American Apparel


American Apparel

Infobox_Company
company_name = American Apparel, Inc.
company_
company_type = Public (amex|APP)
foundation = Los Angeles, California
location = Los Angeles, California
key_people = Dov Charney, President and CEO
Marty Bailey, President of Manufacturing
William T. Gochnauer, Interim CFO
Nicolle Gabbay, Head of Retail Operations
Patricia Honda, Customer Service Manager [cite web|publisher=American Apparel|url=http://americanapparel.net/presscenter/pressCompanyInfo.html|title=Company Information|accessdate=2008-03-18]
industry = Garments manufacturer
products = Clothing
revenue = US$387 million (net sales, 2007) [cite news|publisher=Business Wire (American Apparel press release)|title=American Apparel Reports Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2007 Financial Results|date=March 17|accessdate=2008-03-18|url=http://biz.yahoo.com/bw/080317/20080317006439.html?.v=1]
num_employees = 10,000 (2008) [ [http://www.publicradio.org/columns/kpcc/kpccnewsinbrief/2008/09/la-mayor-villaraigosa-praises.html LA Mayor Villaraigosa praises LA-based clothing manufacturer American Apparel] PublicRadio.org 9/2008]
homepage = [http://www.americanapparel.net/ www.americanapparel.net]

American Apparel (amex|APP) is the largest clothing manufacturer in the United States. [cite video
people = Dov Charney
title = American Apparel - Don Charney Interview
medium = [http://youtube.com/watch?v=hYqR8UIl8A4 YouTube]
publisher = CBS News
year2 = 2007
@3:50
] It is a vertically-integrated clothing manufacturer, wholesaler, and retailer that also performs its own design, advertising, and marketing. It is best-known for making basic cotton knitwear such as t-shirts and underwear, but in recent years has expanded to include tank tops, vintage clothing, dresses, pants, denim and accessories for men, women, children, babies and dogs. The company is known for a number of progressive policies including promoting immigrant rights and labor policies the company dubs "sweatshop free."New York Post - [http://www.americanapparel.net/presscenter/articles/20040324newyorkpost.html T-Shirts, As Far As the Eye Can See - Maxine Shen - March 24, 2004] ]

Company formation and growth

freeway in Los Angeles. Months later the two became partners. [Apparel News -Angeleno Style - Alison A. Niedler - August 2000] In 2000 American Apparel moved into its current factory in downtown Los Angeles. The company also operates a dye house and knitting facility located in Los Angeles.cite web |url=http://www.americanapparel.net/gallery/modernmarvels/qt.html |publisher=The History Channel via AmericanApparel.net |title=Segment of Modern Marvels: Cotton |accessdate=2007-11-25]

After its success as a wholesale brand, the company moved into the retail market. The company was ranked 308th in Inc. Magazine's 2005 list of the 500 fastest growing companies in the United States, with a 440% three-year growth and revenues in 2005 of over US$ 211 million. [cite web |url=http://www.inc.com/app/inc500/viewCompany.jsp?cmpId=2006308
title=Inc. No. 308:American Apparel
publisher=inc.com
date=2006-08-01
accessdate=2007-11-25
]

In late 2006 American Apparel announced a reverse merger, in which Endeavor Acquisition Corp., a special purpose acquisition company founded in July 2005, bought the company for $360 million. [cite web |url=http://www.americanapparel.net/presscenter/articles/20070104economist.html
title=American Apparel's unusual flotation is typical of Dov Charney, its founder
publisher=The Economist via AmericanApparel.net
date=2007-01-04
accessdate=2007-11-25
] [cite news
publisher=New York Times
accessdate=2008-03-12
title=Provocative Retail Chain Is Acquired
author=Andrew Ross Sorkin and Michael Barbaro
date=2006-12-19
url=http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/19/business/19deal.html
] The merger closed in December 2007, at which point American Apparel became a publicly traded company. [ American Stock Exchange Announces Closing of Endeavor Acquisition and American Apparel Merger [http://www.amex.com/atamex/news/press/sn_APP_122407.htm] ] As a result, Charney became the President and Chief Executive Officer of the publicly traded company known as American Apparel, Inc. He remained the majority shareholder, and all employees of American Apparel were given 500 shares of stock in the new company.Endeavour Acquisitions Corp. [http://google.brand.edgar-online.com/EFX_dll/EDGARpro.dll?FetchFilingHTML1?SessionID=5nd4WdQuc6_MIAT&ID=5237183 SEC Proxy Statement Schedule 14A, June 5, 2007] ] [cite news
last = Kang
first = Stephanie
title = American Apparel Seeks Growth Through An Unusual Deal
publisher = The Wall Street Journal
date =2006-12-19
url = http://online.wsj.com/article/SB116648211605153768.html?mod=mm_media_marketing_hs_left
accessdate = 2008-03-21
]

It is also one of the few companies exporting 'Made in the USA' goods and in 2007 sold about $125 million dollars of domestically manufactured clothing outside of America.

