Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.
Los Angeles has more stores than anyone could physically tackle, but somehow we always keep returning to the usual suspects. To break out of the rut, we've asked some local shopping and fashion gurus to provide their hidden retail gems—those unique stores around LA that we might not all know about. Cue the Beatles: We're about to get a little help from our friends.
Image via Block Snap
LA-based writer/artist Alex Israel recently launched Freeway Eyewear, Inc., a line of luxury sunnies made in Southern California. When he isn’t coming up with timeless sunglasses styles, he scribes for Purple Magazine, interviewing interesting dudes like David Lynch and Kenneth Anger. But, in his downtime, he digs through Arcana Books, a Santa Monica shop where he gabs away with owner Lee Kaplan.
My favorite bookstore is Arcana, located on the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica. It's not what one would expect to find tucked between Adidas and Club Monaco, but it's where I've been coming to scour the top-notch selection of art books, new and rare, for years. As a teenager, when I first discovered my appetite for art books, a family friend introduced me to the shop and to its incredibly knowledgeable owner, Lee Kaplan. Every time I visit, three things happen: I find what I'm looking for, I'm introduced to an even better, rare or out-of-print supplement to what I'm looking for, and finally, something unexpected takes me by surprise. Recent purchases include monographs on Carl Andre, Michael Clark, and the catalogue from the Victoria and Albert's survey exhibition on Postmodernism. An added bonus: the staff at Arcana takes great care to cover each and every dust jacket on the shelves with a custom-fitted protective plastic wrap.
Story by Yale Breslin