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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 Jadis
Meet Jared Frank, one of the founders of Topsy Design, an e-commerce shop dedicated to all things vintage. Along with Samantha Jacober, their digital destination gives a new meaning to “tag sale” and it makes all the rummaging and digging through vintage shops a tad easier. But when he isn’t working, he ventures to Jadis, a spot in Santa Monica, that has one mission: to blow the viewers mind. And, if you take Jared’s advice, the mission has been accomplished.
For thirty-five years Jadis has been a “prop shop and curiosity cabinet dedicated to imagination and wonder" and a trip inside makes that abundantly clear. Selling and renting stuff is secondary to the primary task, which is to blow the viewer's mind with strange objects and the stranger stories behind them. The wonderful cranky clerk "would rather not be featured in a blog" but he'll happily lecture you for hours about the store's late founder, and Eames designer, Parke Meek. Mr. Meek's primary interest appears to be technology before it was digitized, back when you could see the gears spinning, the chemicals reacting, and the lights blinking. These visual manifestations of early technology at work create, for the viewer, a sense of wonder and possibility. Mr. Meek's collection is part of a larger scene of LA artists, effects wizards, and designers who've helped create the modern notion of Steampunk, including the artists Baron Margo and Larry Albright, the furniture and design at Obsolete and Voila, and the curiosity cabinets at the Museum of Jurassic Technology. When people think of LA they think of the fun, frivolous and sun-bleached. Jadis is a great stop on a tour of the other side - the dark side. The store is only open Friday through Sunday and it costs a dollar to enter, but it's a dollar well spent.