n a chic clothing store in Los Angeles, a handful of women quietly browse racks of flowy summer dresses, brightly colored shorts, fringed caftans, and shoes ranging from five-inch stilettos to strappy jelly sandals. Rihanna is singing about diamonds through the speakers while expertly dressed sales associates wrap purchases in tissue paper and hand-stamped shopping bags.
While this could be a scene from any of the city’s trendiest shopping streets — Melrose Avenue, Rodeo Drive, Robertson Boulevard — it is happening near Skid Row, a homeless enclave in downtown LA. The store, MADE by DWC Resale Boutique, is in fact a secondhand shop that serves homeless and low-income women in the area. It is an extension of the Downtown Women’s Center, a nonprofit that provides permanent housing and supportive services to women in Skid Row.