A Considerable Town

All the Clothes in This West Hollywood Store Cost 2 Dollars. So Dive Into the Pile...

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Thu, Apr 25, 2013 at 4:00 AM
click to enlarge Customers get into the pile at 2 Dollar Clothing. - PAUL ULUKPO
  • Paul Ulukpo
  • Customers get into the pile at 2 Dollar Clothing.

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Nothing at the 2 Dollar Clothing store in West Hollywood costs more than $2. Not the new Marc Jacobs or DKNY tops, not the BCBG skirt or the Michael Kors boots, not the Gucci, Miu Miu, Armani or Jimmy Choo — not even the pair of pants a man once found that inexplicably had $800 in the pocket. He tried to return the money, but the owners wouldn't have it. 

"If you buy that for $2, it's yours. Whatever comes in it is yours, too," says Joe, who opened the storefront in October with his siblings Destiny and Alex. He describes himself as the brain behind the store.

Destiny, his younger sister, is the heart, and the one who keeps the store chugging along. "I don't care if you're the homeless guy, you can get the Gucci item," she says.

Production companies are constantly getting rid of their wardrobes after filming is complete, and they sometimes rely on contractors to do the job. And so every day at 3 p.m., a bunch of those clothes are shipped in a van to 2 Dollar Clothing.

Despite the store's Hollywood connections, the siblings running it are publicity-shy — they don't want to give their last names or ages. Joe describes his occupation vaguely as an investor. He says the store's origins trace back to a clothing contract he got in a "fluke situation" — his story goes that a guy trying to start a clothing company owed Joe money but couldn't pay. So instead, he gave Joe his contract for discarded clothes from film and television sets.

The siblings first set up at a nearby location at the corner of Santa Monica and La Brea a year ago, but it wasn't meant to be retail; their clients were charities, which would pick up the clothes to resell or donate. It was an easy way, Joe says, to at least get a tax deduction out of a bad deal.

But then regular shoppers started coming in, and the siblings decided to invest in a traditional storefront at 7713 Santa Monica Blvd. It's the low-key Russian part of West Hollywood, across from trendy Bar Lubitsch but also near old-school delis, strip clubs and a car wash. Thrift stores on the same block cater to the older, practical set — and so 2 Dollar Clothing stands out for its eclectic displays of party dresses, trendy jackets and heels.

Rather than sort the clothes and try to market the high-dollar stuff to wealthy shoppers, 2 Dollar Clothing relies on volume (though Joe and Destiny say the store hasn't actually turned a profit yet). The clothes more often than not wear the label of at least a decent mall brand, if not a designer one, and they're in good condition.

"It's like when you go to a thrift store, and you look and look and look, you find the one good one," Destiny says. "They're all the one good one."

But most of them are dumped on the ground, in a gigantic pile that people sit on or crawl through while they shop. People step on the pile on their way to the cash register.

They don't have a choice: It takes up most of the floor space of the tiny store.

"It's great because the crazy pile scares away anybody who would be fancy," Destiny says. "Like, we get rich people but not pretentious ones."

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