Friday, November 18, 2011

Touring the American Apparel Factory in Downtown Los Angeles, the Largest Garment Manufacturing Facility in North America -- "Made in Downtown LA -- Vertically Integrated Manufacturing"

American Apparel Warehouse - Largest Garment Manufaturing Facility in North America (© earthtoandrea)
Part of the fun of being a commercial broker is seeing the range of businesses that operate in the Los Angeles area and the buildings that house them.

We've seen all size and type of industrial property -- from the scrappiest, junkyard dog of a used car lot in Sylmar, to the pristine, NASA-like warehouse of fine art handling shop in Santa Fe Springs.

But the industrial property that's impressed us most is the American Apparel factory at 747 Warehouse Street in Downtown Los Angeles, the largest garment production facility in North America.  (Special thanks to Creative Director Iris Alonzo for giving us the tour.)

Why is this operation so impressive? It's not just the sheer enormity of it -- 342,000 sq ft, a staggering 7.9 acres of interior square footage -- with miles and miles of aisles of garments in all states of fabrication. It's that it's a real, under-one-roof design, manufacturing, and distribution facility -- right here in America! right here in the center of the second largest city in the USA!

On one side of the expansive building, the youthful (and hard-working) design and marketing staff are generating the content that is manufactured on the other side by a legion of hard-working sewers, cutters, pattern makers, and leather workers. This is the non-finance economy in action -- people are employed, machines are purchased and operated, and materials are consumed: a product is made.

If this country has any economic future, we need more American Apparels Whatever you think of the controversial company, Dov Charney's apparel business employs thousands of people in Los Angeles from all segments of the wealth spectrum. Food is put on tables; livelihoods are earned, improving lives for the many, in neighborhoods across the city.