13
Sep
11

Favorite U.S. Stores #1 – American Apparel

American Apparel | About Us | Learn More.

Update: American Apparel went through two bankruptcies and are no more as of 2016.

All clothing is made in Los Angeles. Clothes made for men and women and sometimes unisex.  Largest retail supplier of underwear made in the U.S.  Multiple stores across the U.S

Review of American Apparel

Review: I visited American Apparel at the Valley Fair Shopping Center in San Jose, CA on 08/31/2011. I found this as part of a directed search – I needed to find underwear made in America, as I had been unsuccessful in my quest for the previous nine months, plus a directed internet search: I googled ‘underwear made in usa’ and American Apparel was one of the hits. As I entered the store, a moderate sized space, easy to find on the first floor, I noticed that the women’s clothes were on the right side, and the men’s stuff on the left.  The store itself is geared towards slightly younger, teens and early twenties, the clothing material and style more like The Gap, as are there prices, so not “high end”. And it is true, everything, that’s right, everything is 100% All- American clothing, all made in Los Angeles, CA.

As I look closer at the men’s clothing, I am finding something a little odd. In the pant sizes, there are many with waist sizes of 30 inches, which once upon a time I used to wear, and they were terribly difficult to find. As I peruse closer, I see waist sizes of 25 and 26 inches. And this is not the junior section. Then the light bulb lit up. These pants are unisex. In fact they have a picture which is clipped on to the display hangers,  of a guy wearing the jeans, and then a few inches over, a picture of a girl wearing the same pants. And that goes for the dress shirts, and shorts. Regarding the shorts, they were quite short. Okay for young ladies, not so great for women over 25. And certainly not in fashion for today’s men, who tend to wear their shorts so long that they are actually capris. Not a big seller for men, I bet, unless you want to be featured on the TV show Reno 911 or doing a Halloween 1970’s retro costume.

What did I find in the store? I found a gold mine in the underwear department: boxers, briefs, boxer-briefs, and all sorts of colors, even some neon colored ones. The retail price was $18 per pair, but they were running a promotion which brought in down to $12.50/pair. I purchased six pairs of boxer briefs in assorted colors. I, also purchased a very nice and reasonably priced mustard colored polo shirt. Definitely worth a trip.

“I see that fashion wears out more apparel than men.” – William Shakespeare

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4 Responses to “Favorite U.S. Stores #1 – American Apparel”


  1. 1 Big Mike
    September 13, 2011 at 8:31 pm

    American Apparel is an interesting subject in light of their numerous negative press articles in recent years. From directly copying designer fashion, sexual harassment, sweat-shop work conditions using undocumented labor, and defeating union drives, they show what manufacturing must endure to be competitive in the United States.

    “As of 2008 the company employs over 10,000 people and operates over 200 retail locations in 18 countries.[a][b] The company pays its manufacturing employees an average of US$12 per hour.[14] According to the San Francisco Chronicle the average factory worker at the company makes $80–120 per day, or roughly $500 per week compared to the $30–40 made daily at most other Los Angeles-based garment factories.[c]”

    [a] “An Interview With American Apparel Founder Dov Charney”. Market Watch. September 9, 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-21.
    [b] “American Apparel to report Q4 2007 financial results”. Fibre 2 Fashion. 2008-03-17. Retrieved 2008-04-05.
    [c] Strasburg, Jenny (2004-07-04). “Made in the U.S.A”. San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2008-03-27.

    • September 14, 2011 at 5:06 am

      I guess there will always be some negative press when you become large. I believe they did have a small run of undocumented labor a couple of years ago, but not as bad as using a whole factory of undocumented workers like J. Crew. AA seems to pride itself in being sweatshop free. It is also supportive of green jobs and tolerant of the gay life style. I don’t know of any company that doesn’t try to battle off unions. Definitely a success story.

  2. 3 Big Mike
    September 15, 2011 at 7:15 pm

    No doubt that the press becomes a tool in a competitive environment. If I was AA, and after seeing the many negative reports about their practices (some likely started by their competition), I would have kicked my own PR machine into gear promoting my great employment practices and green policies. There’s no other way to do business.

    I still feel sympathetic to the independent designers that had their designs ripped-off verbatim by AA, but it’s difficult to prove these things without a deep war chest. For all I know, these so-called designers are a ruse for larger competitors.

    • September 16, 2011 at 6:42 am

      Dear Big Mike,
      I am unable to find the complaint that AA rips off others designs, maybe I hadn’t surf the internet long enough. I saw a case where AA did not do the proper advising of a supervisor who allegedly made a racial slur. The most criticisms I see are that the ads are too racy. In America, that will always get you negative press. If there is a lot of negative press, I guess I am not seeing it. Historically, you always had to be careful with negative press when a union is trying to take over. I would happy to look into the negative press more if you give me a little more direction. Thanks. -Jack A.


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