5 reasons American Apparel is on "path to Hell"

“Dov Charney is at the moment of truth,” said Howard Davidowitz, chairman of Davidowitz & Associates Inc., a national retail consulting and investment banking firm based in New York City. “And all roads for him lead to hell. He’s got to pick the best of the worst choices.”

From the Financial Post story American Apparel a hipster darling no more as bankruptcy looms

Dov Charney is the controversial CEO of American Apparel, the US’s largest remaining apparel manufacturer. Dov is reportedly very hands on when it comes to clothes and, reportedly his female workers. I write about AA in Where Am I Wearing? as an option for engaged consumers who are looking to support American-made products.

But recently the company’s stock has fallen lower than the necklines…

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American Apparel vs. Woody Allen’s Sex Life

American Apparel, the nation’s largest remaining clothing manufacturer, infamous for ads like this and this and this used Woody Allen’s photo on one of their billboards without his consent.

Allen is suing for $10 million.

American Apparel gave him the “Oh no you didn’t” finger wag and their lawyer Stuart Slotnick (what a great name for a lawyer, if I injured my back or was involved in a motorcycle accident, I’d call him!) countered with document requests and subpoenas digging into Allen’s personal life.

From a story in the Huffington Post:

American Apparel lawyer Stuart Slotnick said the company plans to make Allen’s relationships to actress Mia Farrow and her adopted daughter Soon-Yi Previn, whom Allen married, the focus of a trial scheduled to begin in federal…

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American Apparel, a different kind of brand and a pantless CEO

I mentioned AA in the previous post and I write about them briefly in the book. I stumbled upon an excerpt from Rob Walkers soon-to-be-released book Buying In that features a profile of the company. Here’s some excerpts from the excerpt:

…At a moment when practically every clothes maker was offshoring to cut costs, American Apparel made its wares at a U.S. factory in which the average industrial worker (usually a Latino immigrant) was paid between $12 and $13 an hour and got medical benefits. The company had taken out ads in little arty magazines, noting that it was “sweatshop free.”…

…Another self-consciously ethical clothing brand, the union-friendly SweatX, had just gone out of business. The lesson of SweatX, Charney said, was that building a brand solely…

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American Apparel Ad

American Apparel, operator of the largest garment factory in the USA, is known for its controversial, racy ads. Now they are venturing into the controversial world of politics. Their new ad takes immigration head on.

In the NY Times:

In a new series of ads, American Apparel is moving in a political direction. The cause is immigration reform, and the ads say in part that the status quo “amounts to an apartheid system” and should be overhauled to create a legal path for undocumented workers to gain citizenship in the United States.

I don’t feel educated enough to praise or criticize AA’s stance in the complex immigration debate. But I do think that if more clothing companies and/or brands would not try to distance themselves from…

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Reshoring the outdoor apparel industry: An interview with J. Brandon of Ascent Douglas

This interview is part of my Glocal Interview series.

President Obama, with his American Job Act, isn’t the only one focusing on job creation. Below J. Brandon of Ascent Douglas – a movement to bring outdoor apparel manufacturing into Douglas County Nevada – offers some interesting insights into how one community is trying to create jobs.

What’s in a job? For every $1 of sales related to manufacturing, there is a $1.40 return throughout the U.S. economy. This is opposed to overseas manufacturing in which for every $1 of sales there is a 58-cent output.


Where are you a local?

I live in Gardnerville, in Douglas County, Nevada. I’ve also lived in Silicon Valley, the Pacific Northwest, Las Vegas, and as a child, very briefly…

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Urban Outfitters selling blood-stained Kent State hoodies

In 1970 four Kent State students were shot to death and nine more were wounded as the National Guard turned their guns on protestors. Forty-four years later, Urban Outfitters is monetizing the tragedy by selling a blood-stained hoodie complete with bullet holes.

Of course Urban Outfitters says the red stains and holes were simply an accident. Sure, an accident that the company photographed and posted on its site for sale for $125.

You can read about the controversy on Mashable and BuzzFeed so I’m not going to recount everything that has been said, but I want to make two points.

All Publicity is Good Publicity . . . unless we act

Has H&M benefitted from the fact that their clothing labels were found in the…

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Where Am I Wearing Wednesday: PJ's

It’s neither one hour before bed nor one hour after, and I’m wearing pajamas. I realize that this is totally unacceptable.

Like drinking alcohol before noon, wearing pajamas after noon is a sign that you have a problem.

I have a problem.

Or do I? Maybe it’s these darn social norms, these social sensibilities regarding fashion, that are the problem. Why is it that I can’t be at my most comfortable all the time?

Wouldn’t the world be a better place if everyone just wore pajamas?

Think about it. Folks would be happier because they are more comfortable. Crime would go down because most pajamas don’t have pockets to conceal, say, a switchblade. I was going to say that we would all be more equal without expensive suits and…

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A question

Is it acceptable for an author to show up at a reading wearing the same shirt that they are wearing on their book jacket?

I did at my reading in Louisville, but the whole time I was wondering if anyone would notice. I hate to think that I can never wear the shirt again, but I also don’t want folks to think that it’s my only shirt.

The shirt in question was featured by American Apparel. Here it is…

At all my speaking events I try to wear clothes that I’ve bought since I’ve converted to engaged consumerism so I can refer to them as ways that I now shop. Tonight I’m doing a reading at Indiana University where I’ll be wearing a Patagonia shirt I got half off at…

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Fruit of Whose Loom? Where our T-shirts come from

The U.S. imported 1.7 billion T-shirts in 2007, and only produced 244 million. The majority of which were produced by American Apparel. That’s right, 90% of our T-shirts are imported.

This month I contributed to Conde Nast Portfolio magazine. Mainly I gathered data for them to include a map with a feature story they were doing on American Apparel’s founder Dov Charney.

Check out the interactive version of the map of U.S. T-shirt imports.

I also wrote a small bit of text that accompanies the map in the magazine, out now. Basically I wrote a 300 word version of: We used to make shirts. Now we don’t. Here’s why….

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