February 6, 2009

Old-school hipsters vs. neo-Hipsters; community independent businesses vs. progressive chain store…it’s The Mission vs. American Apparel.

What do progressive, successful American Apparel and oldschool Valencia Street have to do with one another? Nothing much, hopes the Mission community. Excerpt:


American Apparel finally answered Allan Hough over at Mission Mission, who asked for comment on the Valencia Street controversy. They respond in length — which you can read in its entiretyright here — but, ultimately, claim they meant no harm.

“Our first store was in Echo Park, a small artsy district of Los Angeles, which is a lot like the Mission. Since we opened the store in 2003, the neighborhood has flourished with new independent businesses. The City pays closer attention to the area, keeping it cleaner and safer than it ever was before without denting its original charm and flavor. Our store is a permanent fixture in the community now, just as much as Burrito King and the infamous tranny hairdressers are. Not every location is like Echo Park or Valencia St., but for the ones that are, we’re perfectionists about getting right.”Actually, Echo Park is still kind of janky. But we digress.

American Apparel also goes on to say that “at the end of the day if the community doesn’t want us there, we have no intention of forcing our way in.” And seeing as how most of the businesses on Valencia and some Mission residents do not want the retail chain there due to aesthetic reasons, it looks like American Apparel might have to look elsewhere to hawk their revealing goods.

Read more about it, right here.


With thanks for the tip to Stephanie Bernstein, this video report features journalists fascinated, dumbfounded that a community would want to protect itself during tough economic times. As if a strong economy, and a vibrant, affordable community had no relation to one another. Excerpt:

KRON 4 dares to bravely go where the blogs have already been. Incredulity is expressed that people might oppose the opening of an international chain store in their neighborhood, while the intro is punctuated with swift jabs at the camera with a Stop American Apparel postcard…the Planning Commission has received letters both for and against, Valencia Street business owners fear higher rents, etc. — with one of the highlights being a close-up of the petition left at Ritual Coffee liberally doused in coffee stains. (Did anyone notice if the spiller was wearing a hoodie with a white zipper?) Toward the end, reporter Kate Thompson declares ominously that “a lot of people in this neighborhood are planning to show up en masse” for the Planning Commission meeting on Feb. 5. While there’s sure to be a healthy turnout, I think the 1:30 p.m. meeting time on a Thursday will ensure that most of the masses are at work — or should be.



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