Production

Whereas most other companies selling clothing in the United States base production elsewhere, American Apparel bases its manufacturing in an 800,000 square foot factory in downtown Los Angeles, California. The company also owns and operates its own fabric dye house, garment dye house, and knitting facility, all based in Los Angeles. [ [http://investors.americanapparel.net/releasedetail.cfm?ReleaseID=310147 Press Release: American Apparel Purchases Assets from U.S. Dyeing & Finishing, Inc.] accessed 6/22/08] [True colors: some dyeing operations thrive, others fail - "Los Angeles Business Journal" - October 10, 2005 [http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m5072/is_41_27/ai_n15760082] ] American Apparel has decided not to outsource its labor, paying factory workers over an average of $12 dollars an hour. Garment workers for similar American companies in China, earn approximately 40 cents per hour. [cite web
url=http://www.manufacturingnews.com/news/06/0502/art1.html
title=Good Luck Competing Against Chinese Labor Costs Mfg. Job Growth In China Is Headed Up, Not Down; 109 Million Mfg. Workers In China Dwarfs Number In U.S.
publisher=Manufacturing and Technology News
date=2006-05-02
accessdate=2008-04-28
] It claims to have the 'highest earning apparel workers in the world'. [ [http://www.publicradio.org/columns/kpcc/kpccnewsinbrief/2008/09/mayor-villaraigosa-visits-amer.html Mayor Villaraigosa visits American Apparel as company announces employment milestones] PublicRadio.org KPCC 9/2008]

The company uses "team manufacturing" which pools the strongest workers towards priority orders.cite news
last = Falsh
first = Derek
title = Keep Your Fashion in Great Shape
publisher = The Pitt News
date =2007-02-01
url = http://media.www.pittnews.com/media/storage/paper879/news/2007/02/01/AE/Keep-Your.Fashion.In.Great.Shape-2689351.shtml
accessdate = 2008-04-28
"His team manufacturing..."] Each team functions autonomously and determines its own daily production schedule, giving them control over their own hourly wages. [ [http://www.bencorman.com/archives/american_apparel.phtml American Apparel] BenCorman.com June 2008. "More important than the pay is the functional organization. Instead of having an assembly line system where people are disconnected from each other, people are organized into groups and the group decides how many articles of clothing they're going to make that hour. Since everyone is paid a base of $8 an hour and then a bonus for hitting certain production goals, the group decides how hard to work and how much to make in a day.] After its implementation, garment production tripled and required a less than 20% staff increases. The factory claims to have the capacity to produce 1 million shirts per week [ [http://sec.edgar-online.com/2008/01/16/0000890163-08-000020/Section7.asp AMERICAN APPAREL, INC - APP Current report filing (8-K)] "Capacity to produce over 1 million T-shirts per week with significant potential to expand."] and manufacture 275,000 pieces a daycite news
last =
first =
title = An Interview With American Apparel Founder Dov Charney
publisher = Market Watch
date =September 9, 2008
url =http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/mayor-villaraigosa-congratulates-american-apparel/story.aspx?guid={E43C0BFC-DE49-441B-BE02-CF525E640935}&dist=hppr
accessdate = 2008-09-21
] . [cite video
people = Dov Charney
title = American Apparel - Don Charney Interview
medium = [http://youtube.com/watch?v=hYqR8UIl8A4 YouTube]
publisher = CBS News
year2 = 2007
@3:28
] According to the New York Times it is the largest single garment factory in the United States and employs over 4,000 people across two buildings. [ [http://www.angelenic.com/751/inside-american-apparel-4000-downtown-employees-and-counting/ inside american apparel: 4,000 downtown employees and counting] Angelenic.com June 2008]

A banner on top of the downtown factory states "American Apparel is an Industrial Revolution." [ [http://www.flickr.com/photos/bencorman/2595990034/in/set-72157605717238540/ Flickr] "American Apparel is an Industrial Revolution". June 19th, 2008]

Vertical integration

American Apparel is a vertically-integrated company.cite news
last = Greenberg
first = David
title = Sew what? American Apparel founder Dov Charney wants to de-emphasize the fact he doesn't use sweatshop labor; he's just trying to sell a better T-shirt - People
publisher = Los Angeles Business Journal
date =2004-05-31
url = http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m5072/is_22_26/ai_118184828
accessdate = 2008-03-26
] The integration extends to 185 retail storefronts, all of which are owned by the company. [cite video
people = Dov Charney
title = Charlie Rose
medium = [http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-8906053411802681740 YouTube]
publisher = PBS
year2 = 2006
] By integrating all aspects of production and avoiding outsourcing, the company achieves a fast turn-around time from design concept to finished product. On "Charlie Rose", founder Dov Charney discussed the process of developing new merchandise in their unique retail system, saying that it took just a "couple of weeks" for a bathing suit to go from idea to the retail floor. He claimed that a garment could be designed on Monday and be sold in London the following week. [cite video
people = Dov Charney
title = Charlie Rose
medium = [http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-8906053411802681740 YouTube]
publisher = PBS
year2 = 2006
32:40
] [cite news
last = Joellen
first = Perry
title = Made in American: Some Consumers- and firms - prefer homemade goods
publisher = US News and World Report
date =2004-05-17
url =
accessdate = 2008-03-26
"I can cut on Monday, sew Tuesday through Thursday, and ship on Friday."
]

