L.A.’s Neighborhood Style: Flea Market Fashion

The increased prevalence of vintage clothing—coinciding with the demand to break the take-make-waste system of the fashion industry—has led shoppers to the often unfamiliar stomping grounds of swap meets and flea markets

Angelenos are no stranger to the weekend shopping endeavors that the city’s vast urban scape may throw them into. From the upscale stores of Rodeo Drive to the cookie-cutter outlets of The Grove, fashion occupies every street corner and endless avenue.

The increased prevalence of vintage clothing—coinciding with the demand to break the take-make-waste system of the fashion industry—has led shoppers to the often unfamiliar stomping grounds of swap meets and flea markets.

Long time Angelenos are no stranger to the pick-your-price street markets, but the thousands of garments, crafts, and eclectic goods reel in the gaze of newer residents.

Whether you are the new browser—frantically sliding hangers across clothing racks in search of your next complimentary piece—or the old familiar—strutting in, grabbing a few things, and getting on your way—it can be mutually agreed that Los Angeles’ flea markets are a staple of shopping in the country’s westernmost metropolis.

Melrose Trading Post

In the heart of Melrose lies its signature flea market; a weekly Sunday event where vendors slip into the parking lot of Fairfax High School.

Midnight Cowboy

Delaney (Photo by Julius Miller)

Delaney, 22, makes the trip from Long Beach, CA to shop; they’re gathered around the dining area, filled with food trucks offering anything from Philly cheesesteaks to smoothies. They wear an orange flower-printed button-up beneath a brown nubuck fringe jacket that they got from the Long Beach flea market, just across the Vincent Thomas Bridge.

“It’s like my cowboy jacket…my midnight cowboy jacket,” they claim. “I buy a lot of military surplus and cowboy-themed clothes.”

Old School Luxury

Renée (Photo by Julius Miller)

Just on the other side of the market, Renée, 18, is dressed in a lighter-toned outfit, highlighted by blue pants from Zara with fine florals spread out across them. Around her shoulder is a teddy fleece tote bag, branded with vivid, colorful, flowers. She is originally from Kiel, Germany, but recently moved to Los Angeles.

“I try to be vintage, old school, baggy…stuff like that,” Renée said.

Bold and Vibrant

Dane (Photo by Julius Miller)

Tucked away in one of the market’s many corners is Dane, 34, one of the many vendors on site. He specializes in vintage and flowy shirts, made of soft or embellished fabric.

Born and raised in Saint Kitts, Dane still channels the signature Caribbean exuberance he grew up with. He gazes through yellow-tinted glasses, dressed in a denim head to toe; his jacket is making a statement with a variety of animal prints.

“I feel as though fashion is an expression of self and it [his style] changes day to day,” Dane claimed. “My color palette can go from really dark to something really bold or neutral.”

Minimalistic and Modern Alternative

From left to right, Jeramy and Saint Flame (Photo by Julius Miller)

Jeramy, 21, and his friend who goes by Saint Flame, 24, find themselves in the familiar flea market routine of dishing out a conversation over clothing racks. Jeramy, a Los Angeles native, is dressed in all black beneath a flannel and shopping for crewnecks to fill his closet.

Flame, from Atlanta, Georgia, wears flared light wash jeans that fall onto his preferred New Rock studded boots. His outfit is complimented by an array of silver accessories and his bright red cardigan gives a classy finishing touch.

Jeramy describes his still style as “very simplistic” and “very minimalistic.”

Melrose Trading Post
Sunday, 9AM – 5PM
7850 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046

Silverlake Flea

Nestled in the lot of Taix in Echo Park every weekend, the Silverlake Flea market is free to all and boasts some of the best shopping in the area.

Funky and Loud

Kamdin (Photo by Julius Miller)

Somewhere between crystal and plant stalls you can find Kamdin, 19, shuffling around her shop with her dog, Remi. She is from Omaha, Nebraska, or as she calls it, “middle of nowhere…absolutely no sense of street fashion at all.”

Kamdin is easy to sight from across the market; she has gleaming red hair and wears a vintage orange fur hat she picked up at Goodwill.

“Right now, I am into anything with gloves,” Kamdin says. “The weirdest thing you can possibly find, that’s what I like.”

Remi finds a spot on the ground between her thrifted Angel jeans as she holds his leash with pink gloves deconstructed from her top.

Discreet Garconne

Cyrus (Photo by Julius Miller)

Just a bit deeper into the market, Cyrus, 28, is deviating from his usual routine of searching for pants and just passing through to be inspired by all the garments on display.

“It’s [his style] classic…at the moment it’s a bit more discreet,” he reflects.

Cyrus’ style isn’t always this way, his neutral palette and black Garrett Leight sunglasses are a step away from his usual “loud” compositions.

West Coast Bohemian

Rumer (Photo by Julius Miller)

It seems to be a trend that vendors show up in their best outfits, and Rumer, 33, and her sister, Scout, 30, are no exception. Rumer is dressed in all red, from toe to hair.

Her standout piece—a pair of cowboy boots her sister found at a vintage shop in Idaho—is just peeking out from below a floral maxi skirt that drapes to ankle length.

Rumer stated that if she were shopping, she would be picking up some vintage t-shirts for her closet.

“I’ve really been liking things that have either erotica, funny humor, or some sort of agricultural stuff,” she said.

Sunday Casual

Michael (Photo by Julius Miller)

Michael, 24, comes from Jacksonville, Florida, and is on the constant hunt for durability and quality.

“I want something I will still have when I am 40 or 50,” Michael states. “I go for quality over quantity.”

The stripped-back basics approach he took to the market, and especially his Kangol hat, are a nod to this sentiment.

Silverlake Flea
Saturday, 9AM – 4PM
Sunday, 10AM – 4PM
1925 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, 90026

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