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October 13, 2008

Where do these kids come from?

american apparelI often wonder how the American Apparel in Federal Hill (pictured) stays in business.

This clothing store seems to cater mostly to hipsters and fashionistas. It's a place where people spend a lot of money on clothes that make them look like they haven't spent a lot of money on their clothes.

But Federal Hill is a neighborhood of post-college kids, married couples with small children, natives and retirees. If you rounded up all the hipsters in Federal Hill, they would barely fill Dangerously Delicious Pies on Light Street.

I rarely see anybody in the place except the people who work there. But every once in a while, I see a customer or two walking up the sidewalk to the store...

No, wait, I mean, bicycling up the sidewalk. Or maybe driving one of these up the street.

And every time, I'm like, 'Where do these kids come from?' If they live in Federal Hill, I never see them. Do they come from the county? From Hampden? Charles Village?

And how can they spend enough money to keep the store in business? Rent on Light Street can't be cheap. This is, I think, the question of the century. 

(Sun archive photo) 

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Posted by Sam Sessa at 11:46 AM | | Comments (15)
Categories: Random stuff


(My triumphant return!)

Um, although I feel mocked, I shop there about twice a month, and tend to drop loot. I take the 1/2 hr drive from the county just to fulfill my stylish needs!

The clothes don't cost much to make at all, so there's a huge profit margin.

Awaiting American Apparel related outrage

I know a lot of non-hipster people that wear american apparel. I've got probably 15 AA t-shirts that I wear on a regular basis but I don't consider myself a hipster. Their stuff is just more comfortable.

The majority of my t-shirts are AA. Why? They fit nicely and don't have a single graphic on them. They're also relatively cheap!

That said, I agree, Federal Hill is a very strange place to stumble upon this store.

Yo, Sam... Might want to tag the link to AA's site NSFW - I visited and was promptly shown some boobies on my work machine

That's weird seeing this after I mentioned the numerous AA apparel wearers at the girl talk show...I have some AA clothing but it's mostly just band merchandise...I just can't get myself to spend so much for a plain t-shirt or fluorescent underwear

I have to majorly disagree with just one aspect of your posting - rent on Light Street can't be cheap?!? I was hoping AA would lure tenants that would help what you're seeing happening on Charles with all the boutiques springing up, but maybe attract more national tenants to Light - not that House of Foam and Nail Trix aren't giving the neighborhood a certain something. Why can't we have (gasp! yes I really want one in my neighborhood) a Starbucks?

btw Sam, any intel on what is going into the space at the corner of Light & Montgomery, formerly Cook's Table and recently a catering business?

Any plans to review the newly opened and renovated Corks?

Doh, I don't get it -- there's nothing wrong with the site when I pull it up.

Terry, your comment may have planted the seed in my brain. I've asked this question about AA many times before, but never thought to blog about it until just now.

And AC, though I do write restaurant reviews (mostly for, I don't think I'll be reviewing Corks.

I think this same thing every time I walk past this place. I haven't seen a lot of neon mini-skirts in Cross Street Market.

I live in Federal Hill and I bought a headband there once.

I bought a black t-shirt there once to use as an undershirt. It would fit well if I was 6'3", 130 lbs. All of their clothes seem to have that same fit.

I love AA and I live in Mt. Vernon/Seton Hill... The fit and comfort level is amazing, but the price is horrible.

Cost is one of the reasons I spent two hours in CMART before they closed because they had 6 huge boxes full of AA clothing for a dollar a piece (I walked out with 30 pieces probably valued over 500 bucks)

There's a huge void in Baltimore City proper for good, fashionable, quick-buy apparel. If you don't want to trek to the suburbs, you can pray for something good at Filenes, brave Harborplace, or hope to find something unique at a boutique. But you couldn't just pop out for a quick, decent outfit until the advent of AA.
As a side note, retail rents on Light aren't as bad as you'd think.

Federal Hill is full of many people with disposable income. On top of this, many of them wear athletic wear. You need people with disposable to support a store of this nature and hipsters dont have much of that. So, Federal Hill makes a lot of sense. I buy a ton of stuff there and live downtown.

You must have some disposable income to afford to shop in fed.hill. I live here and I don't have the diposable income to spare to shop here. Not a whole lot of people do...not the people I know..
I don't ever go into American Apparel but people i know in their early twenties love it. I think it's a question of being out of the loop.

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About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.

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