Retail

The company's expansion into retail was the fastest retail roll out in American history. [cite video
people = Dov Charney
title = American Apparel - Don Charney Interview
medium = [http://youtube.com/watch?v=hYqR8UIl8A4 YouTube]
publisher = CBS News
year2 = 2007
"fastest retail roll out in American history"
] In 2003 American Apparel opened company stores in Los Angeles, Montreal, and New York to nearly $80 million dollars in sales [DNR - All the Way to the Blank - Lee Bailey - March 22, 2004] As of 2008 the company has more than 200 stores worldwide and continues rapid retail growth, with new stores in the United States, Israel, Japan, Korea, Netherlands, Switzerland, China, Germany, Canada, France, Sweden, Mexico, United Kingdom and Brazil. Stores are planned or under development for Australia, Belgium, Italy, Iceland, Spain, , China, and Hawaii.cite news
last = Wu
first = Nina
title = American Apparel opening store in Waikiki
publisher = Star Bulletin
date =
url = http://starbulletin.com/2008/01/05/business/story04.html
accessdate = 2008-04-01
]

American Apparel retail stores are marketed and designed individually rather than homogeneously.cite news
last = Hirschfeld
first = Bob
title = American Apparel Rides Marketing, Site-Selection to Success
publisher = Retail Traffic Mag
date =2006-12-19
url = http://retailtrafficmag.com/mag/retail_american_dream/
accessdate =
] Store designs are sparse and typically cost between $100,000 and $400,000 to develop. The company tends to reject midtown, high rent locations and generally avoids in-mall stores. The stores are often hubs for urban renewal since the company looks for low-rent but high traffic locations like Houston, Little Tokyo, New Orleans, college towns and most recently across from the Apollo Theater on 125th in Harlem. [ [http://curbed.com/archives/2008/06/27/american_apparel_mapped.php American Apparel Mapped] Curbed LA] In some stores, the decor features "Penthouse Magazine" covers from 1970s and 1980s - a style that has been controversial. [ Walker book pg 224"] When scouting for locations, it considers urban areas that can be revitalized. After opening on Southwest Stark Street in Portland, Oregon American Apparel was joined by a vintage clothing store, sushi restaurant, shoe shop and modern-styled hotel. In some cases, the company sublets parts of retail locations to other businesses of the same demographic, bringing additional retailers to previously unoccupied space.cite news
last = Eskenazi
first = Stuart
title = Hot Retailer...
publisher = The Seattle Times
date =2005-10-22
url = www.portlandtenspeed.com/pdfs/The%20Seattle%20Times.pdf
accessdate = 2008-04-28
"In a few instances..."] The bulk of American Apparel retail venues are in New York City and California. [http://racked.com/archives/2008/06/27/_four_new_american_apparel.php Map of American Apparel stores in Manhattan] Racked.com]

AmericanApparelStore.com [ [http://americanapparelstore.com/] ] is the company's e-commerce sales hub. [ [http://www.americanapparelstore.com www.americanapparelstore.com] ] It carries an online inventory of roughly 250,000 SKUs and receives 1.5 million visitors per month.cite news
last =
first =
title = AmericanApparel.net dresses for more success
publisher = Internet Retailer
date =2008-05-14
url = http://www.internetretailer.com/dailyNews.asp?id=26392
accessdate = 2008-05-28
] Online sales grew from $13.3 million in 2006 to $29.3 million in 2007. The company site runs on the Yahoo Stores platform and is included in the Internet Retailer 500 Index. [ [http://www.internetretailer.com/top500/] Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide] 2008.]

