In January of this year, rife with controversy (see: CEO suspension born from misconduct allegations, merkins on mannequins) norm-core pioneer American Apparel announced they’d be closing all 110 stores by April. The made-in-America brand had announced bankruptcy in 2015, and been acquired by Canadian brand Gildan Activewear for $88 million early in 2017. It seemed, in April, that even that changing of the guards wasn’t enough to pull AA back from the brink.
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But then on Monday of this week, the American Apparel website secretly reopened for business, Fashionista noticed. In recent months, Gildan reportedly assembled a team of former AA employees to relaunch the brand, although not entirely reimagine it. The t-shirts are still simple, jersey knit, and available in seventeen shades, the crossback bra still has no underwires. One major difference? Towards the end of AA 1.0, the brand offered more than 6,000 styles; the new selection is decidedly more edited: there are currently 37 offerings on the women’s site. “It started to become everything for everyone a bit, and really diluted, so we wanted to go back and have a strong message,” Silvia Mazzuchellli, AA’s vice president of direct to consumer told Fashionista.
There’s one other interesting change. It used to be that American Apparel was all, uh, made in America. While ethical and altruistic, that proved problematic for profits. (Some reports say the brand was never really in the black.) A new Made in the USA Capsule allows consumers to choose. A woman’s hoodie made stateside is $48; the very same garment made overseas is $38. The brand plans to watch the numbers very carefully, allowing buyers to demonstrate with their wallets the importance of at-home manufacturing.
Per Instagram, American Apparel’s true relaunch is on Monday, August 14.