Shopping second-hand on Melrose or thrifting the Fairfax Flea Market are good ways to build a wardrobe by stumbling upon those designer pieces others carelessly tossed to the wayside. But there is another even more surefire way to re-energize a closet with style and flair– a sample sale. Sample sales are always highlighted on the calendars of LA trendsters, and for good reason.
The Cooper Building in Downtown LA is host to a premiere sample sale the last Friday of every month, and has been for decades. Unlike many brands who seclude their sales to factories and warehouses (i.e. the American Apparel summer-long factory sample sale, also in Downtown LA), the feast and festivities of the Cooper Building offers shoppers a multitude of labels to peruse. AG Jeans offers racks of denim at nearly 70% lower than their average retail price, KidRobot features grab-and-go T’s for under 30 bucks, and Wildfox Couture offers an exclusive and limited collection ranging $50-$70. Junk Food vintage T’s, Gianetta, Thrive Inc., Focus, and countless other names shell out major discounts for the droves as well.
When the doors to the 11-story building of designer showrooms open to the masses, it’s a cat fight free-for-all: weaves get pulled, elbows are thrown, and mani’d claws come out. It’s like a scrappy game of college sorority flag football, only in high heels and cashmere.
To fully understand the magnitude of the event, consider the worst case scenario backstage at a runway show, which is also the best case scenario for people watching. Ladies with harsh accents yelling at one another, men and women of all shapes and sizes in various states of undress, and panic-stricken interns scrambling to keep order to the chaos.
After sifting through endless racks of apparel, looks like next Spring and Summer will be brighter and more vibrant than ever. By nature, these offerings are often collection pieces that the fashion gods decided weren’t quite fit for mass production (or that got over-produced), throw-away lines and concept pieces that just didn’t work.
Amid the rejects, there are some gems to scored. We have to hand it to the folks at the Ted Baker sample sale. Being one of very few to open its entire showroom collection to the public, the London-based fashion giant mauled the competition in both the breadth of product offered as well as quality and design. Fall/winter ’12 trends are all about nautical flare and nobody executes this aesthetic better than the Brits. Despite just entering the sweltering summer months, Ted Baker’s precision to knitwear and tailoring will no doubt be a wise investment, and at such discounted prices, there isn’t a loser in the bunch.
Be sure to mark your calendars for Friday, August 31st as the Cooper Building (860 S. Los Angeles St.) once again opens its closet doors for public displays of dress up. The LA Fashion District’s website has more info on this sample sale and others in the area.