By Mariella Rudi
Perhaps the best mainstay of any summer outfit is comfortableness. And just because you wear basics doesn’t mean you have to be, well, basic.
Step up the stoops into Alternative Apparel on Abbot Kinney Blvd., where the basics retailer has transformed a surfside house into an all-encompassing fashion experience.
With a tag line that evokes minimalism with intention – “Fashion basics for a sustainable future” – Alternative Apparel’s soft eco-friendly fabrics and clean designs creates a wardrobe that seamlessly goes from the loungewear to workout gear to nighttime garb.
Alternative Apparel’s story begins with their commitment to sustainability and responsibly made products. The company is one of few certified Green Businesses, a designation the City of Los Angles gives. Their factories in North and South America, Egypt, India, Thailand, and China comply with the Fair Labor Association’s Workplace Code of Conduct. In addition, their G2 Eco-Wash finishes garments with 60 percent less water and no chemicals.
With non-toxic, low-impact dyes on all eco-fabrics, as well as natural dyes, Alternative’s fabric innovation is their first-class signature at an affordable price.
“We have great fabrics but really great silhouettes as well,” said Manager Keith. “It feels really great against the body and is nice, light, and breathable for Southern California.”
With fabrics like 100 percent cotton, eco-blends, knits, wovens, and breathable jersey and soft performance fabrics, Alternative Apparel translates to soft, always.
“We are a basics company. We specialize in really great fabrics, so we do a lot of Pima cotton like with our Moroccan Tees,” which Keith said are popular with the guys because of it’s not-too-low neckline.
Tops with organic Pima cotton jersey are sustainably sourced from Peru, super soft, and durable with natural sheen; another fabric from Peru is the organic light French terry, found in most hoodies, crew necks, and knit bottoms, which also has a soft touch but with a more loose knit with plush, textural feel.
There’s also the eco-fleece and eco-jersey material, both vintage-style loose knits made with recycled polyester and organic cotton.
“Our very, very famous [is] Rockie; it’s just a classic fleece zip and really fun with great colors and a great fit. This is something that we’re absolutely known for; it’s one of our killer products. People come from all over the world to come in and buy this,” Keith said of the hoodie.
Another best-selling basic is the eco-fleece pants, which are a breathable, relaxed sweat pant that is surprisingly cool for summer; the bottoms retain your shape while still having a slouched figure.
For those summer nights, Alternative carries a slew of easy-to-wear dresses that won’t stick or restrict when you go from day to night. They also sell form-flattering tank tops and muscle tanks for the rising temperatures. Men have about the same endless options of raglans, henleys, pullovers, button-ups, dolmans, and baseball T’s. As always, there are endless colors and patterns to choose from once you’ve found the perfect fit.
And it’s not just T-shirts that run amuck in the store; they carry hats, head bands, bags, Verameat jewelry, and Sydney Hale Co. candles.
“This is basically our forte: it feels really good, looks really good, and that’s Alternative,” Keith said.
Alternative Apparel is located at 1337 Abbot Kinney Blvd. in Venice. The store hours are Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information call the store at 310.482.3316 or visit alternativeapparel.com.