New Business, Same Golden Tricks
Charney was ahead of the fashion industry game since the beginning stages of his craft in the early 90’s. With fast fashion having ruled this decade of alternative wardrobes, American Apparel managed to remain sustainable and sweatshop free since 1989, when Charney initially created and operated the business out of his school dorm room. Apparel’s first factory was stationed in Charleston, South Carolina before eventually moving to Los Angeles, California where it was then utilized for years. Workers were paid well and consumers could tour the factory whenever they wished.
American Apparel: Setting the Trends
Even with sustainability in mind, American Apparel had its own trends and collections that other retailers tried to copy, in a cheaper and instantaneous way. Forever 21, for example, created replicas of the iconic Disco Shorts in their store as soon as they were able to. American Apparel created clothing items and designs that were new and exciting, but after Dov Charney had left, the brand stopped selling the beloved pieces that many came to know them by. All of its physical stores closed as it became a strictly online retailer. Worst of all the company stopped using the factory in LA, which led to taking their development overseas, following the same route as the fast fashion competitors they battled. Sustainability left American Apparel the moment Dov decided to walk out, and literally shut the doors to such behind him.
Reimagining A New "Apparel" for 2020
Now in 2020, Los Angeles Apparel is becoming more widely known. The beloved basics from American Apparel are still being created, but with a different name featured alongside their new products. Dov Charney regained control of the LA factory, and used it to build his new brand, while living in the building at the same time. The brand has a heavy set of values that can be found on their website where 10 points are listed. Values shown in the image of an owner willing to sleep next to the products he creates.
One of them stated, “We strive to buy textile and yarn products made in the United States to support domestic manufacturing. Over half of our yarn consumption will be derived from domestic sources. A strong domestic industry is good for our company’s financial viability in the long run. It helps us serve the interests of our customers, is good for the health of the domestic and continental manufacturing base, and ultimately is good for the environment by reducing the impact of our supply chain’s carbon footprint.”
Dov Charney: Taking Consumer Criticism into Consideration
Dov pays close attention to his consumers, and always has. On Instagram, he utilizes live streaming to connect with consumers by listening to their suggestions and taking notes for future products. It’s the reason why the brand stands strong 4 years after the initial start. With the recent spread of COVID-19, Dov Charney provided his services through his brand by by having creating masks in the midst of a worldwide shortage. The masks are both sold to consumers as well as donated to hospitals that need them.
On the company’s Instagram live, he called for help from supporters and past American Apparel employees to help with mask distribution within hospitals in the US and other countries. He also asked for help with sewing masks in the factory. The selection of masks started with basic colors but now also include patterns that consumers requested.
Dov Charney sitting proudly amongst his most recent project.
With society shedding light on consciousness and clothing, Los Angeles Apparel is front and center, and certainly in the spotlight