In the fight against fast fashion, one of our most powerful tools is American-made and U.S.-based fashion. Once centered in New York’s Garment District, U.S.-based retailers are popping up in Los Angeles and gaining massive fanbases.

As they cater to a younger, more stylish crowd than many New York-manufactured retailers (such as Nanette Lepore), this new wave of American fashion is changing the scope of the industry for the better–they’re alternatives to both fast fashion *and* traditional high-end labels that tend to be outdated and impractical.

Below, I’ve gathered five of my favorite U.S.-based retailers whose pieces have earned their place in my day-to-day wardrobe.

Top and trousers both by Reformation

Are You Am I: A favorite among bloggers, Are You Am I was founded by a blogger herself named Rumi Neely, also known as “fashiontoast”. This collection of upscale, not-so-basic basics puts a younger, more modern spin on must-have pieces like plain white t’s, bodysuits and day-to-night dresses.

Backbite: If you’re a vintage lover like me, look no further than Backbite, an LA-based, online-only thrift shop. It’s no secret that the best vintage is found in large cities like LA and New York, but for those of us who live outside these metropolitan areas, reliable vintage shops are few and far between. Thankfully, there’s the Internet.

In addition to stunning, one-of-a-kind vintage pieces, Backbite also specializes in unique in-house designs. Personally, I am a huge fan of their vintage-t’s-turned-bodysuits. Plus, it’s run by a team of boss babe BFFs who put SO much attention to detail into their work.

Like most good vintage, their pieces are on the pricier side, so be sure to sign up for their mailing list and follow @backbite_ on IG for updates on the shop’s sales and giveaways!

Minimale Animale: So, this one isn’t technically fashion; it’s solely swimwear. But, I just had to include it because these smokin’ hot ‘kinis and one-pieces are designed and manufacturing right here in the U.S. of A. I am a huge fan of this label for so many reasons, but the fact that it is U.S.-based is at the top of the list.

The simple, yet unique designs set these swimsuits apart from the rest. Inspired by old-school swimwear of the 1980s and 90s and ultra-skimpy, Minimale Animale stands out for all the right reasons. They will make you wish for summer all year long.

Reformation: Impossibly chic but far from trendy, Reformation, another LA-based shop, is the antidote to a world plagued by fast fashion retailers. No matter their personal style, it seems It girls everywhere love this eco-friendly retailer.

Founded in 2009 on the basis of sustainability, Reformation offers both seasonal and timeless pieces that can be styled for a multitude of occasions from the office to happy hour and beyond. And like I said, they’ve got something for your steez, be it preppy, boho, athleisure or anything in between!

Revice: Good denim is a necessity no matter what. But surprisingly, a great pair of jeans is hard to find nowadays. The first time I ever put on a pair of jeans from Revice, however, I was so pleasantly surprised because they are suspiciously comfortable and couldn’t be more flattering.

With a quality pair of vintage or vintage-inspired jeans costing upwards of $100 today, Revice Denim’s prices really can’t be beat. And although killer denim is definitely worth investing in, their prices range from about $58 to $98, so Revice won’t break the bank.

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Twice-bankrupt American Apparel is no stranger to bad publicity. But, 40 percent-off all online and in-store purchases–which was supposed to end January 8, according to its website–has been extended indefinitely, causing quite a buzz among shoppers. Although the Canadian company Gildan Activewear bought rights to American Apparel’s intellectual property and other assets, according to Business Insider, that does not include the 110 brick-and-mortar stores in the U.S., which will likely be forced to close if not sold.

Gildan gained a temporary license to all 110 stores, but that expires in a little over two months, according to Business Insider. Gildan never intended to resume operations at American Apparel stores, and does not plan to keep the stores beyond the 100 days designated by the temporary license.

[source: Instagram user @americanapparelusa]

Via Instagram (@americanapparelusa), American Apparel promotes its 40 percent-off sale almost daily. Many posts suggest several pieces–including the popular Disco Pants–are nearly sold out, while another insists the company’s line of basics will soon be considered “vintage” due to the company’s bankruptcy.

American Apparel’s first bankruptcy, filed in 2015, was caused by “a $300 million debt load, intense competition and excess inventory,” according the The Fashion Law. The bankruptcy also occurred on the heels of allegations of misconduct against former Chief Executive Dov Charney’s in 2014. Although Charney denied the allegations, it is still very likely the issue caused the Los Angeles-based company to suffer.