In late 2007, American Apparel opened a retail location for vintage clothing called California Select in Echo Park, a district of Los Angeles [cite web|publisher=Fabsugarl|url=http://fabsugar.com/837918|title=On Our Radar: American Apparel Does Vintage|accessdate=2008-03-28] Shortly afterward, the company began selling vintage clothing through an Ebay store of the same name. [http://stores.ebay.com/California-Select] [ [http://fashionindie.com/american-apparel-launces-california-select/ American Apparel Launches California Select] Fashionindie.com May 30th, 2008] In 2008, the company was named "Retailer of the Year", following Calvin Klein and Oscar de la Renta. [cite news
last =
first =
title = Dov Charney of American Apparel Named Retailer of the Year
publisher = PR News Wire
date =2008-05-12
url = http://www.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/stories.pl?ACCT=104&STORY=/www/story/05-12-2008/0004811796&EDATE=
accessdate = 2008-05-15
] [ [http://fashionista.com/2008/05/dov_charney_was_just_named.php Fashionista: Dov Charney, Winner] "Dov Charney was just named Retailer of the Year for his work as the Creative Director and entrepreneur behind American Apparel. The award's previously gone to Calvin Klein and Oscar de la Renta.]

Wholesale

American Apparel shirts are used as band merchandise and concert t-shirts for the bands Wilco, Death Cab for Cutie and Flogging Molly. [cite news
last = Danton
first = Eric
title =A Quiet Company Makes Big Bang on T-Shirt Market
publisher = CTnow
date =April 29, 2005
url =
accessdate = 2008-04-28
] All shirts sold on Shirt.Woot are printed on American Apparel tees. [ [http://shirt.woot.com/WhatIsWoot.aspx What is Shirt Woot] "Woot Tees are 100% cotton blank shirts made by American Apparel in Los Angeles, California."] People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, the animal rights advocacy group, prints its merchandise on American Apparel clothes because they are made domestically and animal-free. [ [http://goinggreen-forlife.blogspot.com/2008/06/wanna-know-what-peta-said.html Wanna Know What PETA Said?] Going Green For Life Blog. June 2008]

Branding and advertising

American Apparel designs, creates and prints its own advertisements. [cite news
last = Palmeri
first = Christopher
title = Living on the Edge at American Apparel
publisher = Businessweek
date = 2005-06-27
url = http://businessweek.com/magazine/content/05_26/b3939108_mz017.htm
accessdate = 2008-03-22
"Charney takes many of the photos himself, often using company employees as models as well as people he finds on the street."
] [ [http://www.bencorman.com/archives/american_apparel.phtml American Apparel] BenCorman.com June 2008. See Photograph "All advertisements are done in house as well."] The company is known for its provocative and controversial advertising campaigns, which is largely the inspiration of the company CEO Dov Charney. According to Adage, American Apparel's advertising 'telegraphs the brand' from person to person [cite news
last = Spector
first = Matt
title = 'Gossip Girl' and Others Branding Sex in Ads
publisher = ABC News
date =2008-07-18
url = http://abcnews.go.com/Business/Story?id=5465733&page=2
accessdate = 2008-07-25
Advertising Age magazine editor-at large Matthew Creamer said Charney's team develops consistent ads that "telegraph the brand."
] For a time, Charney promoted a branding strategy that spotlighted his treatment of workers as a selling point for the company's merchandise, promoting American Apparel's goods as "sweatshop free." In 2008, the company took out a series of political ads featuring the corporate logo that called current immigration laws an "apartheid system."cite news
last = Story
first = Louise
title = Politics Wrapped in a Clothing Ad
publisher = ABC New
date =2008-01-18
url = http://www.americanapparel.net/presscenter/articles/20080118nytimes.html
accessdate = 2008-03-25
] In regards to the company's image overseas, advisor Harry Parnass stated that the brand is about aspiration and that they are "selling the American dream." [CNBC's Made in China [http://www.cnbc.com/id/15840232?video=800701346&play=1 American Apparel in China] Jul. 21 2008] He dismissed competitors who do the same but refuse to manufacture in America. [ [http://www.americanapparel.net/presscenter/dailyupdate/dailyUp.asp?d=0&t=1165American Dream] AmericanApparel.net Daily Update "Without compromise, we sell that idea and Parnass calls out companies that sell the American lifestyle but still don't manufacture at home."] The company's advertising is also known for its sexuality. Many of the models are recruited by Charney and his colleagues on the street, or company stores; others are selected after sending their photos directly to the company website.cite web |url=http://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/23/magazine/23apparel.html
title=And You Thought Abercrombie & Fitch Was Pushing It?
publisher=New York Times Magazine
author=Jamie Wolf
date=2006-04-23
accessdate=2007-11-25
]

In 2005 the company was named "Marketer of the Year" at the first-ever LA Fashion Awards. [Grace Cerrone - lasplash.com - LA Fashion Awards - 2005 [http://www.lasplash.com/publish/cat_index_Style_and_Fashion/LA_Fashion_Awards_2005.php] ] "Women's Wear Daily" published a survey in April 2007 from Outlaw Consulting, a creative research firm tracking the habits of 21-to 27-year olds, which ranked American Apparel as the 8th most trusted brand, ahead of such clothing brands as H&M and Levi's. [cite web |url= http://publications.mediapost.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=Articles.san&s=59027&Nid=29596&p=281205 |title=Reign Of The Plain: Survey Finds Gen Ys Prefer Brand Simple |publisher=MediaPost |author=Kevin Ransom |date=2007-04-20] In January 2008 the Intelligence Group, a trend and market research firm, listed American Apparel as their number two Top Trendsetting Brand, behind only Nike. [cite web
url=http://www.intelg.com/CassandraReport_sample.pdf
title=Cassandra Report
publisher=Intelligence Group
date=2008-01
] .

