You may not know it, but you’re probably already wearing it.
American Apparel – which includes the brands Classic Girl, American Standard and Classic Baby – added Ann Arbor to its list of 29 nationwide locations this past July.
American Apparel offers clothing cheap enough for the masses yet chic enough for those with exceptional layering skills. The bold colors and variety of styles offer endless mix-and-match possibilities allowing the customer to create a unique ensemble without the threat of logos. In fact, the no-logo concept has been key to the success of American Apparel, attracting a wide consumer base.
“I like the concept of no branding on the clothes and creating your own style,” said Lisa Nunez an employee in the Ann Arbor location. “It’s not like working at Gap or Urban (Outfitters) where being unique is created for you.”
Through vertical integration, where the store is involved in every step of the manufacturing process, American Apparel maintains a complete in-house operation that includes product development, creation and promotion (everything except the dying).
The self-sustaining operation is the mission of the store created by Chief Executive Officer Dov Charney in an effort to eliminate the need for sweatshop labor that other similar companies in the United States currently use. Before the swarm of storefronts emerged, American Apparel was the quiet source of distribution for many screen-printing and T-shirt distributors out of its 800,000 square-foot facility in downtown Los Angeles.
The storefront itself reflects the all-in-one operation of its parent factory. The simplistic decor of the store resembles a factory with a fresh coat of white paint, letting the crayon box of brightly colored clothes fill in the space. Many have stopped into the store simply due to the shock of bright colors that bleed out onto the street. Upon entering, many have giggled at the site of the provocative photographs that line the dressing room walls or some of the more outrageous pieces that pay homage to the ’70s such as unitards and sweatbands.
However, the sheer practicality of the clothes remains and at an average of $15 for a classic spaghetti-strap tank, the company easily beats out other stores with similar styles such as C&C California whose basic tanks go for $40. The Sheer Jersey Bandeau Dress is one of the store’s most popular -and at $30, most expensive – items because it can easily be layered. Other favorites are the Baby Rib Cut Out Dress and the color sea foam.
The clothes are there to enhance the individual, letting creative minds wander and personalities to surface whether shoppers are attracted to the simple Jersey Gym Tee ($18) and terry cloth running shorts, or they want to outfit their dog in the store’s special section of canine-sized tops and accessories. The store also remains student-friendly, offering a 15 percent student discount with a student ID. American Apparel appeals to fashionistas of all types proving that logos are out, and clothing with a parade of combinable options is definitely in.