Jennifer Lawrence is obviously the hottest actress today, just winning an Academy Award for Silver Linings Playbook, after becoming a household name by starring as Katniss Everdeen in super-popular movie, “The Hunger Games”. Ms. Lawrence has recently been on my mind because I had just published a blog entry on Prabal Gurung, one of the top American designers, who had just started designing some garments for Target (which sold out overnight). Prabal Gurung has made his name by designing some outstanding dresses for famous people (like Michelle Obama), at famous events like the Golden Globes Awards. And, of course, one of these famous people was Jennifer Lawrence.
In doing that article, I ran across a photo of Jennifer Lawrence wearing an exercise outfit. And I found out that this outfit is made by American Apparel.
- What is American Apparel?
For those of you who don’t know American Apparel. American Apparel is a clothing company based in Los Angeles. What makes American Apparel unique to any other store is two things: 1) it uses vertical integration, which we will talk about later and 2) all of their clothing and their accessories are 100% made in the United States. American Apparel has been around for over 15 years and employs over 6,000 people in the Los Angeles area and another 5,000 people worldwide. American Apparel make all of their own apparel and they have 251 stores throughout 20 countries. They have an American Apparel outlet in Paris, France. And while I was in Paris at the Finest Department Store in the world, The Galeries Lafayette, I was surprised to find American Apparel in a section on the third (or was it the fourth floor?) devoted to American made clothes, such as J. Brand, Seven For All Mankind and Hudson. In addition (as a fun fact), if you are a retailer, you can order American Apparel wholesale. So, if you want your T-shirts made in the USA, just give American Apparel a call.
Vertical integration is the process where one controls all the variables in producing your product. It has been seen with watchmakers, Jewelry stores and Perfume makers. Vertical integration is a rather new phenomenon starting in the 1990’s and 2000’s. American Apparel is one of those rare commodities that uses vertical integration: American Apparel controls the dyeing, the finishing, the designing and the cutting. Then they distribute it to their own stores with their own sales people or store it in one of their warehouses, by the way, American Apparel has just completed renovation on a new tech-savvy warehouse in La Mirage. American Apparel, also markets and advertises their own clothing, often using employees as models. Like companies such as Carl’s Jr. and Abercrombie, the advertising of American Apparel has caught some flak because it has offended some Victorian sensibilities. The founder and CEO, Dov Charney is unperturbed about the criticism.
The model for using vertical integration is Louis Vutton. Other well-know companies use vertical integration as well, but outsource more than Louis Vutton or American Apparel and they are: Guccia Group (Gucci, Yves St. Laurent, Bottega Venetta), Hermes, Christian Dior, Armani and Prada. The reason for using vertical integration is to decrease variables (less unwanted surprises) and to control: production; and/or quality; and/or distribution. Plus, vertical integration can create a savings in cost (by not going through a double mark-up – distributor and department store) or gains in efficiency. While vertical integration may be great, it is however, capital-intensive at the beginning.
Link to more photos of Jennifer Lawrence wearing American Apparel. (Link is to coolspotter.com)
A special thanks to Amy at American Made Guide to Life for the article: “Fast Fashion’s Challenge: Making Money with ‘Made in the USA’ – NPR, an article about American Apparel and a couple other companies.
Will Jennifer Lawrence and American Apparel Roads Cross Again?
If you had noticed the pictures on the above link, many of the pictures of Jennifer Lawrence wearing American Apparel were when she was younger, except for the outfit she wore while filming “Silver Linings Playbook”. So, now that she is the most popular actresses on the planet, will she be wearing Prabal Gurung or American Apparel in the future? My thoughts are probably not. Jennifer Lawrence has just contracted with Dior, and the dress that she tripped and fell over at the Academy Awards was, also, made by Dior. The size of the contract has not been disclosed but, for comparison, last year, Dior contracted Robert Pattison for $12 Million, so Ms. Lawrence contract should be two or three times that. Because of that, she probably will not be wearing any more American designers for a while. But, let us hope that she comes back, maybe she will wear “Made in USA” clothing in her every-day-life-clothes.
Visit an American Apparel Store by you
There are many stores in the United States, see their store locator to find one near you. American Apparel is geared for the younger set – teens to 30. Some of their shirts, pants and shorts are unisex, which sometimes is not great for men. But, it has tons of the basics. It is great place for underwear, and T-shirts. And there is always something new. Nothing really fancy, but then, not very expensive either. And remember, everything is “Made in the USA.”