woman shopping for pants on a clothing rack
Whatever Happened To American Apparel?
Once the "it" brand of the early to mid-2000s, American Apparel has been through many ups and downs that ultimately led them from success to relative obscurity.
American Apparel was founded in 1989 by Dov Charney. By 2007, it expanded to over 147 stores in 11 countries, but its mainstream success also came with controversy.
According to The Week, it all began in 2005 when Charney was accused of using "crude language and gestures" while on the job and was allegedly inappropriate with women.
In another instance in 2009, the company laid off 1,500 workers connected to an investigation that the brand employed undocumented immigrants in its Los Angeles factory.
This was all nothing compared to when Dov Charney was fired in 2014 after he was alleged to have engaged in inappropriate behavior with staff as well as missing funds.
Charney filed a defamation suit against the company in 2015 and the brand was taken over by new CEO Paula Schneider, who filed for bankruptcy to help get things back on track.
Despite Schneider’s best efforts, the company filed for bankruptcy for a second time in 2016. To save the company, Gildan Activewear Inc. bought it for $88 million.
Under new ownership, the brand began globally sourcing its clothing and moved e-commerce to Amazon in 2020. Despite their claims, customers noticed a decline in quality.
Dov Charney took his work elsewhere and started Los Angeles Apparel in 2016. He partnered with TSC Apparel for distribution, a once-distributor for American Apparel.
The company became successful in its own right. As for Charney, he filed for bankruptcy in 2022, and in 2023 he was tapped by Ye for the rapper’s brand, Yeezy.