American Apparel also briefly experimented with advertising in Second Life, paying to design a virtual store on the private island named Lerappa but later shuttered the operation ("Apparel" spelled backwards) in Second Life. cite web |url=http://secondlife.com/newsletter/2006_06/html/developer.html |title=American Apparel Breaks New Ground |accessdate=2008-04-28 |author= |date= |work= |publisher=Linden Research, Inc] American Apparel closed its virtual shop in the fourth quarter of 2007.cite web |url=http://www.americanapparel.net/presscenter/secondlife/ |title=Sorry, We're Closed. |accessdate=2008-04-28 |author= |date=2007-02-27 |work= |publisher=American Apparel Inc]

In March 2008, Woody Allen sued American Apparel for $10 million alleging the company used a still from the movie "Annie Hall" in an advertisement without his consent.cite news
last = Harmon
first = Andrew
title = American Apparel Defends Woody Allen Billboard
publisher = DNR
date =2008-04-02
url = http://www.dnrnews.com/site/article.php?id=1649
accessdate = 2008-04-21
] American Apparel claimed that the two billboards, one in New York and one in Los Angeles for a week in May 2007, were meant "strictly as social parody."

Airbrushing

The sexually charged advertising has been criticized, but has also been lauded for honesty and lack of airbrushing. [cite news
last = Stossel
first = John
title = Sexy Sweats Without the Sweatshop
publisher = ABC News
date =2005-12-02
url = http://abcnews.go.com/2020/Business/story?id=1362781
accessdate = 2008-03-21
] [cite news
last = Morford
first = Mark
title = Porn Stars in My Underwear
publisher = San Francisco Chronicle
date = 2005-06-24
url = http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/gate/archive/2005/06/24/notes062405.DTL
accessdate = 2008-03-21
] American Apparel images often display subjects with their blemishes, imperfections and asymmetrical features highlighted and attached with brief, personal descriptions. According to company policy all ads inside American Apparel stores - excluding art exhibits - are untouched. [cite news
last = Goodwin
first = Susan
title = An American Dilemma
publisher = Oregon Daily Emerald
date =2006-01-18
url = http://media.www.dailyemerald.com/media/storage/paper859/news/2006/01/18/Trends/An.American.Dilemma-1965414.shtml?norewrite200608252017&sourcedomain=www.dailyemerald.com
accessdate = 2008-04-23
]

Legalize LA

In addition to participating variety of immigration protests, the company launched an advertising and advocacy campaign called "Legalize LA" [The May Day Marches - Claire Hoffman - The Los Angeles Times - 2006-05-02 "The iconoclastic chief executive of American Apparel Inc. not only gave 3,300 of his employees the day off, but he also supplied them with T-shirts emblazoned with a pro-immigration message," "By noon, Charney had left the factory and joined his workers and their families, who had arranged to march together on Broadway," "American Apparel, with about 130 stores around the world, has a history of supporting May Day marches: In past years, employees were given half the day off and bused to protests.] The campaign featured advertisements in national papers like "The New York Times" as well billboards, t-shirts, bus ads and posters. The company also maintains a Legalize LA portion of their website that features news articles relating to immigration reform, the brand and information on the history of the issue. [ [http://americanapparel.net/contact/legalizela/ Legalize LA subpage] ]

Corporate culture and employment

The production system of American Apparel centralizes most of its employees in a single location. By not outsourcing, Charney believes that he knows his workers better and that it ties them directly to the brand. [cite web
last = Carmichael
first = Evan
title = Dov Charney Quotes
publisher = EvanCarmichael.com
date =
url = http://www.evancarmichael.com/Famous-Entrepreneurs/1699/Dov-Charney-Quotes.html
accessdate = 2008-03-28
"You know the face of your worker... engineers and designers and finance people and knitters and dyers and chemists can come together in one location and say, ‘How can we do this better?’ You can produce products more efficiently than they can be made on an outsource basis."
] A banner on top of the downtown factory states "American Apparel is an Industrial Revolution." [cite video
people = Dov Charney
title = American Apparel - Don Charney Interview
medium = [http://youtube.com/watch?v=hYqR8UIl8A4 YouTube]
publisher = CBS News
year2 = 2007
@8:13
]

