Exotical Hawaiian Apparel has been operating for an amazing 41 years in Downey (just south of Los Angeles). I have been meaning to get to Exotical for some time now, but frankly — if I’m going to spend that much time heading south on the freeway, it’s hard to not just keep driving and go to Disneyland. But the idea of it — an entire store not just dedicated to aloha wear, but a store that actually has vintage aloha stock they just haven’t sold yet — has been an extraordinary siren call to me.
Exotical has always been exactly where it is today, on Firestone Blvd., but at its peak it occupied the two neighboring storefronts as well. They once has a bustling import trade, keeping the likes of Eli Hedley and Oceanic Arts in bamboo, and selling housewares and furniture for the tikified Southern California set. It must have been amazing, and it’s survival to today is one of the mind-bendingly wonderful things about Los Angeles.
The Sperm Whale has posted a photo-heavy trip report on his visit to Exotical, which has reignited my fire for Exotical… I hope I can make a visit before Hukilau.