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American Apparel Returns With a Change of Plans

The retailer that sold a rainbow assortment of unisex tees had its ups and downs, between its controversial founder stepping down, high-priced items and a rumored abusive workplace. American Apparel shut the doors to all of its stores this past April after filing for bankruptcy.

But when one door closes, another opens.

The retailer, which was acquired by Canadian company Gildan Activewear in January, made its comeback on Monday.

Go onto www.americanapparel.com and you will see the same crewneck tees, pleated skirts, and spandex leggings that have always defined the brand.

The retailer is back, but with a whole new business model to boot.

Gone are the elevated prices that caused the made-in-the-USA brand’s demise.
Crop tops start at $16, dresses start at $30, and tees max out at $24. The new owners have shifted production to Honduras and Canada to lower costs.

The store, founded by Dove Charney in 1989, was known for creating all of its products sweatshop-free in LA.

“I think there will be questions about why we’re not made-in-the-USA-only anymore, but the real story is about being sweatshop-free and being part of a global community that provides jobs and work in an ethical, environmentally friendly way,” Sylvia Mazzuchelli, vice president of American Apparel’s direct-to-consumer told Fashionista.

American Apparel may not be “made in America” anymore, but perhaps this new model is just what the brand needs.

“The most valuable part of the brand has always been the brand, has always been the customer base, has always been how the brand presented itself to the market and how the consumers really related to the brand in a visceral, passionate way,” Mazzuchelli said.

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