The company, which prides itself on sweatshop-free, Made-in-the-U.S.A clothing, is one of the largest manufacturers in the country. Because prices are relatively affordable at American Apparel (even without a 40 percent-off sale), its competition includes fast fashion retailers, all of which outsource operations to developing countries like Bangladesh. Staying true to its name, American Apparel, chose not change its manufacturing protocol in order to keep up with competition.

When stores eventually close, some 2,000 employees will be laid off, in addition to the 2,400 already affected by the bankruptcy, according to Business Insider. It is unclear whether the online store will remain, or if the company’s social media presence will be archived.

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Wearing a ribbed tank from Reformation & reworked Levi’s denim

The frequency at which I see bloggers, YouTubers and influencers promoting fast fashion labels is beyond nauseating. That, in addition to my own research, turned me away from the fast fashion industry big time. Although I do not claim to be perfect (I still own a number of things from fast fashion giants such as Zara), I am making a huge effort to greatly reduce my consumption.

Of course it is amazing when you find an affordable piece that happens to be exactly what you want, but we should all strive to consume consciously, i.e., buy less, but buy better. There is never a reason to blindly follow trends you don’t even like, buy something just because it’s on sale, stay all day in clothes that are ill-fitting and uncomfortable because they were made haphazardly or have a closet full of falling-apart pieces you never wear–all of which can be super stressful! To guide us in the right direction, I gathered some of the biggest names in fast fashion and paired them with ethical alternatives offering thoughtful, quality designs that make us feel good inside and out.

Instead of Fashion Nova, try Backbite.

When it comes to edgy pieces fit for a rockstar, such as jumpsuits, bodysuits and hot pants, Backbite is the go-to source. This Los Angeles-based, online-only retailer also has an impressive collection of unique vintage t’s and killer (cruelty-free) animal prints.

Instead of Tiger Mist/Princess Polly/I Am Gia, try Daisy.

It is hard to resist fun, trendy styles on these Australian-based sites. Is it just me, or do girls down under have the coolest style?

But these rapidly growing fast fashion retailers are known for copycatting up-and-coming labels such as Daisy (aka @daisydaisy.tv). An Opening Ceremony favorite, Daisy is known for slinky lace-up dresses and corset-inspired tops that put an ubersexy spin on traditional styles. The pastel colors and clean neutrals look amazing on all skin tones and body types, while giving everyone the option to personalize their Daisy looks.

Instead of Zara, try Rosemilk.

Whether you are looking for dreamy, nostalgic pieces for your next vacay or something classic to wear to your next job interview, Rosemilk has you covered (quite literally)! Although the selection is limited–they are a new business–it does not feel that way because everything is so gorgeous. Their styles are the perfect blend of masculine and feminine, and comfort is never sacrificed.

Instead of Aerie, try Hot As Hell.

Looking for beautiful lingerie or sexy swim that will make you feel feminine and help you stand out from the crowd? In Hot As Hell‘s range you will look just as good as the name suggests. 😉

Instead of Forever 21, try REVICE.

I guarantee that you will find your new favorite show-stopping jeans that fit like a glove and boost your confidence on REVICE‘s site.

Instead of Revolve, try Are You Am I.

So, not everything on Revolve is technically fast fashion; it is more of an online department store (with a pretty awesome denim selection, might I add). Although most styles on this site come with a somewhat hefty price tag, the speed at which Revolve stocks new pieces is dizzying; for that reason I am grouping this retailer in the fast fashion category.

At Are You Am I, however, you will score the best basics for everyday wear, plus the perfect party dress for any event! The quality fabrics ensure these pieces will last forever. The simplified design promises they will never go out of style. And the chic aesthetic means you will want to live in them all year long.

Instead of Urban Outfitters, try Reformation.

Reformation is a one-stop shop for office-appropriate fashion that is still *ahem* fashionable; think of it as UO for grown-ups. Although most styles at Ref tend to be on the conservative side (at least for my taste), everything has a modern, effortless feel–perfect for recreating the highly coveted French girl style, athleisure-obsessed American style or anything in between!

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Monthly favorites posts are my fav to read and watch, so I am super happy I’ve been able to keep up with doing my own this year–granted we’re only two months in. But so far, I’m two for two.

While I’m still into fall/winter styles (think: knitwear, tailored pieces and plaid, as well as dark, vampy and grunge-y makeup), Spring has been on my mind this month (if you couldn’t already tell by the insane number of Polyvore sets I’ve been putting together lately). I’ve been doing my best to transition these styles for the upcoming season.

