Sweatshop Free. Made in USA. That's American Apparel?

{ Wednesday, June 16, 2010 }
Sure, American Apparel's infamous basic tees, shorts, hoodies, and leggings may be 100% ethically manufactured in America. However, upon reading numerous reports on the company's hiring policies last night, I've become appalled with the brand.
American Apparel has recently come under fire for absurd hiring policies and racial discrimination within the workplace. According to firsthand accounts of former AA employees, it was common knowledge that store employees were hired for their looks rather than experience or competence. Strict dress codes were implemented within stores, down to the way an employee was to style their hair, apply their makeup, and even groom their eyebrows. Employees were often subjected to random "checks" and could be fired at any given moment for looking "off-brand" while working.
Former employees also confess that non-Caucasians were rarely ever hired for work in American Apparel's retail stores. Simply put, these job applicants didn't fit AA's "mold" and were not hired for fear that their skin color would blemish the brand's image.
While reading these firsthand accounts I was shocked and disgusted, but not necessarily surprised. I've browsed through a local American Apparel store a few times in the past year and have never felt welcome by the store's employees. Rather than being greeted by a helpful and friendly employee, I would randomly run across a standoffish employee in the process of giving me the once over. I guess I wasn't fashionable enough to shop in their tee shirt store? In all honesty, this brand needs to change.
Not only does American Apparel embrace and enforce the "hipster-prep-turned-indie-
cool" mold upon its employees, but have you seen the brand's recent ads? They objectify and exploit young women. Seriously, just Google their recent "Best Bottom Contest" campaign and you'll see exactly what I'm talking about. It's sad that a company has to try this hard to come across as "fresh" and "different" and "artistic" when all they're really doing is contributing to an already over-sexed fashion industry.
So, will I be purchasing any American Apparel goods in the future? Certainly not. I'm not asking you to do the same, but I am asking you to think twice before purchasing another over-priced, v-neck tee.



Sara Lynn said...

I am shocked to find all of this out! I have never been in one of their stores, but I have a T from them, it is the one my Tori Amos scarlet's walk tour was printed on. I always thought that it was cool, but now I want to go in the store and give them a little 'tude. lol. I am glad that their product is made here, but maybe if they are so strict, they should switch to an online store? Thanks for posting this, I will have to look into the one by me and give you the verdict!

Anonymous said...

This just reminded me of why I NEVER shop there.

Lexie, Little Boat said...

i like that american apparel is sweatshop free, but i cannot justify spending money on a company with such absurd practices in EVERY OTHER aspect of their business ...

i haven't bought anything from them in over a year and don't plan to anytime soon.

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