LA flea markets possess many hidden treasures


Photo Courtesy of Artists & Fleas

Whether it’s vintage or high-end design, local thrift shops, boutiques and flea markets in the fashionable downtown Los Angeles always sport a variety of hidden treasures. For anyone looking to add to their t-shirt collection, decorate an apartment or window shop on a lazy Sunday afternoon, these chic shops offer many unique styling choices.

One of the most distinctive places to go though, is the Artists and Fleas Market. On the third weekend of every month, head to the Arts District for a collaborative experience of art, design, original fashion and vintage as well. This collective of vendors is a gold mine, with their diverse offerings — whether it be handmade accessories, used books or vintage clothing — to bring people of all style choices back to those rebellious teenage years.

This one-of-a-kind shopping experience offers more than just that. There is also a variety of popular local food trucks that make appearances, as well as a DJ booth.

Returning for the beginning of the new year, Artists and Fleas debuted a variety of new vendors this past weekend. Spotlighted vendors have included Lockjaw Garage, Dig it Vinyl, Beatology Records and others such as Raditude Apparel.

One of the truly special aspects of this month’s market though, was the Will Wall. Customers were encouraged to write their new year’s resolutions on post-it notes and place it on the wall to create a sense of community and motivation.

Whether they’re looking for accessories, new or old music, or not looking for anything in particular at all, this market will prove to be a chest full of unimaginable treasures for everyone involved. One of the most fun parts of wandering around is undoubtedly finding an array of things that never seemed appealing until that very moment. And in that moment, it’s something that’s to be bought.

A few vendors really made an impression though, due to their creative values.

INKT Apparel uses simple tattoo designs on t-shirts to allow for interpretation by each individual. Their philosophy reflects an understanding of differences in perspective from person to person. Joe Saladino is the mastermind behind this bold California-made brand.

HollyWood and Twine signs will lighten up your home with their catchy and clever sayings. Artist and owner Amy Jorgensen hand paints each individual piece, to ensure optimal quality.

Red Panda’s purpose is to “bring warmth to cold products.” Their innovative bamboo phone cases, sunglasses and skateboards are creative and inspirational of natural warmth and beauty. The natural material the works are made out of is reminiscent of a time when nature was a much more prevalent than the technology we so love. Red Panda wants to begin to bridge the gap between nature and technology.

By Francis Frank offers handmade, locally-designed jewelry. Francis Frank is a college student, who pursues a separate passion for making bohemian inspired jewelry. Based in Los Angeles, her jewelry, like many other vendors at the Artists and Fleas market, is inspired and based off of Los Angeles and its wide variety of cultures and the people included.

Beautiful Things LA is a fantasy turned reality for owner Susan Forrest Reynolds. This unique mobile shop offers home decor and accessories through its fun bus storefront. The mother daughter duo, much like INKT Apparel, uses mostly California made and inspired items.

Trendy and Tipsy takes a new perspective on the fashion world: positive, fun, and upbeat. These are the qualities and attitudes of the women who wear this clothing, who will actively bring vivacity into mundane everyday activities. They offer a variety of vintage and original/new fashions.

For the book collectors and literature lovers, Brown Bag Books sells high-quality previously owned reading material. From comic books, to modern classics to encyclopedias, Brown Bag Books has it all at an extremely affordable price. The book company has been donating quality reading material to elementary and middle schools  in need for the past six years.

In addition to the large variety of apparel and jewelry, Artists and Fleas is home to many visiting food trucks.  TropPops are colorful and healthy treats made from whole pieces of fruit cut into fun and interesting “pop shapes,” then frozen and coated on one side  with flavors like chocolate and green tea. Other flavors include mango, pineapple, papaya, kiwi and banana and all Trop Pops are vegan, dairy-free and gluten-free.

Artists and Fleas is open on Saturdays and Sundays on the third weekend of every month from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The market travels to Chelsea, New York when it is not in L.A. While it is free and open to the public, the flea market hosts various fundraisers and craft shows that may charge  for admission.