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L.A’s Favorite Flea Market - Melrose Trading Post

Find hidden treasure and modern gems at L.A.’s most celebrated flea markets
By Ashley Kuczenski
March 03 2022
A sunny day at the Melrose Trading Post. Shutterstock.  

What would Los Angeles street fashion be without the city’s vibrant vintage and thrifting scene - and what would that scene be without the iconic Melrose Trading Post? 

Thrifters and vintage seeking shoppers hustle to Melrose Trading Post every Sunday with the high hopes of finding vintage treasures and modern fashion trends to add into a weekly outfit rotation. The market isn’t new, but there is a growing influence that is driven by L.A. residents and the demand for secondhand over fast fashion. 

What to expect at Melrose Trading Post 

Melrose Trading Post carries anything from clothes to antiques. Melrose Trading Post.

For thrifting newbies, Melrose Trading Post open-air market takes place every Sunday at Fairfax High School from 9AM to 5PM. The flea market attracts eclectic vendors from across Southern California to showcase clothing, rugs, vintage treasures, and heaping piles of bargained goods that leave shoppers starry-eyed over merch and leaving without buyer's remorse. The prices are low and negotiation is welcomed.

The event is still the apex of thrifting events for young people in L.A. and has been going strong after more than two decades. Launched in 1997 and run by the Greenway Arts Alliance, The Melrose Trading Post attracts shoppers with unique style through listed modern and vintage items. For the most part, the crowd is young, (think: Gen Z) and full of a new generation of shoppers who demand a different style than their predecessors. 

Shopper at Melrose Trading Post wears forest green high-waist pants with bold printed tank top and gloves 

While Hollister and Abercrombie and Fitch once stood out to Millenials as the brand-new, must have items to wear as young adults, GenZ has flipped the switch to adopt a more sustainable and budget friendly approach to fashion; secondhand thrifting. In Los Angeles, thrift stores existed but weren’t the plundered storefronts we see the masses sifting through today. Only in the last five years has thrift shopping gone from a niche practice to full-blown mainstream. 

Like the market itself, the new generation of buyers have made eclectic, mismatched fashion a trend. Just browse TikTok or Instagram and see influencers wearing baggy sweatpants with cross body Gucci bags, Carhartt hats and gold hoop earrings. The outfit, to an outsider, may look like a mess, but it is a thoughtful stack of influences that make the style unique. 

Barbara Malewicz wears a gender-fluid combination of vibrant colors, an oversized jacket and designer bag. Getty Images 

Thrifting, while demanded from GenZ, has filtered into a multi-generational practice for every age and generation. Stick around Melrose Trading Post long enough and see a 50-something shopper embodying the style and trendiness of what is trending on social media.  

A Melrose shopper decked out in gold chains and pops of pink showcases the vibrant style of the flea market. 

More than a flea market 

But Melrose Trading Post is not just a flea market; it’s a cultural institution that has a revitalizing effect on its home base of Fairfax High School. Through admission and vendor fees, the event has grown to award grants totaling more than eight million dollars to the school - supporting organizations for sports equipment, beautification projects, teacher programs, theater productions, and more.  

Racks of clothing waiting for its new owner. Shutterstock.  

The sprawling L.A. flea market is home to just about every type of vendor, too. In one corner a shopper can choose from vintage clothing while another section offers handmade jewelry, boutiques, craft furniture makers, and even small artisanal skincare businesses. It also offers plenty of food stands and trucks on hand to feed hungry shoppers.  

Looking for entertainment while shopping? They’ve got that covered there, too. During every Trading Post event visitors can experience LA’s local music scene on the market’s Garden Stage. Stick around long enough and people watching quickly turns to car watching. It isn’t a rarity to see Lamborghinis and Masaratis in and around the parking lot. This is West Hollywood, afterall. 

White Maserati shows no lack of luxury vs. vintage at Melrose Trading Post. Maserati Puente Hills

Melrose Trading Post is a true cross-section of Los Angeles street style and vibrant unique taste that is individualized to each shopper. It doesn’t take long to realize just how diverse L.A. fashion really is and somehow the intersection of fashion and unique taste is fully represented at the trading post every weekend. 

Gaze in one direction and you’ll spot a group of teenage girls dressed in their best newly-vintage Y2K finery.  Another section of the Trading Post hosts girls adorned with  low-rise skintight flares, colorful hair, bold prints, and platform boots resembling a Gen-Z interpretation of Ziggy Stardust. Tattooed love birds sit and enjoy music next to a bohemian goddess dressed in flowing garb, accented with layers upon layers of crystal jewelry. It all works.  

Melrose shopper dons boho-chic look in an airy maxidress, functional microbag, and stacks of bangles.

It’s practically a rite of passage for local high school and college students to attend their first vintage market at Melrose Trading post, but they aren’t the only demographic represented. Men and women from older generations, true flea market lifers, are there too sporting their iconic looks that will cycle through the world of fashion within the next five or ten years.   

Age, style, and personality live in wide, sweeping ranges at Melrose Trading Post, and it is clearly still the place to be. It might be a little crazy and chaotic after all these years, but fans and visitors wouldn’t have it any other way.   

Timeless fashion lives at Melrose Trading Post with a shopper in a black loose fitting long sleeve shirt, and Gucci cross-body bag. 


Melrose Trading Post is open every Sunday from 9AM to 5PM at Fairfax High School
7850 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90036
Parking Entrance: Clinton Street & Fairfax Avenue

Related: Thirfting in Los Angeles: Doesn't Get Better Than This



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