Downtown’s Historic Core is exploding with new bars and restaurants, and now there’s a renaissance of retail cropping up in these blocks. We’ll visit two gorgeous new stores and hear from their staffs and designers about how they’re transforming empty spaces in these historic structures into destinations for downtown residents and visitors alike. In fact, due to their presence in the neighborhood, this group of retail spaces have been nicknamed the “Broadway A’s” including Austere, Aesop, Acne, A.P.C. and, of course, the Ace.

First stop: Austere
The L.A. outpost of the New York design store is a retail, showroom and event space for Scandinavian design and innovation in downtown Los Angeles and online at In just a few short months, Austere has become a hub for showcasing the work of classic Scandinavian designers, promoting emerging designers, and discovering cutting-edge fashion from Sweden, Finland and beyond. The store is housed in a 1927 building which was originally the named the May Company Parking Structure, a garage for the neighboring May Department Store. Founder Frederik Carlstrom designed the space with a light touch that kept the historic details intact, with the help of The Guild Los Angeles and Form Us With Love. Murals by local artist Brian Rea cover the windows.

Second stop: Aesop
Nestled in the ground floor corner of the 1929 Eastern Columbia Building, Aesop Downtown is situated in Los Angeles’ historic theatre district, at the edge of its Fashion District and adjacent to the famous Orpheum Theatre, where Judy Garland performed in 1933, and others continued a tradition of Vaudeville which lasted until the 1950s. Taking its cue from the neighborhood culture and the bolts of fabric strewn about costume shops and fashion houses, Brooks + Scarpa have created an environment using 6-inch round cardboard tubes to create walls and furniture. This natural palette is warm and inviting, projecting a soft glow to the store’s interior and onto the street and sidewalk.

Final stop: Pattern Bar
We’ll end the night at a fashion-appropriate venue for drinks, the excellent Pattern Bar. It’s also Downtown Art Walk night so feel free to continue to explore the streets on your own!