Archive for the 'American Apparel' Category


American Apparel – Back From the Dead

American Apparel

And you thought American Apparel was dead. Well, they are not completely dead.

American Apparel had been known for two things, racy ads and clothing all sourced and manufactured in the United States. AA had gone through two bankruptcies. The remains of the bankruptcy was  purchased by Gildan. Gildan,  not to be confused with the fictional nation of Gilder in “Princess Bride”, closed down all of the American Apparel stores. But, Gildan has revived the name and style by opening up the American Apparel website and, thereby, selling their apparel on-line.

The big problem with American Apparel is that it should no longer be called “American” Apparel. Most of their apparel is now IMPORTED. I guess American Apparel is as American as brands like “American Eagle”, “U.S. Polo”, etc.

White Bodysuit

American Apparel still has the same style – very casual and is directed towards teens and 20-somethings. Their racy ads are still there, but not quite as racy as previously.

But American Apparel has not completely dropped their American line, they have their “Made in USA Line” which shows maybe 8 different styles as of this writing.

3/4 sleeve shirt


Are Amazon and Forever 21 Competing to Buy American Apparel? – Racked

Source: Are Amazon and Forever 21 Competing to Buy American Apparel? – Racked

Are Amazon and Forever 21 Competing to Buy American Apparel?

The bankrupt basics brand reportedly has a number of suitors.


At American Apparel, new CEO aims to bring order, culture shift – LA Times

At American Apparel, new CEO aims to bring order, culture shift – LA Times.

At American Apparel, New CEO Aims to Bring Order, Culture Shift

The alterations underway at American Apparel Inc. are evident in its advertising. Gone are the half-naked young women splayed on billboards and print ads. These days, the models tend to be fully dressed in the company’s hip basics.

The salacious images were part of the freewheeling style of founder Dov Charney. His tenure was also marked by loose corporate operations, financial losses and sexual harassment allegations that sparked a board revolt and Charney’s ouster last year.

American Apparel ads will still have an edge — some incorporating social issues such as gay rights, bullying or women’s equality — but they won’t be “sexual for sexual’s sake,” new Chief Executive Paula Schneider said in an interview with The Times.

Schneider, a longtime clothing executive who took over in January, hopes to transform more than the advertising at the Los Angeles clothing firm, which employs nearly 10,000 people and operates almost 250 stores. In nearly five years, American Apparel has lost $310 million. Its debt totals more than $200 million.

Beyond toning down the oversexed image, Schneider aims to install a more grown-up structure and culture to replace Charney’s eccentric micromanagement. Schneider is focused on the boring-but-important details of hiring — and empowering — experienced managers and drawing up evaluation protocols and organizational charts.

Schneider, 56, has spent decades at clothing retailers and manufacturers. She has held senior executive positions at retailers such as BCBG Max Azria and Laundry by Shelli Segal. At BCBG Max Azria, she helped steer the company to profitability, and at Warnaco Group, she aided in a corporate restructuring.

Since arriving at American Apparel in January, Schneider has sought to order the corporate chaos without sacrificing the brand’s soul.

“It’s getting everybody in their lane and understanding we have a common goal,” she said. “There is tremendous energy here; there is tremendous love for the brand; there are tremendous ideas. It’s just a matter of saying: What do we do with them? How do we harness it? What do we do to move it down the road?”

Schneider’s management style is sharply different from Charney’s, who often inserted himself into the smallest details. Charney handpicked models for ads, selected fabrics and even cleaned retail stockrooms.

No Longer will we see this on billboards from American Apparel

Billboards like this from American Apparel will be a thing of the past.

American Apparel’s new chairwoman, Colleen Brown, said Schneider was tapped in part for her ability to instill organization.

Under Charney, the company didn’t have many of the formal controls common at public companies, she said. There was no standard method for performance reviews, for example, and department heads had no regular meetings.

“The really easy things are hard at American Apparel,” Brown said. “Just basic systems and processes that allow you to make decisions easily.”

Schneider has a track record of boosting ailing companies, Brown said.

“She has driven several turnarounds in her career, and that was an important thing to consider when we were looking for a CEO,” she said. “The company has not made money for a while, so we needed someone who could get a strategic plan and put it into place.”

