Dov Charney Talks Work Post-American Apparel

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Photo courtesy of ABC News

Dov Charney Talks Work Post-American Apparel


Not long ago American Apparel was in the news due to the power struggle at its head: the creator Dov Charney fought to win back control of the business, to no avail. Now, Charney has moved forward to new projects, including a new apparel company. Though the company has no name, according to a recent interview with The Business of Fashion, ‘Los Angeles Apparel Company’ may be at the top of the list.

“We’re already selling it, but only to close companies that are keeping it under wraps,” Charney told BoF. “We’re generating some sales but it’s all beta testing; 5,000-piece orders.”

While sales are relatively small now, plans are more expansive. “We plan to sell as a stockist [to the] screen printing industry,” he explained in the interview. “And, secondarily, to consumers, through an online store, which we don’t have established yet. And through a number of bricks and mortar stores. We might do a number of different brands.”

From the sexually-charged photography used in the brand’s advertisements, which drew rumbles due to the use of youthful models, to the sexual harassment suits brought against the man himself, Charney has been wreathed in controversy since American Apparel’s beginnings. The company itself was a web of lawsuits, accusations and more for several years leading up to Charney’s dismissal; an issue with immigration papers for over 1,500 employees, lawsuits regarding misconduct, copyright infringement, and more swirled around the company, creating bad press and hampering investments.

Currently Charney is creating a business funded in part by former and even current American Apparel employees devoted to Charney. “We’ve raised a little bit from a couple of friends. The workers have written checks to the new enterprise. The factory workers want me to get back on my feet,” he stated. “I mean, not me, but us. They’ve almost come exclusively from American Apparel. They pooled money together. I put in whatever I could scavenge around. Ex-employees have contributed. People are putting up money. People are donating their time and whatever. We’re putting this together.”

All in all, it sounds as though Charney is re-creating an offshoot of American Apparel, keyed into today’s processes and ready for a faster, sleeker movement into the market. One newer aspect will be greater employee involvement. “They will be employee-owners,” he remarked in the interview. “A lot of them had stock at AA, but now it’s a more fundamental part. They’re here from the beginning. They’ll be given shares from the beginning. They’re going to be much more in tune with what’s going on in the company and have a much greater role in the decision making processes.”

Sex, controversy, employee involvement, and more are certainly alluring – or to others, repulsive; one wonders whether this and the experience gained from running American Apparel will in turn produce a brand as enticing as the former.

Dov Charney Talks Work Post-American Apparel


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Written by Lillie Peterson

Lillie is a graduate from UC Santa Barbara with a bachelor's in Classics and a lifelong fascination for fashion and art. A freelance writer and artist, her hobbies include photography, design, drawing and blogging.

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