American Apparel in Tijuana

La Mezcalera: It's so close to Dandy Del Sur, you can see the reflection of Dandy's neon sign in the window.

Revolucion, the main tourist thoroughfare in Tijuana, was pretty dead as usual last night. Tourism, see, is one of the victims of the city’s recent crime, too. Some reports say visits have dropped 90 percent since 2005, and if the ghostly appearance of the once poppin’ party street can be taken as empirical evidence, I’d say 90 percent is right — maybe even a tad low.

Last night, friends and I were going downtown to check out La Mezcalera, a new bar and restaurant on Sixth between Revolucion and Madero. On the way, we passed by a storefront on the corner of Fifth and Revolucion covered in thick plastic with the words “American Apparel pronto llegamos” scrolled on every window.

Wow. American Apparel in Tijuana. Really? Who would have thought?

At the Mezcalera, I talked to one of the owners of the new, decidedly hip hot-spot, and he pointed around to his nice freshly painted walls and clean restroom and said, “I don’t own this bar, the neighborhood owns this bar. I know that, before too long, this place will be a little dirtier and darker, just like the rest of Revolucion.”

I wonder if he’s right, or I wonder if more people like him and the decision-makers at American Apparel will start to see the possibilities of Revolucion and downtown Tijuana.

Not long after the owner of the Mezcalera made the comment about his place getting dirty and darker, he said he did hope new businesses came in and turned Revolucion into more of an outdoor urban mall-like area with places where entire families in Tijuana could come to shop and enjoy their weekends. The old stores filled with tourist-targeted things just aren’t working anymore, the owner of Mezcalera said, and he wished they’d just accept it and open stores targeting Tijuanenses instead.

Maybe the drop in tourism isn’t such a bad thing after all, I ended up thinking by the end of the night. Maybe the hoards of Mexicans who wait for hours in line to shop at stores in the United States won’t have to do that anymore. Maybe forward-thinkers like the people at American Apparel will see the market potential of Tijuana and finally build Tijuanenses the downtown they deserve.

About Kinsee Morlan

Arts and web editor at San Diego CityBeat. Interested in art and the Tijuana/San Diego border.
This entry was posted in Art & culture, Border beauty, Border issues. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to American Apparel in Tijuana

  1. Haha, I think it’s great that American Apparel is opening a store in TJ. All those teenage hipsters and scene kids will eat those clothes up, for sure! I live in Zona Rio, so I won’t be too far away from it, either. How nice.

  2. Ashley H. says:

    Good point about focusing on the actually residents of tj for a change… I look foward to more positve things like this in the future.

  3. matthew says:

    i could give a shit about american apparel, but i have noticed this tremendous drop in people out there lately.

    in a way, i kind of enjoy that.

  4. Merrick says:

    Just like it’s rare to meet people in San Diego who grew up in San Diego, it’s getting to be rare to meet people in Tijuana who grew up in Tijuana.

    But if you do meet someone who grew up in Tijuana, and was over 18 in the 50s and 60s – ask them about Avenida Revolucion – it used to be something else and can still be. Bol Corona was a bowling alley, I think its a hard rock cafe now, but my parents used to go out on dates there. My dad talks about seeing Javier Batiz and Carlos Santana on Revolucion regularly. Before I was a teenager we still shopped on Revolucion, at woolworths, dorians, there was a polo store, quicksilver came along and then they all gave way to nightclubs and cheap artisan goods stores. By the time I was old enough to go out, it was frowned upon by long time Tijuana families to go out on La Revolucion.

    It can happen, but a few things will have to change. The nightlife focus will have to give way to family establishments – Sanbourns needs some company.

  5. d.a. kolodenko says:

    i am going to miss this blog.

  6. Raul Garcia says:

    I’ve lived in TJ on and off over the past three years. There are shops which, in part, share the similar ethic of A.A. but at a lesser price. The ones I’ve been to were run by DIY, Ex-crust punk kids with a taste for sewing organic fabrics that the local indigenous people produce. I’ve lived all over. My uncle recently bought another condo in the new towers by Plaza Rio, which I am dying to take over considering he lives in San Jose or Guadalajara due to his own business affairs. Culturally there will most likely be a boost in the Tijuanese economy and a decline in the amount spent in america. I support it, I’m all for it.
    🙂

  7. guikkermo valderrama says:

    is just what we need

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