Tuesday, 20 November 2007

{{{{{ American Apparel: CALI-RAGS-A-GO-GO }}}}}

I've never really had the urge to make a visit to L.A, perhaps it's my long-standing NYcentric attitude and constantly hearing that mantra of 'well, you have to DRIVE everywhere' that's put me off or Maybe it's just the shiny, sunny, Lohan-ness of it all, who knows. But, the more i hear about the vast vintage opportunities on offer, the more I start to reconsider my small-mindedness. Well, looks like things just got a little more interesting with the addition of CALIFORNIA VINTAGE. A new concept from the ever evolving ideas factory that is American Apparel. Said to feature "hand-picked vintage clothing from the 1950's through the 1990's alongside American Apparel pieces that you might not find at our regular stores..." two additional stores in Berlin and Cologne opened their doors in Oct with residents of Mexico enjoying their new vintage emporium since last June.

(Berlin Alte Schönhauser Straße 41)
The company's media mogul Mathew Swenson and creative director Iris Alonso describe how the crossover came about;

"We had amassed so much vintage clothes, which we used for inspiration, that we realized we could open a store if we wanted to. It seemed like a natural progression for us. They (customer) don't want to wear head-to-toe American Apparel or vintage, but a mix of the two works really nicely. We set up relationships with rag houses and vintage collectors and we've hired vintage buyers to keep product flowing in. Vintage garments will be sourced domestically and overseas, and trends will change from month to month, versus season to season. Right now we're into trench coats; next month it could be cocktail dresses and patent shoes. The store will act as a testing ground for American Apparel, selling reworked, printed and modified staples, It could be torn up and patched T-shirts or long dresses that we've made into minis. We think it's a place we can get a little more creative and offer something unique, something we couldn't do with American Apparel..."

With the UK once again suffering from last-in-queue syndrome, I'll reserve judgement until I've managed to experience AA second-hand, well, first-hand, with more stores being proposed for 2008. However, if they get the pricing and selection right, the companies track record suggests the beginning of another mini empire. With the heart-breaking (literal) destruction of Camden's Stables market (to make way for, oh! another topshop), London could do with a fresh injection of retro clothing goodness.

(L.A Echo Park, 2111 West Sunset Blvd)