amongst oak casks serves delicious organic vegetables and grilled meats and, of course, wine.
What to shop for: Try a grilled cheese on a Thursday made by LA’s 2009 grilled cheese cook-off winner, with wine of course.
331 West 6th St.
San Pedro CA 90731
Phone: (310) 831-5663
San Pedro Brewing Co. heralded the re-growth of San Pedro’s commercial district. Brewing their own craft beer they compete with the best of them, and their famous ribs sure help give you something to think about on your way there. The brewery is all about local. They name their beers, like the Point Fermin Pale Ale, after local landmarks. They exhibit the work of local artists and they have live music by local bands every Saturday night.
What to shop for: Try the ever popular Longshoreman Lager.
1300 East 1st Street
Boyle Heights, California 90033
Self Help Graphics’ center for Latino arts develops printmaking artists from the community helping them to engage in their passions and emerge into the world with their unique voices and visions. You can view the works created by this community at one of three galleries in Los Angeles. The Dia de Los Muertos celebration is not to be missed.
What to shop for: Something that moves you, a print by a young artist that speaks to your heart.
7765 Lemona Ave.
Van Nuys, Ca 91405
( 818) 909-7222
Skip rainforest deforestation and go straight to Urban Woods. Sustainability doesn’t get much better than this: combine exceptional design with 100% locally sourced reclaimed wood and you get furniture for your home that keeps your carbon footsteps light. All their collections are also named for local spots.
What to shop for: The Wilcox collection; it is simple, quiet and unique. Your bedroom will ease you right to sleep, and even the brushed steel legs are hand welded in Los Angeles.
Meredyth Wilson is writer and filmmaker living in Los Angeles. A well-traveled California native, Wilson made LA home for love of its myriad communities, endless activities and thriving creative life.