Comprising more than 90 downtown blocks, the Fashion District can seem daunting. But if you can manage to find a parking spot — and walk away without a ticket — the day can be a resounding success when you know where to go. When the knock-offs start to make you delirious, head to the New Mart building on the last Friday of every month for the sample sale of a lifetime. As many as 30 topnotch showrooms open their doors for cash-only, everything-must-go sales at bargain prices. With labels including Calvin Klein, Joe’s Jeans and Betsey Johnson, the best stuff is gone by noon, so arrive early.
If you are in the area on a weekend morning, head down Olympic toward the infamous Santee Alley. You’ll find vendors standing on the street with entire bags full of designer jeans marked as low as $40. Sizes tend to run small, but if you’re early, you can typically find what you want — so long as you don’t mind trying them on alfresco, in the alleyway.
Down another, unmarked alley off Los Angeles Street, across from a Subway restaurant, is Kukuly’s, one of the best and hardest to find shops in the crazed Santee neighborhood. The Peruvian woman who runs this accessories heaven sticks to gold-plated sterling silver, with charms and beads that don’t look like you found them on the street. Better yet, she keeps prices lower than anything else you’ll find in the area.
How low is low? Venture out to Robertson Boulevard and you’ll be shocked how much is bought straight from the vendors you can find yourself, at a third of the price.
New Mart, 127 E. Ninth St., downtown. Last Friday of every month, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
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Kukuly’s, 923-11 S. Santee St., downtown, (213) 489-0993.