The Fabric of Los Angeles

Design is just one of the ways Central and South Americans make their mark on the city



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Peruvian women have been weaving frazadas—textiles used as blankets, rugs, and tablecloths—for centuries. DTLA’s Rimanku is dedicated to preserving the ancient Incan art, offering imports in a multitude of colors and patterns (pictured). The shop has teamed with Oikos, a nonprofit that ensures the sustainability of Peru’s natural resources.

All of the articles and photos from our special Immigration Issue are available in the October 2016 issue, on newsstands now.


Laura Luna Textiles

Hand-loomed embroidered clothing and other woven materials are made by Guatemalan women, imported to L.A., and sold at Laura Luna Textiles. Owner Laura Lee follows fair trade practices and has partnered with Miracles in Action, a 501(c)3 charity that provides employment opportunities to native Guatemalans.

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Granada Tile

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In 2001, Marcos Cajina started Granada Tile in his Echo Park basement. (The blue-and-white tiles at Intelligentsia Coffee in Silver Lake are among his distinctive designs.) By 2004, Cajina had opened a full-scale factory in his homeland, Nicaragua. Now based in L.A., he and his wife and partner, Melanie Stephens, frequently return to his birthplace in search of new ideas.


Mara Carrizo Scalise

Jewelry designer Mara Carrizo Scalise, from Buenos Aires, crafts delicate, simple pieces. Each is influenced by her hometown’s cosmopolitan culture and by the interplay of feminine and masculine: Chokers studded with tiny gems, such as pink garnets, might be joined by gold-plated brass.


Johana Hernandez

Johana Hernandez’s parents toiled in local clothing sweatshops, often with their daughter in tow, after leaving El Salvador. That experience inspired Hernandez to go into fashion design. A 2013 contestant on NBC’s Fashion Star, she launched her bridal and couture lines last year. In July she opened a flagship store in Downey, where she was born.

This article originally appeared in the October 2016 issue of Los Angeles magazine.