Story and Photos by Sofia Alva
For students who prefer to avoid the highly branded clothing of many popular fashion lines, thrift shops are the best place to find a look that better fits their wardrobe aesthetic. Outside of thrift stores that are few and far between in cities like South Pasadena, the Melrose Trading Post is a spot that directly caters to teens searching for this style of clothing by hosting local artisans and vendors who sell their handmade vintage wares at Fairfax High School every Sunday.
My friends and I decided to venture out to West Hollywood early in the morning in an effort to avoid the 93° heat. After an hour train and bus ride, we arrived at the Fairfax and Melrose Metro station, which was located across from the market.
After paying a small $5 admission and entering the market grounds, we found ourselves momentarily overwhelmed with the sounds of people negotiating prices and making purchases in hundreds of colorful booths sprawled across the Fairfax High School campus. The twinkling rays of light from a nearby display of rings and necklaces immediately caught our eyes, so we began our browsing there.
As we made our way through the market, we found everything from vintage cameras and photos to exotic greenery. Dozens of shoppers milled about us, searching for the perfect items, and between the heavy foot traffic and huge number of tents, it was difficult at times to make our way through the market.
Though the lively atmosphere is truly remarkable, what makes the Melrose Trading Post stand out is its extensive selection of re-sellers, independent brands, and curated vintage shops offering clothing for every style. We found everything from business clothing to streetwear, many priced as low as $1.
An hour of shopping and walking around for a while left us hungry and in need of a break, so we headed over to the shaded food and entertainment area, where enticing sweet and savory smells wafted from different food vendors. There, we drank some ice cold energy drinks and devoured overpriced yet satisfying avocado fries while enjoying the calming live music from the main stage.
Not only is the Melrose Trading Post a hub for all things unique, it is also one of the most successful ongoing social enterprise programs for LAUSD. Through admission and vendor fees, the trading post has awarded countless grants to Fairfax High School for sports equipment, beautification projects, theatre productions, and more.
Additionally, the market aims to support small businesses and entrepreneurs by providing affordable retail opportunities in a prime, high traffic location. Their commitment to the community makes the Melrose Trading Post an impactful shopping location.
Overall, visiting the flea market was a very enjoyable and worthwhile experience. The extensive selection of uncommon clothing items was something I had never seen before, and this alone will definitely bring me back another time soon.
The Melrose Trading Post takes place every Sunday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. at Fairfax High School.