The ghost of Andy Warhol's Factory is looming large in Burbank—albeit with a few more screen-printed hoodies. Since debuting in January, fashion co-op American Boutiques LA has brought together a handful of under-the-radar designers determined to weather the economic storm. Residents develop their collections in a lofty space filled with design equipment, office suites, a showroom and a photography studio, and are given ample square footage at street level to create mini-boutiques for their labels.
While we'll admit that most of the offerings are rather iffy—does the world really need more fleur-de-lis and angel wing graphic tees?—there are some bright spots, like the collective's soft spot for eco-friendly labels and a great crop of vintage dresses from co-op member Flotsam and Dross. Plus, any endeavor that's helping small businesses stay alive right now has to get some credit. We'll be interested to see just how successful it turns out to be.