Schneider still has until April 5 before she is required to present her operational plan to the board, according to a security filing that detailed her contract. Barely two months into the job, Schneider has already started making changes.

One example: She has bulked up the planning department, which orders raw materials to keep the factories humming. With better forecasting, the company can save money by buying more yarn overseas or can ship supplies and products by ground instead of air, Schneider said.

Last month, the company fired its two longtime creative directors, Iris Alonzo and Marsha Brady, both Charney allies. Schneider said the firings weren’t a result of poor performance but merely a shift in creative direction.

“We have a lot of really talented people, but young,” Schneider said, adding that some lack the formal training and education typically found at a major manufacturer.

She has already made product changes too.

Fewer styles will be offered in the fall season, Schneider said. Instead the company will concentrate on offering styles in more color variations, a move to avoid a problem that analysts say plagued American Apparel: offering too many products, many that didn’t sell well.

E-commerce will also get a close look. Among the new hires is American Apparel’s first chief digital officer, who will be in charge of improving the online shopping experience and boosting digital sales, Schneider said.

The company currently gets only 15% of its sales from e-commerce. By comparison, teen retailer Abercrombie & Fitch’s online side accounted for 20.2% of net sales in the first three quarters of its 2014 fiscal year.

“When we look at it compared to our peers, there is a lot more room to grow,” Schneider said.

Each department was also tasked with coming up with its own budget for the year, in sharp contrast to the “top down” approach of the past, she said.

Schneider said she has no choice but to push decision-making power down through the ranks.

“When you have a founder that knows everything about the business … you come in and you are not that person,” she said. “You have to have some people in each area that are going to be the leaders in order to function.”

Ilse Metchek, president of the California Fashion Assn., said Schneider may struggle to win over employees and institute a more traditional corporate culture.

“Everyone there was hired by Dov — and everyone is still probably loyal to Dov,” she said.

One core feature of American Apparel — its made-in-USA model — will remain firmly in place.

Walking through the factory filled with the steady hum of sewing machines, Schneider marveled at the scale of the operations, in an 800,000-square-foot salmon-colored building in downtown Los Angeles.

Echoing Charney, Schneider bragged about the company’s ability to quickly whip up new garments and get them to its shops.

The company can get a new product into stores on a Thursday and know if it’s a strong seller by Monday, she said. Then the local factory can immediately respond.

“We can make that same version, we can make it in colors, we can make it longer, shorter, long sleeved, short sleeved, and we can put it into our stores in a week,” she said.

Schneider compared American Apparel’s main factory, which employs more than 3,000 cutters, sewers and other workers, to “a city.”

The facility also includes an on-site medical clinic and masseuses that offer free massages. The operation is so vast that Schneider said she prefers to think of slices of the company individually.

“Otherwise,” she quipped, “I’d be up all night.”

Twitter: @ByShanLi


Dov Charney ousted as CEO of American Apparel

Salon magazine reported that controversial founder and CEO of American Apparel, Dov Charney, was ousted as CEO by the Board of Directors due to sexual misconduct. Mr Charney has withstood previous sexual harassment charges over the past decade, however, new information has moved the Board to act, and on Wednesday, June 18, 2014, made it official that Dov Charney was no longer to be the CEO of American Apparel. American Apparel is a company which makes all of their clothing in Los Angeles with numerous stores across the United States and in several other countries. their claim to fame is all of their clothing is Made in the United States and their secondary claim to fame is their controversial internet advertising which often included topless women and occasional bare derrieres. Dov Charney was definitely a capitalist, really didn’t believe in Made in America, and was hardly an icon that people could follow. So, we shall see what will happen with a Dov Charney-less American Apparel. We do hope they survive, as they do supply many types of clothing made in the United States that no one makes any more.

Dov Charney

Dov Charney


Jennifer Lawrence Wears American Apparel

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.

Jennifer Lawrence wears Prabal Gurung at Golden Globes Award

Jennifer Lawrence wears Prabal Gurung at Hunger Games Premiere

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.

Jennifer Lawrence wears American Apparel

Jennifer Lawrence wears 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

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

Special Thanks

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.”


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

May 2018
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