Charney has stated that American Apparel hires its creatives by their sense of culture and fashion, not their resume. [cite video
people = Dov Charney
title = Charlie Rose
medium = [http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-8906053411802681740 YouTube]
publisher = PBS
year2 = 2006
32:00
] Conversely, the company has also been accused of focusing on personal style and outward appearance in its hiring practices for retail positions.cite journal
author=Jamie Huff
title=Sweatshop Free but Still Exploitative:Sexual Harassment at American Apparel|url=http://www.cofc.edu/chrestomathy/vol5/huff.pdf
format=pdf
journal=Chrestomathy: Annual Review of Undergraduate Research, School of Humanities andSocial Sciences, School of Languages, Cultures, and World Affairs, College of Charleston
volume=5
pages=153–67
year=2006
] American Apparel has been subject to five sexual harassment lawsuits, three were dismissed or settled. [cite news
last = Hall
first = Caral
title =Lawsuit has fashion mogul in spotlight
publisher = Los Angeles Times
date =2008-01-17
url = http://server.finklawfirm.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=blogsection&id=6&Itemid=57
accessdate = 2008-03-28
"The case is the fourth against him alleging sexual harassment. One was dismissed. Two others were combined and settled. He has denied the charges in all of them."
] The fourth was appealed and remanded to arbitration. [cite news
last = Brennan
first = Margaret
title =American Apparel's Dov Charney: An Update
publisher = CNBC
date =2008-03-06
url = http://www.cnbc.com/id/23500866
accessdate = 2008-03-28
] A fifth was recently filed, premiering on the front page of TMZ.com. [ [http://www.tmz.com/2008/05/30/american-apparel-employee-my-boss-is-a-jerk-off/ TMZ: My Boss is a Jerk Off] ] According to Charney, the unconventional corporate culture at American Apparel is responsible for the company's creativity and rapid growth. [cite web
last = Carmichael
first = Evan
title = Lesson #3: Conventions Are Not For The Creative Entrepreneur
publisher = EvanCarmichael.com
date =
url = http://www.evancarmichael.com/Famous-Entrepreneurs/1699/Lesson-3-Conventions-Are-Not-For-The-Creative-Entrepreneur.html
accessdate = 2008-03-28
“We plan to continue to behave in a contrarian matter,” Charney says. “This creative environment is what got us to this point. We certainly aren’t going to stop doing it now after we created a highly profitable company.”
] He's stated that the company's is open about sexuality and its culture because "young people like honesty." [ Walker book pg 225 "It wasn't mere imagery; it was honesty. 'Young people like honesty', he said."]

Labor

As of 2008 the company employs over 10,000 people and operates over 200 retail locations in 18 countries.> [cite web
url=http://www.fibre2fashion.com/news/apparel-news/newsdetails.aspx?news_id=52379
publisher=Fibre 2 Fashion
title= American Apparel to report Q4 2007 financial results
author=
date=2008-03-17
accessdate=2008-04-05
] The company pays its manufacturing employees an average of US$12 per hour. According to the "San Francisco Chronicle" the average factory worker at the company makes $80-120 per day, or roughly $500 per week compared to the $30-40 made daily at most other Los Angeles-based garment factories. [cite news
last = Strasburg
first = Jenny
title = Made in the U.S.A
publisher = San Francisco Chronicle
date =2004-07-04
url = http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2004/07/04/BUGB67G1G21.DTL
accessdate = 2008-03-27
"At American Apparel, he says that he works 7:45 a.m. to 4 p.m. most days, with a lunch break, and makes anywhere from $80 to $120 per day... rarely earned more than $30 or $40 a day at other factories.... Its sewing-machine operators commonly make more than $500 a week...."
] Employees also receive benefits such as paid time off, healthcare, company-subsidized lunches, bus passes, free English as an additional language classes, on-site masseurs, free bicycles and on-site bike mechanics, free parking in addition to the proper lighting and ventilation. [cite web
url=http://www.americanapparel.net/presscenter/articles/20040211salon.html
publisher=Salon.com
title=Made in the U.S. of A.?
author=Linda Baker
date=2004-02-11
accessdate=2007-11-25
] . Every floor of the factory includes free telephones where workers can take and receive long distance phone calls. [ [http://www.angelenic.com/751/inside-american-apparel-4000-downtown-employees-and-counting/ inside american apparel: 4,000 downtown employees and counting] Angelenic.com June 2008 "perhaps most touchingly, free long-distance phone service on every floor of the building."] The company's employees in foreign countries do not receive the same hourly wages as their Los Angeles counterparts.cite news
last = Harmon
first = Andrew
title =American Apparel Expands To China
publisher = DNR
date = 2008-03-17
url = http://www.dnrnews.com/site/article.php?id=1567
accessdate = 2008-04-07
" [Wages] will not be the same as the L.A. workers, but we will make sure that every worker in China receives at least a U.S. federal minimum wage per hour worked,” Charney said."] However, employees in China will earn US Federal minimum wage. After going public, the company offered employees as much as $40 million in stock shares. The plan grants employees roughly 1 share of stock for every workday they'd spent at the company.cite news
last =
first =
title =American Apparel Announces Further Details of $39 Million Employee Stock Grant
publisher = Business Week
date = 2008-01-03
url = http://www.reuters.com/article/pressRelease/idUS100724+03-Jan-2008+BW20080103
accessdate = 2008-04-07
"This equates to roughly one share of stock for each workday." ] Approximately 4,000 of the company's employees are eligible for the program. The waiting list for employment at American Apparel has over 2,000 names on it. [cite news
last = Bell
first = Michele
title = Dov Charney: Rebel With A Cause
publisher = The Counnselor
date =August 2004
url =
accessdate = 2008-03-29
"There's a waiting list 2,000 names strong to work at American Apparel."
]

