Can American Apparel’s CEO Mend Its Seams?

by MR Magazine Staff

Everything seems normal as we approach American Apparel’s seven-story factory and corporate headquarters in downtown Los Angeles. I’m riding shotgun next to CEO Paula Schneider in her slightly worn electric Ford Fusion, ’80s music jamming quietly from the speakers. We park and enter the light and orderly American Apparel shop on the ground floor. As Schneider shows off some recent display changes, I notice that we’re the only ones in the store but don’t think much of it—it’s still only about 10:30 a.m. on a Friday, and the building isn’t located on a high-traffic street. But as we head toward the building’s corporate entrance, I realize something’s a little weird. I see gargantuan, tattooed men in blue shirts smile attentively near the doorway and I vaguely recognize one of them, which is implausible—I don’t live in L.A. It takes me a moment to realize that I saw his face earlier in the day, when I had met Schneider for breakfast in Little Tokyo. When we had gotten in her car afterward, she seemed to be waiting for the car behind us to pass (it didn’t), so I had looked through the rear window to find out what was going on. Now I realize that this man had been following us all along. The security guards accompany us on the ride up the elevator, past six factory levels to the top floor of the building, where another guard greets us and uses his key card to let us through to the company’s offices. The percussive hum of textile machinery below fades as the heavy door closes behind us. Read more at Fast Company.