Dov Charney’s American Dream

by MR Magazine Staff

American Apparel, of course, is the apparel company Charney founded almost 30 years ago as a young Canadian carried away by a lifelong obsession with American-made cotton T-shirts. The company whose fledgling wholesale business he transformed into a trendsetting fashion brand and global retail empire with hundreds of millions of dollars in annual sales. The company that prided itself on its immigrant labor, domestic manufacturing and good wages. But it was also the company whose sexually charged marketing — not to mention its CEO’s personal behavior — polarized the very public it wanted to buy its product. The company whose Shakespearean rise and fall became one of the biggest business stories for over a decade. The company that ultimately ousted Charney in 2014 amid accusations of financial improprieties and sexual harassment. And, ultimately, the company he watched stumble, fall into the ether and become just a shell of its former self — a brand in name only, its U.S. manufacturing base and retail stores effectively abandoned after Canadian T-shirt maker Gildan acquired the company at a January 2017 bankruptcy auction for a mere $88 million. American Apparel is far from the only company to succumb to the mounting pressures facing so many apparel retailers, especially in recent months. The Limited, Wet Seal and BCBG Max Azria all fell victim to changing consumer tastes and shopping patterns in the first quarter of 2017 alone. But American Apparel stands out. For nearly 30 years, the company provided a steady stream of high-quality basics and edgy styles to worldly urbanites who had no use for the logo-laden clothes favored by suburban teens. Charney’s unique approaches to fashion, manufacturing, marketing and retail drove the brand’s rapid ascent to the top of the apparel world in the mid-2000s. Read more at Retail Dive.