3.5
September 23, 2008

Corporate-owned American Apparel fires founder: but not because he’s a Skeeze.

Update: American Apparel Fires Controversial CEO Dov Charney (mashable.com)

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Comments:

My takeaway from that article;

  • Multiple sexual harassment lawsuits, loathsome behavior, engendering a terrible working environment? No problem.

  • Lose stock value? You’re fired.

Capitalism

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For more:

Topless American Apparel Ad goes after Sweatshop Labor. {Nudity}


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Comments: “The really unfortunate piece of news in this article isn’t the ousting of Charney… it is the 95% decline in stock prices. The next likely thing will be that the label will be scooped up by some healthier company, which will in turn move production overseas and replace decently made clothing with more Asian crap that falls apart after 5 washes. A shame, their t-shirts are among the only brands that actually look nice enough to wear just as a t-shirt, with nothing else over them.”

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I’m glad. I like that they’re made in the USA, sweatshop free, but I wasn’t comfortable supporting a company that was so blatently misogynistic and gross.

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That’s the exact same problem I was facing. Fair trade clothing – clothing made by consenting adults being paid a living wage in a safe work environment, not by child laborers or enslaved factory workers in hostile, dangerous work environments – has always been an issue close to my heart. American Apparel’s transparency in their manufacturing, plus that it’s done in America, was what drew me to it when I started shopping thereat maybe age 14? Besides what a status symbol it was amongst the ‘hipster’ kids at my school, which I was horribly apart of. But as I became a feminist, and more confidant in my human rights interests, I stopped shopping at Urban Outfitters and American Apparel, among other stores, because of either their culturally appropriative clothing (in the case of UO) and their blatant misogyny in their advertising (in the case of AA).

But without Charney as their CEO, I really hope that American Apparel will keep their body positive advertising without oversexualizing their models, and I’ll feel comfortable supporting them again.

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Original article follows:

American Apparel now has 10,000 employees, only three of whom have sued founder Dov Charney.

This morning a longtime barista buddy of mine asked me if he should avoid printing his cafe’s shirts on American Apparel, “Because of that crazy perv founder dude.” It’s a real concern—the stylish ecoish fashion line may be fair-labor (paying all employees a living wage, not getting their stuff made overseas but rather making it in downtown LA, offering ESL classes and many other benefits) and all, but founder Dov Charney (above) has famously had sex with as many employees as he could get his hands on, it seems; he (in)famously masturbated repeatedly in front of a female reporter for defunct mag JANE, he’s being sued by three (as of last year) former employees, he’s whacko and wild, etc.

But here’s why I print elephant on American Apparel. They were fair-labor, and made in USA, back when that wasn’t cool or popular in the business world. They have been among the pioneers, or at least second wave, of fashion co’s going green (Patagonia was the first wave). And finally, whacky founder Dov’s always been open about his sexual appetites. Wide open. No shady backroom dealings here. And when all’s said and done, if 99% of the company is 200% better than 90% of other companies, that’s good enough for me in this imperfect world.

 

 

Bonus: Hipster Olympics:

 

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