american apparel is about to make a comeback, minus the scandal
As the newly owned basics giant reveals plans to re-energise the label, its original founder Dov Charney has come out with his new line of apparel.
In its 2000s heyday, American Apparel was everywhere. From those shiny, high rise leggings to its NSFW campaigns on the back cover of every magazine, the company came to represent a generation who demanded transparency into how and where their clothes were made. Its model was so successful that at its height, American Apparel boasted over $600 million in sales and more than 200 stores around the world. Then, after sixteen years, with sales declining following a spate of allegations of gross misconduct by founder Dov Charney, the company was sold to Canadian manufacturer Gildan Activewear Inc. for the relatively modest sum of $88 million.
Now, Gildan have announced plans to reenergize the label and relaunch the American Apparel website before the year is up. While the company already sells blank American Apparel basics to wholesalers, they're looking into reigniting online sales alongside identifying retail opportunities. In a recent interview with Business of Fashion, Gildan's chief executive Glenn Chamandy said it will "hopefully be one of the best acquisitions the company has ever made, in terms of return on investment." Impressively, the acquisition of American Apparel could boost the company's sales between $50 million to $75 million this year alone.
Meanwhile, disgraced founder Dov Charney has launched his own company. It's called Los Angeles Apparel — sound familiar? — and it functions as a wholesale business. While Los Angeles Apparel is currently a much more boutique operation than American Apparel, they do promise customers that they'll quickly make any product produced in the past by American Apparel. Seems like a taunt to us!
In his BoF interview, Chamandy doesn't seem too concerned about the competition from Dov, stating "Good luck to him. But at the end of the day we're well positioned. We have a significant investment and capital able to support our brand."
Text Briony Wright
Photography via American Apparel's Press Archive