Street/Urban Wear Expert
The word on the street is... fashion! Our sassy Street Wear Expert Chako is the urban outfitter you need to sport serious threads, G.
This past Saturday, I headed up to Los Angeles, California to meet up with a good friend of mine,
Ray, for a day of carousing and spending on the famous Melrose Avenue. Before leaving, I kept
pondering over what I should wear simply because LA is all about what you're wearing and who-you-know
(yes, the facade is still alive!), and it was exactly this kind of spot that I was trekking to.
I opted for a vintage children's tee, some faded booty-hugging jeans and my black stiletto boots,
and tried to stop worrying about silly things and Los Angeles. It's all too easy to get caught up
in the glitz and glam of the city's inhabitants and fast life (that explains it's overwhelming
eating disorders and drug culture).
We stepped out onto Melrose and my head spun. There were a couple of blocks full of hip little
boutiques and restaurant with varying prices and degrees of sassiness. There are lots of stores
there to get silly about--The Wasteland sells and buys clothes that you no longer want. They
carry name brands like Diesel, Dolce & Gabanna, and DKNY for a quarter to a half of what they
are worth in the stores and they also have a variety of vintage that is a little on the pricey
side (the funny thing is that they had a DJ spinning in the store--which is very "East Coast"--oh
to be so hip). Another store called Slow has some of it's own hybridized vintage/thrift clothing
in modern designs and new shapes, and also offers racks upon racks of good vintage finds.
Aardvarks is always a great place for thrift store goers and offers very reasonable prices and
good finds. Those were my three favorite stores.
Of course you'll find an Urban Outfitters on this street. Urban Outfitters will be where all
the hipsters are--which is somewhat disheartening being that Urban can package them up as the
epitome of hip---and, yes, furniture is included for all hipster apartments!! They jack up the
prices of thrift store finds--along with many of the "vintage" places on Melrose, to about 10
times it's resale price in the thrift store which is really disgusting. Apparently, they have
some huge kind of factory in LA that puts out all the clothing donations on this huge conveyer
belt and professional buyers go and sift through it in lightening speed to fill up garbage bags
and buy by the pound or something like $50.00 per garbage bag. This is no joke--I'd love to see
the place! So that's how they stock their vintage shops.
Ray and I tried on several pairs of jeans. He found a pair of Levi's that fit perfectly, and I
mean PERFECTLY. However, they were $80.00 (what happened to Levi's outfitting the people, not
the Bourgeois??). For me, if jeans fit perfectly, the price really shouldn't matter nor should
the label (I always go for something that hugs the booty with a little bit of stretch and has a
nice bootcut or low-pro flair. I am still in search for the perfect pair!). For him, things
were a bit different. He was currently wearing his favorite pair of jeans: $14 workman's from
Sears and Roebuck. Instead of investing in the $80.00 jeans that he didn't quite need,
he decided to stick to what he had and instead beat the crap out of a pair of them to make
them *look* like the $80.00 pair. Very clever, if only I had that kind of restraint!
The thing that confused me the most was all the other little women's boutiques that they had
clustered on this street. The conglomeration of them all would have formed one giant store!
Meaning, they all sold the exact SAME STUFF! Not to mention that they're sizing scales are all
messed up. A size small is seemingly a size 0 or 1 (or maybe I'm really a size up- ha ha ha)
when normally a size small will fit up to a size 5! A lot of cheap clothing production is based
in LA and that accounts for all these boutiques stocking the same things. Walking into some of
these seemed like de ja vu considering and there was always the same unfriendly look-you-up-and-down
from both the customers and the workers in every store.
What really killed me was the overabundance of this whole "rockstar" look that every is *still*
trying to grasp for some ungodly reason. The stud thing was hot last year, but why are kids
still trying to beg money out of their families to get their $150 pair of bedazzled, ripped
jeans and rocker-ette airbrushed cut-off T-shirt? Hasn't urban fashion had enough of this
silly rocker chic meets hip hop superstar look? Apparently not. The look has now been the
"outfit" for performers from pop to rock to hip hop to R&B, across all genres of music, and
has somehow become a statement of both glamour and rebellion in star status. Personally, I
liked the look last year, but have become a little tired of it this year. Especially seeing
the look on EVERY MANNEQUIN on Melrose Avenue.
My trip concluded with a nice breakfast for dinner at a cute little place called Swingers and
talk/gripe about how New York (my friend, Ray, lives there) is really the Mecca for fashion and
shopping and how the rocker thing is just busted now.