If your wardrobe needs some blinging-up but you don't have Benjamins to burn, head to Downtown LA's Santee Alley to snap up designer knock-offs at bargain basement prices. An open air bazaar featuring 400 stalls, it's Bombay meets Tijuana meets Hong Kong, right in the heart of the famed Los Angeles Fashion District. From clothing and shoes to sunglasses and handbags to jewelry and DVDs, you'll find it here in mass quantities and don't be afraid to haggle.
How to Shop for Designer Knock-Offs in Los Angeles
Santee Alley is an actual alley, located between Santee Street and Maple Avenue and Olympic Blvd. and 12th Street, in the Fashion District of Downtown Los Angeles. It runs two blocks long with stalls on either side, a mash-up of Venice Beach and Rodeo Drive.
There are several parking lots surrounding the Alley where you can pay to park at rates ranging from $6.00 to $8.00. There's also metered street parking so bring plenty of quarters although spaces can be hard to come by. The shops are open from 10:00 to 5:00, seven days a week. Arrive early because the crush of humanity can be overwhelming later in the day.
Enter the alley from Olympic Blvd. to begin shopping. Vendors hawk faux Vuitton, Prada and Burberry, True Religion jeans and Chanel sunglasses just for starters. There are bootleg DVDs, silver and gold jewelery, hip-hop and club wear for both men and women, baby clothes and children's toys, the selection is endless. Most prices are in the $10.00 to $20.00 dollar range, but be sure to bargain. The more you buy from one stall, the more they're likely to reduce prices. If you love names, names, names and labels, labels, labels, even if they are fabulous fakes, Santee Alley is your de rigueur destination.
There are no dressing rooms. Wear something you can try clothes on over. Bring cash. Better to bargain with plus most stalls don't take credit cards anyway.
Keep your wallet protected. It can get insanely crowded and pickpockets aren't unheard of. Don't leave anything valuable inside your car. It's not the best neighborhood in town and break-ins aren't unheard of either.