Beauty-wise, I’ve definitely been loving things in the affordable range. My usual Glossier suspects make up the bulk of what I’ve been reaching for, but there are also a few new bits from ColourPop thrown into the mix.

ColourPop Stippling Brush: Until I purchased this brush, I didn’t get the hype around Tarte’s Shape Tape concealer. I’d been using Shape Tape for months, blending it with my fingers, which gave me good coverage but didn’t “wow” me in the ways that I expected to be wow’d by one of America’s top concealers.

ColourPop’s Stippling Brush has seriously made all the difference; I seriously wish I discovered it sooner. I apply Shape Tape with its doe-foot brush, tap gently with my fingers, then blend and buff with the Stippling Brush for virtually flawless coverage that looks almost airbrushed. I can’t get enough. $8, ColourPop

ColourPop Super Shock Highlighters: I am so addicted to these! I ordered ColourPop’s Super Shock Highlighter in the shade Off Tropic after Christmas when I had a little extra cash, and since then I’ve invested in three others: Might Be, Flexitarian and Over The Moon.

Off Tropic and Flexitarian are perfect everyday shades for me; I keep Might Be and Over The Moon for more fun looks.

Not only are these highlighters super affordable–like, under $10 affordable–they are amazing. They are so smooth that in the pan, they almost feel wet. And they definitely give your face that delicious “wet” look. All four apply so evenly and intensely, either with a setting brush, a fan brush or the ring finger. $8, ColourPop

ColourPop x Kathleenlights Moon Child Lip Gloss: Another ColourPop pick! I promise this post isn’t sponsored in any way; I genuinely love this brand and its products so much.

I am a glossy lip gal; I can never fully get the hang of matte lipsticks despite their popularity. So when I say that Moon Child is hands-down the best lip gloss ever, don’t take it lightly, because I’m not exaggerating.

It has a medium-coverage crème finish (that is the perfect light pink-y nude color) with the tiniest gold flecks. I love how it makes the lips look slightly juicier in the subtlest, most natural way. $6, ColourPop

OLEHENRIKSEN Banana Bright Eye Crème: After being pretty unhappy with the previous two eye creams I’ve used, OLEHENRIKSEN’s Banana Bright is so refreshing.

I had previously used Youth To The People’s eye cream, which I honestly kind of hated. Other than the creamy formula, it pretty much sucked. It failed to do virtually anything, and it stung my eyes like crazy almost every time I used it.

After I (finally) finished YTTP’s, I picked up an anti-aging eye gel from OLEHENRIKSEN. While I saw some results with this product, especially as I got towards the end of the container, I didn’t like the gel texture at all.

As soon as I ran out, I ordered OLEHENRIKSEN’s newest cream formula that I’ve heard so much about! And this eye cream is definitely living up to the hype; the texture is amazing, it wears flawlessly under makeup and, so far, it works!

Although the container is small (most eye creams are), a little goes a really long way with Banana Bright. I spread it thin in the morning before makeup, then layer it on thick before bed. $38, Sephora

Herbivore Botanicals Jade Facial Roller: I can’t believe I went this long without using a jade roller! I am so in love. It’s great for getting serums, moisturizer and eye cream deeper into the skin after applying. And when the roller itself is cold, it feels so soothing.

Because I’ve only had it about a month, I can’t say if it truly has any long-term benefits. But I am looking forward to continue use! (Let me know in the comments if you would like an update down the road!) $25, Herbivore Botanicals

Blazer dress from Amuse Society: Like I said, I am all about tailored pieces right now, so a post on how I style this piece is coming soon! I love how versatile this blazer dress is; I can style it for work, a night out or anything in between. It is equal parts serious and sexy. $75, Amuse Society

Gucci Brixton leather Horsebit loafer: I’ve had my eye on these for over a year, so when I landed a new job a few weeks ago, I finally splurged. They are practical, comfortable and so gorgeous. Plus, they won’t ever go out of style. They basically haven’t left my feet since I got them.

There are so many Gucci loafers and slippers to choose from nowadays, but I opted for the pair that can be worn as both. The convertible back can be folded down and flattened, transforming a classic pair of Horsebit loafers into slippers. $730, Gucci

Byredo candles in Peyote Poem and Woods: I mentioned that I’ve been wanting to try these scents in last month’s favorites, so on Valentine’s Day I treated myself to them (after a couple glasses of red).

Can’t decide which one smells better! Both have the musky smell that I love in a candle and in perfumes. (Honestly, everything I’ve smelled from Byredo smells heavenly.)

