American Apparel gets a makeover


Vivian Englund – Copy Editor 

American Apparel (AA) was previously known for their racy ads and sleazy ex-CEO.  Naming American Apparel to be many fashionista’s problematic favorite.

Well, there is good news if you love AA as much as the next person!

Last year the company fired founder, Dov Charney from his position of CEO, and is now under new rule. Charney was fired after being accused of personal misconduct and sexual harassment within the company.

Paula Schneider is the new chief in town and is ready to change practically everything about AA for the better.

A great thing about Schneider is that she advocates for women’s empowerment and preventing abuse, essentially the polar opposite of Charney. Schneider made a point to address the fact that AA is dominantly run by women for the first time ever.

Colleen Brown is another woman on the company’s board, and it was not until last year that the board had any women representatives at all. Right off the bat, it is easy to see the small changes being made in AA’s advertisement campaigns.

One AA’s most recent ad campaigns featured viral-video star, Brendan Jordan (he danced in the background of a live news report at a Las Vegas mall). Schneider said Jordan was given a voice as an openly gay 15-year-old male, and that is part of the new social commentary AA is trying to create.

According to the New York Times, Schneider is looking to shift the tone on AA’s advertisement campaigns as a whole. In the past, advertisements have been borderline pornographic and admittedly obscene.

Though AA wants to keep their “edginess”, Schneider said she wants to steer that energy towards social issues that younger consumers can identify with.

AA is switching things up more than just their aesthete, they plan to expand their planning staff as well. Previously, AA only had a single planner overlooking 3,000 designers, sewers, and cutters. In terms of numbers, AA is starting to cut its losses after legal expenses from Charney’s trial, and issues with a new distribution center costs.

They are still expecting to be down at least $55 million in 2015. However, there has been talk of a buyout offer of $245 million from a private equity firm that John D. Howard runs.

As AA stays focused on a company turn-around this proposal is still pending, One constant in Schneider’s revamping is going to be the all American made, sweatshop free products. Schneider advocates for locally made goods and plans to further utilize this to the company’s advantage. 

Something to keep an eye out for: AA’s Valentine’s Day advertisements.

Schneider said that their Valentine’s Day advertisements will feature a woman who is eight feet tall, a transgendered person and a woman who is 70-years-old. This is the most diverse an AA advertisement has ever been. And that is progress they should be proud of.

Whether AA takes direction in pushing their energy on social issues, or keeping things edgy, the progress was both necessary and respectable. Stay tuned for AA’s next big step!

Photo Credit: William Murphy

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