Fabric Shopping in Downtown LA

When we decided to move to Los Angeles for my husband's job I immediately started researching about the fashion district. I knew that LA was known for great fashion schools and designers. In fact, Los Angeles in the biggest producer of textiles in the United States! I had hit the jackpot.
I found a few blog posts about the area and was super excited to go check it out. Once we got settled in LA I convinced a friend from church to go with me on one of my days off work. (I didn't dare go alone since it was downtown.) Armed with Google maps and lots of excitement we set off! It took awhile to navigate the freeway and find a parking spot (typical LA) but we made it.
Once we got there I was glad I had a friend because things looked a bit scary. There were homeless people sleeping in tents on the side of the road and peeing in the streets (also typical LA). I started digging through piles of fabric grabbing things that caught my eye. My friend approached the owner of the fabric store/stall (it really was more of a stall) and asked about prices. I was shocked at how cheap some of the fabric was. After that I started draping piece after piece over my arm and I purchased a big bag full.
Then we moved on to other stores in a slightly more respectable area. We went to Michael Levine where you can buy fabric by the pound! You had to dig but it was such a great deal and felt like a treasure hunt!
During the year we lived in LA I made many trips downtown for fabric. Most of the time I went alone and I became super comfortable with the area. I didn't have to use google maps to get there anymore. I would haggle with street vendors and became recognizable at some of my favorite shops. It was truly a creative paradise for me (minus the peeing in the streets part).
When I look back on my time living in LA I realize that it was a critical time for me as a seamstress and designer. Los Angeles had the resources I needed to push my creativity and launch my small shop. I will forever be grateful for that "scary" part of downtown and planning road trips back so I can buy more fabric!