The company's employees are not unionized. In 2003, the UNITE launched a union drive at the factory. [Apparel News - Influential in 2002 - December 2002] cite web
url=http://www.inthesetimes.com/article/2270/
title=Wolf in Sheeps Clothing
publisher=In These Times
author=Ari Paul
date=2005-08-04
accessdate=2007-12-19
] American Apparel countered that the union was "trying to politically force American Apparel into embracing it, regardless of worker interest."cite news
last = Charney
first = Dov
title = Letters: American Apparel & United
publisher = The Nation
date =
url = http://www.thenation.com/doc/20040920/letter
accessdate = 2008-03-26
] In a letter to "The Nation", Charney claimed that workers organized a grassroots protest of the union demonstration itself and used it as evidence of the union's unpopularity. The organization reported American Apparel to the National Labor Relations Board for interference with the drive. [Stephen Wishart. "Behindthelabel.org" (January 2005) [http://web.archive.org/web/20070407064236/http://www.behindthelabel.org/infocus.asp?id=84 The Truth Behind American Apparel: Sweatshop free or Union buster?] ] However, American Apparel was not charged as a result of the claims. [cite web
url=http://www.inthesetimes.com/article/2270/
title=Wolf in Sheeps Clothing
publisher=In These Times
author=Ari Paul
date=2005-08-04
accessdate=2008-04-05
] Additionally, the nonprofit Garment Worker Center, which usually supports UNITE, did not sanction or back their efforts against American Apparel. [ Walker pg 219 "Indeed, the "San Francisco Chronicle" pointed out that the nonprofit Garment Worker Center... did not...."] As part of the settlement, the company posted document stating that it would not interfere would worker's rights to unionize. [cite web
url=http://www.inthesetimes.com/article/2270/
title=Wolf in Sheeps Clothing
publisher=In These Times
author=Ari Paul
date=2005-08-04
accessdate=2008-04-05
"As part of a no-contest settlement, the company voluntarily posted a notice informing workers that it would not interfere with their rights to organize."
]

"New York Times" reporter Rob Walker wrote about the controversy in his book "Buying In" and revealed that since the unionization drive, the company Sweat X which was held up as the example for what American Apparel should be, had since gone out of business. He quotes Charney saying more explicitly that " [Sweat X] ... fucking failed." [Walker, Rob "Buying In: The Secret Dialog Between What We Buy and Who We Are" Random House. New York 2008 pg 219]

upport for immigration reform

As early as 2001, American Apparel has been a vocal advocate for reform of U.S. immigration laws. [Louise Story - The New York Times - January 18, 2008 [http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/18/business/media/18adco.html?_r=2&ref=business&oref=slogin&oref=slogin] ] On May 1, 2002 American Apparel shut down its factory to allow the company's workers, many of whom are immigrants, to participate in a pro-immigration rally in downtown Los Angeles. Dov Charney, a Canadian immigrant, also marched alongside the workers. [ May 1,March for Workers Rights - 05_2002] American Apparel participates annually in the May 1st Immigration March and Rally in downtown Los Angeles. In 2008, they added a route from their factory that eventually connected with other supporters near the city hall. [ [http://americanapparel.net/contact/legalizela/ American Apparel Homepage:] Legalize LA] The company's politics were eventually spun off into the Legalize LA advertising campaign.

