I must disclose that I do own several American Apparel tees and tanks. Made from comfy cotton, the line is produced in sweat-shop free factories that are environmentally friendly. But Iâ€™m caught in a bit of a fashion quagmire. American Apparelâ€™s ad campaign is porn for hipsters.
The founder and face of AA is 70â€™s porn star Dov Charney. His background shines through with â€œnon-modelsâ€ cavorting in wet t-shirts or sitting spread eagle in AAâ€™s tiny running shorts. The ads all have a very relaxed â€œjust hanging in the den fooling around with Dadâ€™s Polaroidâ€ feel. The result is provocative and controversial. Mix that with Mr. Charneyâ€™s dubious statements such as â€œâ€¦women initiate most domestic violence.â€ This coming from the man who has had over 1,000 sexual harassment claims filed against him at this own company where he allegedly exposes himself and requests that new hires be girls that he could sleep with, â€œAsians preferred.â€
On the other side of this story is the majority of his workers claiming itâ€™s the best job theyâ€™ve ever had. Set hours, benefits, and excellent working conditions- no slave labor is mass producing these basics. And thereâ€™s Mr. Charneyâ€™s penchant for controversy. Is he titillating urbanites and spouting misogynism simply to sell t-shirts? Can you blame a guy who understands and uses sex to generate profits when Victoria’s Secret does the same thing? I find the ads with barely legal girls (and boys) baring body parts a total turn-off but clearly theyâ€™re working some folkâ€™s mojo. Flagship stores are opening all over the U.S. and Canada. And the U.K., Japan, France, Germany, Mexico, even Israel. And of course there is a massive online store where purchases over $100 get you free shipping. Check it out at Shop at American Apparel and decide for yourself. Does the mission of transcending exploitative labor outweigh the sleaze factor?
American Apparel’s fine Jersey T dress.
This boy beater tank is part of AA’s “eco edition” line of 100% organic cotton clothing.