Every night I’ve been burning one or the other four about an hour to an hour and a half while I read so I don’t go through them to quickly. I can’t live without candles, and these are definitely top-notch. Prices vary, Byredo

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Thrifted vegan moto jacket (Poshmark), Levi’s (Melrose Trading Post) and shoes (NYC)

I am an expert thrifter; my entire family is, really. I grew up thrifting alongside my mom, my aunt and my cousins. (My cousin Devon even bought her wedding gown secondhand from a vintage shop, which is ah-mazing. Hey, Dev!)

Over the years I’ve gathered a ton of tips and tricks for successful thrifting, and I am thrilled to be able to share them with my community. Not only is shopping secondhand an environmentally friendly alternative to fast fashion, it is a great way to find unique, high-quality pieces at an affordable price.

It’s no secret that clothes, shoes, accessories, even home furnishings aren’t made with the craftsmanship of yesteryear, and for this reason alone I believe thrifting is worth the hassle it can sometimes cause.

Thankfully, technology has made thrifting something you can do from the comfort of your couch with a bowl of popcorn. For more of my preferred methods, keep reading!

  1. Your local, trusted tailor is your best friend! This is my first tip because it is the most important! Americans don’t utilize tailors like they used to, and for that reason, we modern Americans suck at dressing ourselves. By supporting your local tailor, you’re actually doing yourself a huge favor, too: not only will you be more comfortable and confident in your clothes, you’ll actually get more wear out of them. Because thrift shops almost always stock one of each piece, it is unlikely all your finds will be the right size. DON’T LET THAT DISCOURAGE YOU. I cannot emphasize this enough! If you find something you love, but it’s a little to big, a little too long, or needs some patching up, take the time to bring it to a tailor you can trust. It’s worth it. This tip is especially useful for petite gals like me; I’ve found that vintage retailers tend to stock sizes 27 (i.e., size 4) and up. Sizes 24 (00), 25 (0) and 26 (2) are super hard to come by.
  2. Download buy & sell apps! Poshmark and Depop are my favs, but there’s also a handful of others like Mercari or even Etsy. You can make bank by selling your own pieces, and you could also score pre-loved goodies from across the country or around the world! Spend a Saturday or Sunday uploading to your virtual closet so that others can shop from you, then settle down and explore what’s out there! Though a scammer may try to contact you every now and then, they are pretty easy to spot, and the apps, which are businesses in and of themselves equipped with 24/7 support teams, are safe and reliable. Poshmark even allows returns if your purchase doesn’t arrive as listed. However, I will say this: STAY ON THE APP AND ONLY BUY/SELL DIRECTLY FROM THE APP. A surefire way to spot a scammer is if they message you, reply to you or comment on your page asking if you’ll buy from them or sell to them off the app (either through Paypal or some other method). Politely tell them that you only buy/sell directly from the app, and block them if necessary. And definitely don’t give them your email address.
  3. Pictures matter! When it comes to selling on apps like Poshmark and Depop, pictures matter! Your potential buyers want to see clear, well-lit, unfiltered and unobstructed images. Think about it–you wouldn’t want to purchase something if the picture of it is crappy, so why would others? Invest some time in taking good quality pictures for your virtual closet (smartphone cameras work fine!), and remember that if you model your pieces, they are more likely to sell.
  4. Be patient! This tip applies to real-life shopping, as well as shopping through apps. Every once in a while, you may get lucky by finding your dream piece right away, but most of the time, it will take time! For this reason, thrifting digitally has a clear advantage over thrifting IRL. Most of the apps allow you to save a piece for future purchase by “liking” it, whereas leaving a piece behind on a thrift store shelf in hopes of finding something better can give you that one-that-got-away feeling. If there’s something super specific you’re looking for, apps are your best bet. You can check for it by typing a word or phrase into the search bar multiple times a day and on multiple different apps to maximize your chances. With a little patience, you’re sure to come across the right one in a matter of weeks, days or even hours! As far as thrifting IRL, strategic searching takes time, energy and even a little research, but it is almost always rewarding!

Some of my absolute favorite pieces were thrifted by yours truly. If you’re in LA and love thrifting as much as I do (or are a first-time who wants to get into thrifting), stop by my go-to spots Melrose Trading Post (open only on Sunday’s–get there early!), Reformation Vintage (8253 Melrose Ave) and Wasteland. The best part is that these spots are all on the same street, with walking distance of one another (although Wasteland has two other locations in Santa Monica and Studio City, both in the LA area).

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