Environmental policies

The company promotes environmentally friendly practices. [PSFK - Piers Fawkes - October 4, 2007 [http://www.psfk.com/2007/10/why-build-sustainability-into-your-business.html "Why Build Sustainability Into Your Business?"] .] American Apparel maintains a bicycle lending program for its employees [cite news
last =
first =
title = American Apparel bicycle program provides healthy benefits to employees and environment.
publisher = Wearables Business
date =2004-04-04
url = http://www.allbusiness.com/labor-employment/worker-categories-garment-workers/7331718-1.html
accessdate = 2008-03-24
] and according to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals it is a vegan-friendly clothing company. [cite | title = Animal-Friendly Fashion Retailer, Cosmetics Maker Capture Youth Vote on peta2.com| publisher = PETA| date = November 30. 2006 | url http://www.peta.org/mc/NewsItem.asp?id=9269| accessdate = ]

As of 2007 the company planned to increase its use of organic cotton within the next four years from over 20% to 80%. American Apparel also sells a line of shirts under the "Sustainable" label that are 100% USDA organic cotton. [Citation
last =
first =
title = American Apparel Organics: Sustainable Edition
url=http://www.americanapparelorganics.com/indexContent.html
accessdate = 2008-03-24
] [Citation
last =
first =
title = Sustainable Edition Organic Fine Jersey Short Sleeve T-Shirt
url=http://store.americanapparel.net/2001org.html#i
accessdate = 2008-03-24
] In 2008, American Apparel received publicity for purchasing over 30,000 pounds of organic cotton known as B.A.S.I.C cotton. [Citation
last =
first =
title = American Apparel Makes Big Cleaner Cotton Purchase
publisher: Environmental Leader
url=http://www.environmentalleader.com/2008/04/28/american-apparel-makes-big-cleaner-cotton-purchase/
accessdate = 2008-04-28
]

It installed a 146 kilowatt solar electric system on its factory roof, designed to reduce power costs by at least 20%. [RenewableEnergyaccess.com (January 27, 2006). [http://www.renewableenergyaccess.com/rea/news/story?id=42437 Downtown L.A. Clothing Company Goes Solar] ] These panels power as much as 30% of the factory.The company also recycles its fabric scraps. [Josh Sims, "Organic Consumers Association" (July 6, 2006). [http://www.organicconsumers.org/2006/article_1014.cfm Look Good, Save the Earth] ] Much of the company's underwear line is made from these recycled fabric scraps that would have otherwise been wasted.Citation
last = Margolis
first = Sharon
title = It’s OK to Like American Apparel
publisher: Greenstockd
url=http://www.beanstockd.com/greenstockd/2008/07/18/it%e2%80%99s-ok-to-like-american-apparel/1065
accessdate = 2008-07-24
] According to estimates, it saves about 30,000 pounds of cotton per week. [Citation
last =
first =
title = American Apparel takes environmental stand by recycling over 1 million pounds of cotton cuttings per year
publisher: Financial Times (via American Apparel Press Center)
url=http://www.americanapparel.net/presscenter/articles/20020813financialtimes.html
accessdate = 2002-08-13
]

However, the company has been criticized for leaving its store doors open with the air conditioner running. [ [http://www.psfk.com/2008/07/eco-complaints-at-good-stores.html Eco Complaints at 'Good' Stores] PSFK.com Access Date: July 2008]

Philanthropy

In 2005, the company hosted a bikini car wash benefit with the American Red Cross to raise money for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. [Citation
last = Hall
first = Steve
title = Bikini Car Wash Raises Money For Katrina
url=http://www.adrants.com/2005/10/bikini-car-wash-raises-money-for-katrina.php
accessdate = 2008-03-36
] [ [http://www.wireimage.com/GalleryListing.asp?nbc1=1&navtyp=CAL=139259&ym=200509 Wire
] Pictures from American Apparel Carwash
] Two employees of the company packaged and delivered 80,000 shirts to the relief effort. [cite news
last =
first =
title = Delivering the Good -- News
publisher = Los Angeles Garment and Citizen
date =2005-10-12
url = http://www.americanapparel.net/presscenter/articles/20051012lagarment.html
accessdate = 2008-03-26
] As an underwriter of Farm Aid, American Apparel donates the blank shirts that the organization prints and sells as merchandise. [ [http://www.farmaid.org/site/c.qlI5IhNVJsE/b.2802125/k.8EE7/About_Our_Apparel.htm Farm Aid:] Merchandise Description] [cite news
last = Grossberg | first = Josh
title = Farm Aid Gets Polka On
publisher = E! News
date =2006-08-31
url = http://www.eonline.com/news/article/index.jsp?uuid=86bf1607-aa3f-4676-bd8f-d33adee3c65a&entry=index
accessdate = 2008-03-26
]

References

External links

* [http://www.americanapparel.net/ American Apparel] Company Web Site
* [http://www.americanapparelstore.com/ American Apparel] Online Store
* [http://www.labbb.org/BBBWeb/Forms/Business/CompanyReportPage_Expository.aspx?CompanyID=13199717&hAKAID=1&hAddrID=1/ LA Better Business Bureau Report] on American Apparel
* [http://www.angelenic.com/751/inside-american-apparel-4000-downtown-employees-and-counting/ Inside American Apparel:] Tour of the Downtown LA Factory
* [http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2004/07/04/BUGB67G1G21.DTL SFGate Profile] of American Apparel
* [http://abcnews.go.com/2020/Business/story?id=1362781 20/20 profile of American Apparel]


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