A penny saved is a penny earned, as Benjamin Franklin famously noted, so its pretty safe to assume that Ben would approve of sample sales. (Or so wed like to think.) Particularly the glut of them in and around the garment district downtown, which is teeming with great deals on everything from cotton T-shirts to fine jewelry. Following are some of our favorites.
Who: Roger Stuart Clothes
What: Roger Stuart is a manufacturer of fine mens suits made from Biella Italian wool; but it also carries Loro Piana and Cerruti mens suits as well as tuxedos, sport coats, ties, shirts and sweaters. Sixty to 70 percent off retail.
Where and When: 729 S. Los Angeles St., downtown; (213) 627-9661. Mon.-Sat., 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; Sun., 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Who: Nino Ferretti
What: If you want to look like a movie star, literally, this outlet has wardrobed more than 500 movies and television shows. It offers Nino Ferretti suits, as well as Enzo and Mantoni at 50 percent off retail. Sales arent announced, so call first before stopping by.
Where and When: 761 S. Los Angeles St., downtown; (213) 624-1368. Mon.-Sat., 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sun., 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Who: Berger Specialty Co.
What: If you are going into the bedazzle business, giving T-shirts sequin augmentations, or reviving tired jeans with rhinestones, this place has the largest selection of rhinestones, sequins, pearls, jewels, chains, or glitter. Large discounts are based on quantity.
Where and When: 413 E. Eighth St., downtown; (213) 627-8783. Mon-Fri., 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Who: FIDM (Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandise) Scholarship Store
What: Designers such as Anchor Blue, Forever 21, Tadashi, and DeMarco donate bolts of fabric and clothing of all kinds $4 ties from Jacobs and Roberts, bridal gowns by Renee Strauss and others which are sold for 50 to 75 percent off. Profits are donated to the FIDM Foundation Scholarship, and leftovers are donated to charities.
Where and When: 919 S. Grand Ave., downtown; (213) 624-1200. Mon.-Thurs., 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; Fri., 9 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sat., 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Who: AnyKnockOff, Inc.
What: Self-proclaimed knockoff artists Joel J. Paris and Greg Crowe have created a number of accessories (from jewelry to fragrances to handbags) mimicking the styles of more expensive designers such as Cartier and Dior for mere fractions of the brand names prices.
Where and When: Cooper Building, 860 S. Los Angeles St., Suite 1033, downtown; (213) 488-0008. www.anyknockoff.com. Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m.-6 p.m. (call in advance).
Who: Santee Alley
What: Knockoff heaven. An alley of vendors selling T-shirts, sunglasses, and shoes of all styles inspired by popular designers. Haggling will get you the best deals.
Where and When: East of Santee between Olympic Blvd. & 11th street. Seven days, 10 a.m.-?6 p.m.
Who: California Market Center
What: The Market Center usually only sells wholesale to buyers, but once a month it opens its doors to the public, and hundreds of showrooms sell their clothing samples (usually only in sample sizes 4 to 6) for wholesale prices.
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Where and When: 110 E. Ninth St., (213) 630-3600. 9 a.m.-3 p.m., last Friday of the month. www.californiamarketcenter.com.
Who: California Jewelry Mart
What: 250 jewelry manufacturers selling silver, gold, precious and semi-precious stones at 50 to 70 percent off. You can even get your bling custom made.
Where and When: 607 S. Hill St., (213) 627-2831; Mon.-Sat., 9 a.m.-5 p.m.