Twice-bankrupt clothing company American Apparel was known for three things: its controversial founder Dov Charney; advertising that ranged from sassy to “is this porn?”; and for making all of its merchandise in the U.S. Now that Charney is long gone and the brand has been sold to Gildan, a Canadian company not associated with any of this history, it looks like some American Apparel be coming from Central America.
The New York Post reports that according to “a person familiar with the matter,” new T-shirts with American Apparel labels will emerge from factories in Honduras and Nicaragua, bound for the companies that buy wholesale T-shirts for screen-printing.
Gildan won’t be taking over American Apparel’s chain of retail stores, most of which are liquidating and closing this month. It will, however, take over the website and continue to sell clothes made for the brand at retail, perhaps to the retailers where it already sells its own brands.
The question is, will those jeans and miniskirts be made in the United States, or in those existing Gildan factories outside of the country?
“We will be evaluating many factors, including the specific preferences for Made in USA, as we assess the opportunities related to bringing this brand to consumers over the coming weeks,” a Gildan spokesperson told the Post. American Apparel at its peak employed 6,000 people in its factories in Los Angeles.
Gildan has hired some of American Apparel’s former marketing and merchandising employees and kept them in Los Angeles, so the company probably plans to keep the trendy retail side going, without running physical stores. One possibility is that it could move manufacturing to an area of the country with a lower cost of living than Los Angeles.
Meanwhile, back in L.A., American Apparel founder and ousted CEO Dov Charney has started a new company, Los Angeles Apparel. As the name indicates, it’s manufacturing in L.A., and so far has hired about 200 garment workers from his former company.
Los Angeles Apparel announced this week that it has signed a deal with TSC Apparel, the former distributor of American Apparel, to sell wholesale T-shirts, hoodies, and tank tops for screen printing and other embellishment. TSC still has old stock of pre-bankruptcy American Apparel shirts to sell, which is a little awkward.