Budget Fashionista: Where to Buy Samples in DTLA

Bargain hunting residents of Watermarke Tower rejoice! Hidden away in the wholesale buildings of the LA Fashion District reside showrooms of some of the world’s most high-end, contemporary clothing, as seen in the pages of fashion magazines and on the backs of your fav celebs. These showrooms and buildings are normally for the trade only (buyers and retailers), and are off limits to the general public. But on the last Friday of the month (if it does not conflict with a market week), many showrooms fling open their doors and sell their end-of-season samples to eager consumers like us, often at rock bottom prices. History Buff Alert: These are historic buildings with great backsstories. Definitely worth a visit!

Please note that not all showrooms participate. You can contact the buildings directly to confirm participation. Apparel samples are generally size 2 or 4 and most showrooms accept cash only.

 

California Market Center

110 E 9th Street

Los Angeles, CA 90079

 

California Market Center (CMC) was established in the early 1960s by the Morse family as the first wholesale fashion showroom “mart” on the West Coast. CMC continues to serve as the industry’s primary center for fashion business in Los Angeles, housing hundreds of showrooms that represent the LA Fashion District’s largest selection of brands for Women, Men and Kids. Located in the heart of Downtown’s LA Fashion District on 9th & Main, the 1.8-million square foot complex is home to fashion industry showrooms, creative office spaces, special event venues, and businesses catering to the downtown community, including eateries, fitness studios, and more.

 

The New Mart

127 E. Ninth Street

Los Angeles, CA 90015

 

The New Mart Building began its incarnation as the Harris Newmark Building, designed by famed architects Curlett & Beelman. Completed in 1926, at 12 stories tall and 160 feet high, it was the first high rise to be built in downtown Los Angeles. Today, the building’s glass-fronted showrooms are unique architectural wonders, utilizing the building’s natural cement floors and original Beaux Arts columns. Almost 100 established and well known brands and designers call The New Mart home, including ALC, Current Elliott, Diane von Furstenberg, Equipment, Haute Hippie, Vince, Steven by Steve Madden, Havaianas, French Connection, Hudson Jeans, James Jeans, Lacoste, Lucky Brand, Calvin Klein, Michael Kors, Miss Me, Nanette Lepore, Paige Denim, J Brand, Yosi Samra, Joe’s Jeans, and more.

 

Cooper Design Space

860 S. Los Angeles Street

Los Angeles, CA 90014

 

This historic building was born in 1927 to house LA’s fashion designers and manufacturers. During the 40s and 50s, the Cooper refashioned itself to shine as one of LA’s premier addresses for fashion industry showrooms––long before there was a California Mart or New Mart. The Cooper Building pioneered again during the 80s as one of America’s first discount retail centers, a model for today’s outlet malls and in the 90s, the Cooper Building anted up for the Fashion District, working to persuade the LA City Council to establish the city’s first business improvement district. Now renovated as Cooper Design Space, the building is home base for LA creatives, hosting a space that embraces cross-pollination among L.A.’s lifestyle businesses in Fashion, Media Arts, and publishing. When you visit, be sure to grab a coffee or meal at Pressed Juicery in the lobby.

 

Gerry Building

910 S. Los Angeles St.

Los Angeles CA 90015

 

Built in 1946, the Gerry Building is one of the most distinctive Art Deco structures in the LA Fashion District. Rounded corners, seductive curves and block lines define the nine-story exterior, set against a palette of era colors that pay homage to an elegant bygone era. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2003, this historic building has been completely renovated and updated with new materials, technology and finishes to create a collection of contemporary showroom and design suites that blend the new and the old. The Gerry Building is home to high-end fashion lines such as Vertigo USA, Roberto Cavalli, as well as popular contemporary lines like Naven. The 5th floor houses various swimwear lines ranging from L-Space to Wildfox Swim.

 

The Lady Liberty Showroom Building

843 S. Los Angeles Street

Los Angeles, CA 90014

 

If you’ve ever wandered around the Fashion District, no doubt you’ve seen the eyeball-grabbing 50-foot tall tile mosaic of Lady Liberty and wondered what the heck that’s all about! Originally constructed in 1914 for a billiard manufacturer, The Lady Liberty Buiding was just another old brick edifice until 1987, when poet/investment manager Victor di Suvero came up with the idea of a tile mosaic of Lady Liberty. The building’s owners, who were immigrants from Iran, loved the idea of honoring America and commissioned Barbara Beall Studio to create the muiral to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of the Statue of Liberty. Although small compared to other showroom buildings, the The Lady Liberty Showroom Building is well curated and includes a little bit of everything from Citizens of Humanity to various local favorites. Note to gents: This building has a great selection of men’s clothing, especially The Park Showroom.