Apparel Market Trip to L.A.
Erica Trejo Lora This is a report based on my experience and opinions from the Apparel Market Trip in Los Angeles California September 30th through October 3rd of 2009. Since we visited a variety of places I will go in chronological order of where we went and a summary of what went on.
Clothing Textiles and Design at the University of Idaho
Apparel Market Trip to Los Angeles California September 30th‐ October 3rd
Day 1 Soon after arriving in L.A. we headed straight to South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa. We met up with Werner Escher (Executive Director of Domestic and International Markets) and he kindly gave us a quick summary about South Coast Plaza. South Coast Plaza is a more luxurious mall that focuses on high‐end retail and compliments its valued costumers by having a lounge and classy restaurants opposed to a typical mall with a food court.Some of the brands that we focused on were Barney’s Co‐op, Brook’s Brothers, Coach, and Chanel.
I noticed that places like Gucci and Coach had security that had a close watch on anyone who was roaming around the store. The stores had a very wide and open set up with very few items for display. This really showed how valuable their items were. Most of the stores had similar styles and for the most part the fashion colors for the season were purples and blues. After leaving South Coast Plaza we headed to our hotel. We stayed at The Farmers Daughter, which was on a main avenue called Fairfax. We had the Farmers Market right across the street from us including a shopping center called The Grove.
Day 2 On the second day we headed early to our scheduled tour at Antex, which is a manufacturer of circular knits. Right from the beginning of our tour we were guided to the knitting machines. It was a really great opportunity to have seen a Circular Knitting Machine in person because it does not compare to online videos or classroom textbooks. This tour was by far my favorite place that we visited while on our trip. After seeing the yarn turn to fabric we then were able to see how actual fabrics were dyed. It is hard to explain all the process but basically the fabrics were put in this big steam machine and were dyed inside. After being dyed they were put in these big plastic bags to avoid the fabric from drying unevenly. After the fabric goes through a process of drying and getting cut the next step was to be printed. There are different methods used to print designs on fabrics but the method they use is Rotary Screen Printing. This method is basically a big roll that has cut out designs where the ink will come out from. In order to print a design each color that would be used would need its own roll. For example if the design was a flower with three different shades of pink then there would need to be three different rollers that would contain one of the three colors.
After an exciting tour at Antex we headed down to Santa Monica to visit a trendy upscale store called Fred Segal. I expected Fred Segal to be a typical retailer but instead it had little departments within the store. There were sections were only garments were sold others had a huge variety of jewelry and accessories, there was a small section that sold a few household items for décor and some that sold fragrances, body lotion and makeup. Overall everything came from trendy designers and for the most part the majority of items were trendy and up to date with the latest styles.
Next on our schedule was to learn and focus on boutiques. A boutique is a small shop that is very exclusive and sometimes only just a few of them can be found. They typically take risks by making clothing lines that are not in style and a lot of times those are the styles that later become in fashion. The boutiques that we went to were about a block from our hotel, which was quite convenient for us. A few that we looked at were Trina Turk and Satine. For the most part the items sold at a boutique are sometimes one‐of‐a‐kind since not very of them are made.
We called it a night after having a group dinner at Luna Park. During our dinner we just discussed about our experiences and the things we had learned throughout the day.
Day 3 Our third day of our trip started off in down town L.A. where we did some fabric shopping in the Fashion District. The fabric store that we went to was called Michael Lavine and let me just say that they had everything. It’s by far the biggest fabric store that I have ever been to. I bought a few yards of knit and woven fabrics to use in my Apparel Design class, which I’m surprised I didn’t go crazy since there was so much to buy. The International Textile Show is also in the L.A. Fashion District and was located in the California Market Center. Many textile events are not open to the general public and so we had a privilege to attend and too see how things are done at the show. Before starting off to the textile event we quickly stopped by at The Fashion Bookstore. They had a huge variety of fashion books and magazines.
The International Textile Show is the largest in the West Coast. During this time we had the opportunity to follow Lori and her team and see how they source fabrics. We were able to see how they worked together, heard the questions they asked, and how they all came together to agree or disagree on certain things. After leaving Downtown L.A. we headed back to our hotel where we had the rest of the evening to do what we wanted. I took advantage of the opportunity and hung out with some cousins that live around the area. They bought me a ticket to go to one of Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios. We arrived at about eight and stayed there all night long. It was a scary adventure. There were different mazes to go through, each was based on actual scary movies like Saw, Halloween, and Chucky from Childs Play. Around the theme park there were scare zones where random pigs and zombies would run after you with a chainsaw. It was so scary but overall I had a great time with my family.
Day 4 Early morning of our last day in Los Angeles we stopped by Hollywood Boulevard and The Getty Museum. On Hollywood Boulevard we walked by Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, Kodak Theatre and Hollywood’s Walk of Fame. At The Getty Museum we saw a variety of art forms such as sculpture, paintings, and photographs. I would recommend anyone who is in the area to stop by this museum because it had such great atmosphere and it also had a spectacular view of Los Angeles. We had a bit of time to spare so we stopped by Santa Monica for some time and went to the beach. It was just a great place to end our trip.
This was a great experience for me as a student majoring in Clothing Textiles and Design. I feel that I learned a lot of new things that I didn’t know before or that weren’t as clear to me. It was a fun experience at the same time and I would love to go on another trip similar to this one but possibly to New York and to see how similar or different the industry is from city to city. I do recommend having this be a required class to take just because it is an opportunity that can influence what you would like to focus on in the future. Coming from a small town in Idaho this was also a great opportunity to see what city life was like.