Monday, August 19, 2013

Downtown LA's Fashion Keeps Getting More Fashionable.

I can still remember when the very first storefront 'high fashion' shops opened around 4th and Main, with SKINGRAFT being one of last of them that is still there at 117 W. 4th Street.

And indicative of the change since then is that SKINGRAFT now has a branch store in New York's NOLITA District at 7 Prince Street, directly across from the New Museum.
I bring this up because now it seems as if there is a new fashion store opening every week somewhere in DTLA with former pop-up Guerrilla Atelier in the Arts District now confirming  it is now a permanent store. And you can read all the details at Brigham Yen's blog, DTLA RISING.
But one of the more interesting details is the story of how this store happened to end up in Downtown.
Guerilla Atelier has proven that there is a demand for luxury products in Downtown LA. The store has done so well that after just 30 days of operating as a pop-up shop, starting in the middle of May 2013, Louisville decided to make it into a permanent store. According to Louisville, shoppers come from all parts of the world, but most surprisingly, many who buy live right here in Downtown LA.
Louisville is no stranger to the world of high fashion. As the Director of Epicenter for Prada in Beverly Hills for 15 years, many considered him the unofficial mayor of Rodeo Drive. It was through his connection at Prada and his love for downtown that he first conceived the idea of opening his own store.
“I was giving the President of Prada a tour of Downtown LA one night during the monthly Art Walk event,” Louisville explains. “We were sitting outside at Banquette Cafe [near 4th and Main] and he said to me that the energy of downtown was one of the most exciting he’s ever felt — anywhere! It just made me realize I wanted to open my own ‘perfect’ lifestyle environment.”
The other - even more interesting point is that this store is only the first of several to open in this part of Downtown.

Carl Louisville, who is the owner of Guerilla Atelier, gave me a tour recently of his store located in the Arts District near 3rd and Hewitt Street. The 4,000 square foot store occupies a cavernous space within a much larger industrial warehouse building owned by a specialty retail company called PAH (Parallel Acquisitions and Holdings), which plans to eventually add more high-end retailers and eateries to the large former warehouse space. 
And the rest of the story is at DTLA RISING.

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