Once a haven for teens wanting to kit out their wardrobe with the latest and greatest in basics, American Apparel has fallen through the cracks of the fashion industry in recent years.
Often criticised for the over-sexualisation and exploitative representation of young women in their advertisements, the brand found itself embroiled in controversy in the mid-2000s when founder Dov Charney was faced with multiple sexual harassment lawsuits. Finally, in 2014, Charney was terminated from his CEO position due to the financial and reputational impacts of his behaviour. Two years later, in late 2016, the brand filed for bankruptcy and closed up shop.
But as it turns out, all’s not lost for the iconic brand – in 2017, American Apparel was acquired by Gildan Activewear, who restructured and rebranded and are ready to start again.
Well aware of the brand’s murky history, the new executive team are looking to flip the switch in terms of their negative imaging and reputation. With a fully-female exec and a new marketing approach, the team are seeking to maintain the simplicity and popularity of the brand, sans the drama.
Their new tagline – “ethically made, sweatshop free” – emphasises their focus on the workers behind the brand. The relaunched website explains that their “factories provide a safe and stimulating workplace for over 48,000 people around the world”. Their employees are all paid “significantly more than the legally-mandated minimum industry wages” in their respective countries, and receive benefits relating to health care, free transport, subsidized meals and access to financial aid.
Sabina Weber, head of marketing, says that their new advertising push is focusing on inclusivity, portraying both females and males who are “sexy, but not sexualised”. The former male gaze of the ads is subverted, now presenting women who are empowered and carefree – more reflective of the brand’s newfound spirit and their target millennial market.
In addition to these other advancements, their clothing line is more size-inclusive, with apparel now available in sizes XXS-XXL.
The new site has been up and running in the US since late last year, but good news for us Aussies – as of April 23, international shipping is now available!
So get online, and get shopping – visit the site and stock up on AA’s iconic disco pants, bodysuits, and tennis skirts ASAP: http://global.americanapparel.com/en/